The end of the year always feels like passing a cop on the highway. Once you have that wide-eyed “oh shhhhh…..oot” moment, your foot immediately presses to the brake pedal and you hold your breath. Your eyes are glued to the review mirror and you don’t sigh a breath of relief until the cop car is out of sight. (Am I right or am I right?!) Closing a year has the same affect on me—I press the brakes to “slow down”, hold my breath, and keep my eyes glued to the “rear-view” of the past until the year is out of sight.
Last night I bought a new bottle of wine, ok you caught me, a new box of Numi Chai (decaf) Tea, and opened my journals & laptop to reflect. My preferable choice for New Years Eve =).
2013 took me on an adventure of a lifetime. I moved to Charleston in January without a community, job, or place to live. While pursuing clients to start Shabby Shea Creations, I stumbled upon a full-time job with Hospice as the Bereavement and Volunteer Coordinator! I found the perfect house to rent and decorated it to my hearts content. More on my year anniversary in Chucktown later, but I am thankful that it was a year of easy transition to a city I adore.
I turned 26 and started Advocare, a 24-Day Challenge that lead to the best healthy lifestyle change of my life! I never really thought I could lose 25lbs, but I did and discovered a passion for creating healthy meals and snacks. On top of eating a whole lot cleaner, I discovered a new favorite workout (Pure Barre) and became a runner. I now have my own Zumba class on Thursday nights (St. Andrews Family Fitness Plus!) and am giddy over my Monday night hot vinyassa yoga classes. The occasional spin class at Charleston RIDE is a special treat! I learned that I am strong, resilient, and can trust myself. These were great personal discoveries!
I tried a few new things, too. Now I know how to shoot a gun and have attempted to play golf. I’m not sure which one is more dangerous. If you ask my mom, she’d probably say golf. “Foooooouuuuurrrrr!”
I saw The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, John Mayer, and Phil Phillips in concert. I’ve traveled to Winston-Salem, Pennsylvania, Richmond, Charlottesville, Miami, Lake Lure. I’ve gone to see loved ones, and they’ve come to visit! 2013 was full.
2013 was good and rewarding. It was also hard—so hard. I’ve been adventurous and brave. I’ve also been a homebody and have unapologetically said “no” to doing things that I did not want to do. I’ve been both selfless and selfish, independent and dependant, weird and confident. I think that’s also the beauty of being in my mid-20s…a living definition of multiple oxymorons!
I asked God last New Years to “deepen my understanding of love” and that prayer was answered through a lot of heartache and disappointment.. I’ve watched loved ones walk through really challenging times and I’ve taken a lot of their pain on. I tried to carry it to a faithful God but when I fell short to take it all the way to the Cross, I was reminded that I am not Jesus—able to fix or save. It was a good lesson to learn.
Most of all, I’ve learned that love is the only answer—that it is the definition of grace and holds no record of wrongs. Love is patient, kind, and gentle. I’ve learned (and hell, still learning), that love is faithful, hopeful, and always endures. Love never gives up, even if we want to.
As I shift my eyes from the rear-view mirror of 2013 and gaze ahead at the unexplored road of a New Year, I exhale all of the weariness that crept in. I shake the dust of disappointment and heartache. I trade being “jaded” for new experiences and carve space to be open and vulnerable again. After all, vulnerablility is the birth place of love.
My “word” for 2013 was “imagine.” I close my 2013 recap with a verse that resounded that word:
“Now to a Creator who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to God’s power that is at work with us.” – Ephesians 3:20
Amen and Amen!