In 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.
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.