There's something about the end of the year that makes me reflective. I have a constant desire to look back on the last 12 months - analyzing the way things have changed, if I have grown - accomplished things. I fear I drive my friends crazy, telling them: Let's reflect. Where were you a year ago?
I've noticed we have a tendency to minimize the year. My friends going abroad for a year told me, Oh it's just a year. As we signed our thirtieth lease, thinking we'd stay a year (ha!), we said, It's just a year. Then we can always move again. My friends starting graduate programs tell me, It's just for a couple of years, then who knows...
It seems we start things all the time, thinking about the end. But lately, I've noticed that a year is so much more than a blip - it's 365 days (8,765 hours!). And time is so precious.
At the start of 2013, I knew something in my life needed to change. I wasn't sure what it was, but I felt like I was floating - zigzagging back and forth down a lazy river, unsure of exactly where I was going. So, without any certainty as to what was making me feel so aimless, I started praying about the same things over and over, writing them in my journal every night, hoping that by covering so many broad topics, I'd somehow find the right answer. I prayed the exact same eight questions every night.
From my job to dating to our living situation to going to Africa to thinking I should move closer to family to wondering if I was running too much, I drilled down on every subject. And as I sat in church last night, thinking about how much has changed this year, I thought back to my questions, in awe of the way they've been answered.
Within nine days of writing down these questions, I had my first answer: we were moving.
Within two months, I was taking a break from running.
Within four months, I was going to Africa.
Within six months I was in a new job.
Within eight months, my brothers were in Atlanta with me.
And the list doesn't stop there. Every question was met with clarity or action. Every bullet has been met with peace.
Looking back on this filled me with so much joy and hope.
And it gave me a renewed vigor toward using my time well. Life is precious - not just because we never know how much we have, but also because there are so many beautiful people and causes in this world fighting for life; for time. But if we aren't careful, they'll begin to zap our energy. Before we know it, we'll be spread too thin, committing to things that are "just a couple of weeks" and "just a couple of nights each month" and "just a year."
But a year is long and exciting. And as we close out 2013, I'm so grateful for the things life has taught me this year. I'm so grateful for every one of those 365 days - the good, the bad and the beautiful.
And as we head into 2014, I'm approaching it with passion and gratitude. I'm committing to the things I care about and letting the things that zap my energy fall away. I'm worrying less about pleasing everyone and more about pursuing the things I know deserve more time and energy. I'm focusing less on my checklist - done, done, done - and more on pouring more energy and passion into the things I really love.
I couldn't be more excited. And I'm thrilled to bask in these last 15 days of 2013, grateful for what this beautiful year has taught me. For how it has changed me. I intend to embrace every bit of the remaining holiday season, soaking up every Christmas song and stocking stuffer I can find. I'm heading to Indy this weekend and cannot wait to be with my family - just the very people I want to end the year with.
Here's to 2013, 2014 and beyond. And Christmas, of course! Next week :) Happy Monday!