It wasn't a low that came from a bad breakup with a long time love, but it was a kind of hurt I'd never really experienced before. And it cut deep. It felt like someone punching me in the gut and saying "You're not good enough."
It's one of those low spots I might remember for the rest of my life. It hurt that bad. But what I'll remember most, is what came out of that low.
I will never forget the dear, dear friend who listened to my heartache and said "Jenn, it's okay to hurt, it is all going to be okay."
Then something happened.
I declared a Year of Jenn.
It worked in 2012 and I did it again for 2013.
At first glance, it might sound selfish, but a Year of Jenn has been my gift to myself and my gift to everyone. In year's of Jenn, I vow to take advantage of opportunities that came my way, to walk through doors that opened for me and when they didn't, to find windows. In years of Jenn, I work insanely hard, I love, I play, I explore, I take so many steps to becoming to the woman I want to be. To knowing myself better, to being a person so solid she can take on all obstacles, all heartaches, all.the.things and give my whole self to people, projects, everything.
At my best, I can move mountains, and I love that girl. That girl is gutsy, courageous, inspired, motivated, fierce and full of life. She is the person I want to be. So in year's of Jenn, I set goals, large and small, and go after them. I follow my heart, my inspirations, my passions.
Often, I find myself overwhelmed, stressed out, caught up in unnecessary drama and nonsense. In that place, I try to take it back to this moment every year, when I declared a Year of Jenn and all the greatness I aspired to. Some days it's harder than others, but I get back there.
2013 was a year of change. In looking back, I said that about 2012 and 2011, and probably every year that came before.
2013 included a cross-country move to Montana. Moving in with M. Buying a house. Starting a new job. Gardening. Home renovation. Lacing up my skates again. Turning 30. Making new friends and building a new life with M in Montana. And so much more. It's been a big year.
And now here we are. 2014.
Again this year, I will not set a list of resolutions that are doomed for failure. Instead, I'm declaring another Year of Jenn.
Of building a life with another human being. Of taking care of our dogs and laughing at their craziness. Of tearing down walls to build a home. Of learning to work in the dirt and feed ourselves. Of working hard and doing the best I can to inform the community through the newspaper. Of becoming more a part of that community. Of building community on this blog and with other bloggers. Of being healthy and well instead of worrying about a certain pant size. Of wiping out on ice and getting back up again and letting my love of figure skating soar again. Of believing in bettering my profession and future generations of journalists and not sitting back waiting for someone else to do it. Of becoming a person my grandparents and parents are proud to call theirs. Of being a person my 18-year-old self would be proud of.
I won't make resolutions like go to the gym, lose weight (wouldn't that be nice), eat better, win journalism awards or land a double axel (that would be amazing, but it happens when and if it happens. Jumping and falling hurts people!). Instead, there will be big goals for the year (like plant apple trees, make dinner using only things I grew in my backyard, raise chickens, kick journalism ass), monthly and weekly goals.
Setting goals, making lists and moving forward is pretty constant in my life, but few times offer such reflection on the years past and consideration of what I want the next year to look like as the New Year. You won't see me racing to purchase a gym membership, but you will see me reading about sustainable agriculture, how to build a chicken coop, digging in at work, and using Tweetdeck and a planner again to get organized and avoid the information overload.
I read something a few years ago on meaningfulness. I can't find the article now, but the concept has stuck with me through another year.
Sure, it would be nice to lose 10 pounds, but I'm more focused on living a life of purpose. A life that finds meaning and has some positive impact on the world around me.
Maybe I won't move all the mountains I want to, but I'll be damned if I won't give it my very best effort.
How do you mark the New Year? Do you set (and keep) resolutions or set goals? Or just maintain a constant state of awesome?
Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. I’m participating in Jessica Lawlor’s #GetGutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details.