The Year of Living Bravely

courageIn the past, I’ve gotten in the habit of picking a ‘theme’ at the beginning of the new year and holding it up as a kind of banner. Something to remind me of certain goals, but mostly to frame a desired mindset.

This has been more effective some years than others. Like all ‘resolutions’, I usually start out strong, but as the year wears on, my ability to hold onto the vision I’d created for myself becomes attenuated and stretched to the breaking point–or else it just fades away, entirely forgotten in the press of meeting obligations at work and at home.

I’ve had The Year of Living Passionately, and The Year of Living with Abundance (which was aimed at concentrating on what I had, rather than what I didn’t have), and the Year of Living without Fear. Today, I saw a blog post titled ‘The year of being brave’, which had nothing to do with picking a mantra for 2015, but the title resonated with me. “That’s it,” I thought. “This is the Year of Being Brave.”

One could argue that I’ve already done that, with my ‘year of living without fear’, but the truth of the matter is that living without fear and being brave are not the same thing. Living without fear is making a conscious decision not to let the things that frighten you control you. Being brave means going out and meeting your destiny.

2015On New Year’s Eve, I shared this graphic with several groups of online friends, along with the message that I planned to take 2015 by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. I was going to OWN 2015.

The vast majority of my friends were supportive of this sentiment, but a small number expressed concern at my hubris, and suggested caution. “You’re inviting the universe to smack you down,”  they said. “The universe has a twisted sense of humor.”

I have to tell you, I got a little bit pissed at this. Frankly, the universe has been using me as its punching bag for a while now. Oh, nothing earth-shattering or heartbreaking, but a slow, steady grind of worry and stress and diminishing resources. And while I appreciate where my well-meaning friends are coming from, they are not walking in my shoes. Furthermore, I have spent my entire life being the Good Girl. The one who did what she was told. I worked hard in school, graduated with honors, got an advanced degree, gave my life to my career. I played by the rules, and yet after a lifetime of doing everything I was told would guarantee ‘success’, I find I am not happy. The way I see it, part of playing by the rules for a single woman in this day and age means to continually be self-sacrificing and self-effacing. And I think it’s about time I stood up and did a little roaring for a change.

4 thoughts on “The Year of Living Bravely

  1. ” Oh, nothing earth-shattering or heartbreaking, but a slow, steady grind of worry and stress and diminishing resources. And while I appreciate where my well-meaning friends are coming from, they are not walking in my shoes. Furthermore, I have spent my entire life being the Good Girl. The one who did what she was told. I worked hard in school, graduated with honors, got an advanced degree, gave my life to my career. I played by the rules, and yet after a lifetime of doing everything I was told would guarantee ‘success’, I find I am not happy.”

    This probably describes 98 percent of everyone in this country, regardless of gender, orientation, or job. We all pretty much did “the right thing” and have ended up with far less than we were promised. This is what happens when income inequality gets wildly out of balance, because if the bulk of resources are going to the top, what then is left for us?

    Unfortunately, this is going to continue and will likely get worse, so either we have the revolution, or we make ourselves happy with what we have. As we have not yet reached flashpoint for the former, the latter state is what we have to work with. This also has the effect of thumbing our noses at TPTB that have and are seeking to grind us under their thumbs. If we do not kiss their asses, if we do not fear them, we win.

    This should be the Year of Living Brave for us all. We need to break with our masters (whatever shape they take), throw off our shackles, and dare to be happy and content with less than what we have. Moreover, we need to find a way to be happy with ourselves and our achievements. Accomplishing even the smallest thing is cause for celebration. Every day of our lives should be a party. 🙂
    Theo Fenraven recently posted..I Got NothingMy Profile

    • Exactly, Theo. The first step for me was letting go of certain expectations. A safe place to live. A financially secure future. A guaranteed income. Then came all the should-haves that one expects to have achieved by a certain point in one’s life. Comparing yourself to others and coming up short every time, be it in terms of ‘success’ or looks or hell, even being a nice person.

      I suspect my friends probably took exception to my words ‘wrestle’ and ‘tackle’. To the statement I wanted to ‘own’ 2015. The idea being that obviously, you can’t own something like that and to try somehow paints a target on your chest in which the universe feels the need to prove that fact to you. I sorta get where they are coming from, but I don’t think they get where *I* am coming from at all. For me to stand up and take charge of 2015 is a HUGE step forward for me. I’ve let the last couple of years steamroll over me, leaving me flattened with discouragement and self-doubt. It’s a shame they can’t see my words and attitude as empowering. I certainly do! 🙂
      Sarah Madison recently posted..The Year of Living BravelyMy Profile

  2. Yes! To all of this!

    You are brave, in so many ways. Like I think you’re extremely brave to keep a blog and let random people comment on things that come from your heart and soul, that is scary! O_O So just go and show the universe, and everyone else, just how brave you can be *hugs* ^_^

    And I will take your theme to heart as well, and try to live more bravely than before. Because we both damn well deserve it, and have every right to. *\o/*

    • I don’t know why WordPress neglected to send me a notice saying that you’d commented here–I’ll have to have words with my automated message boy. 🙂

      That is very kind of you, but you know what? I think crossing the Atlantic to come to a foreign country where English is not your native tongue, just to meet up with (an admittedly fantastic 😉 ) group of people is every bit as brave–maybe even more so!

      So we’re just going to have to accept the fact we’re already brave–and go out and prove it to the world. 🙂
      Sarah Madison recently posted..The Year of Living BravelyMy Profile

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