Not gonna lie…2014 was not my year. I had a great year, don’t get me wrong. But I felt like I was constantly fighting an uphill battle…
About midway through 2014, I realized I didn’t really like the person I saw in the mirror. I really struggled to find exactly who I was and who I wanted to be. I struggled with expectations and stereotypes. I struggled with anxiety and control. I had to re-dream my dreams. I struggled with my past and struggled with planning my future.
It’s kind of ironic, you know. When things turn in your direction and your dreams start coming true…all of a sudden there is a fear that will nearly paralyze you. I’m not really sure how to explain it, but as soon as I realized some of my dreams were within my grasp, I started questioning my judgement. Do I really want this? What if this really happens?
I dream of a life outside of my comfort zone. I dream of a big city big enough to handle my personality where I can see so many different faces and cultures on a daily basis. I dream of a career that is ever changing.
When the groundwork for this dream started being laid and everything started moving really fast, I thought about backing out. There are a lot of reasons that I started thinking maybe I would be happy staying here, living in Alabama, working here. That has never been my dream. I’ve never dreamt of living in a big house with the white-picket fence and two kids and a lot of money in the bank. That’s a great dream, it’s the American dream. But it’s not my dream.
It sounds crazy, I know, that I would dream of living in an apartment with no car. It sounds crazy, I know, that I don’t want kids until after I accomplish most of my career goals. It sounds crazy, I know, but that’s my dream.
While its OK and even great to want those things, it’s just not what I want. It’s difficult to want different things because honestly a lot of people don’t understand. Most of the time, I don’t know if my parents understand. I know it hurts people to think that I want to leave. Trust me, my dad has told me the crime rates, how expensive it is, how much I really wouldn’t like it. I wouldn’t expect anything less from him. I am daddy’s little girl, after all.
But those are the thoughts I started having when I realized my dreams were coming true. I started thinking maybe I do want the ring, the husband, the white-picket fence with 2 kids right out of college. Maybe I do want those things.
But that’s when I really started becoming unhappy and when I really started getting anxious about everything. When I started changing my dreams to accompany those things. Well instead of New York, I can go to Nashville. I can have the house, the car, the southern culture, and the city. I started playing these mind games with myself. In my mind, I was going to have my cake and eat it too. But in reality, I was settling. I was settling for an easier path. A path without uncertainty. A path that I would have complete control over and would be very comfortable.
2014 taught me a lot of things. It taught me people are not always who they say they are. It taught me that it is, in fact, possible to go 3 weeks on less than 5 hours of sleep each night. It taught me how important sleep truly is to our health. It taught me that going to the doctor when you first get sick is better than waiting it out. It taught me that being alone is ok and that it is possible to be happy and alone. It is actually possible to be happier when you are alone. It taught me that a pair of shoes can in fact change your life. It taught me that saving money is important, but what’s the point in having money if you don’t enjoy a little bit of it. It taught me that losing someone is difficult and that death is really, really hard. It taught me that liquid and electronics do not mix. (It actually taught me that in 2012 too). It taught me that if you’re brave enough to ask, you’ll find a lot more opportunities presented to you. It taught me that it’s ok to brag on yourself sometimes. It taught me that I am my harshest critic. It taught me flowers can in fact turn your day around. It taught me that no matter how many people you have pushing against you, you always have at least double that pulling for you. It taught me vacations are nice but there’s no bed as comfortable as the one in my apartment. It taught me I spend an unreasonable amount of money on coffee, and that’s ok. It taught me how much I truly miss running. It taught me that sometimes you have to take a blind leap of faith to get the rewards. It taught me that there is a time to say goodbye. It taught me some of the best friends are made over cheap margaritas and Mexican food. It taught me that if you ask the Lord for it, he will grant your request according to His will. It taught me that Christmas trees are in fact meant to stay up year round. It taught me that my health is one of the greatest blessings in life. It taught me that losing your voice for football before a presentation is in fact worth it. It taught me that it is ok to be selfish, especially when it comes to your dreams.
But most of all, 2014 taught me that if I’m brave enough to dream it, brave enough to ask for it, brave enough to pursue it and brave enough to fight for it, my dreams will come true.
I am grateful for the struggle that was 2014. Because now I can start 2015 with a clean slate, and I can look in the mirror and be happy with what I see.
I am very, very blessed and this year, most of all, has reminded me of that over and over. So for 2015, I’m not making any big new year’s resolutions. I want to get back to running and to keep my life a bit more organized (and my room). I want to travel, a lot. I want to be spontaneous. I want to say yes to more opportunities. I want to spend more time building relationships with people who dream as big as I do. I want to spend less time worrying about minimal issues. And most of all, I want to spend more time learning who I am, what I want, and what I’m capable of.
Happy New Year!