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"Well that didn't go as planned..."

In case your social media hasn’t blown up with enough newsfeed notifications in the last few days, let me remind you: today is the last day of 2017. New Years Eve tends to bring about a lot of mixed emotions in many people. It’s good to look back at this last year’s memories (both good and bad) to see how much you’ve grown and to decide what you would like to change as the new year begins.

The funny thing is, it’s just another day. Today is Sunday, tomorrow is Monday (thankfully most of us just don’t have to go into work). Regardless, New Year’s Eve gives a sense of nostalgia and anticipation. New Year’s Day offers us the chance to start with a clean slate - a fresh start with new opportunities, no matter what physical, emotional, and mental state you are in today.

My 2017 was…interesting, to say the least. I’ve moved 4 times, held 3 different jobs, lost part of my sight in my left eye (it’s a long story), strengthened friendships, let go of some others, took a drastic turn in my career-path plans, and started sharing my story and fitness journey with you all. If you had told me on January 1, 2017 that ANY of that would happen, I might have laughed at you. Or maybe I would have curled into the fetal position and started crying right then and there. No matter my reaction, I can tell you with confidence that I wouldn’t have predicted anything that happened this past year. (Now I know I’m sounding dramatic, but let me tell you, if we sat down over coffee and I gave you the details…we could turn it into a 3-hour conversation and a potential television show.)

As you may have already gathered from my dramatic recount of this year, it wasn’t the easiest. It was also a year of incredible growth. 2017 gave me the chance to really look around and witness what a wonderful community I have in Nashville. It forced me out of my comfort zone, and in turn opened up doors that I never even thought to walk through before. I’m ending my year on a more positive note than I began, and I’m genuinely excited for the potential that 2018 has to offer.

All of this to say, my reflections on both past and present have felt me feeling at a loss when it comes to a New Year’s Resolution (not that I think every person has to make one, but it’s nice to set new goals and assess your growth). Why am I struggling with the concept? Because I’ve made a whole lot of plans and goals in past years that didn’t pan out anything like I thought they would. (Can anyone else relate to that feeling?) As excited as I am to move forward, I have to admit that I’m somewhat afraid to speak aloud new dreams and plans. Fear tells me to keep dreams to myself, just in case I fail in the process.

I was talking to one of my friends about this struggle today, and her response to my dilemma was simple but profound. She said something along the lines of, “it’s important to share this stuff with me, because how else can I love and support you? It doesn’t really matter if your plans turn out the way you expect or not. You’re figuring out what you enjoy and also what you don’t want, and there’s no reason to be embarrassed about that.”

Her response made me pause at how freeing that concept really is. I can allow myself to dream and plan and set goals, and at the same time open myself up to change as it comes. Life is anything but predictable, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. So, in light of being honest, here are a few of my goals for 2018:

- Keep kickboxing, and get a lot better at it (duh).

-Try new fitness activities (snowboarding, water-skiing, horseback riding, just to name a few)

- Become certified to become a personal trainer .

- Play my saxophone regularly again, just because I love it and I miss it.

- Write one new song a month - not for any particular reason; it’s just good therapy for me.

Those are my 2018 goals. Whether they all happen or not, I’m excited to reach for them and to strengthen existing relationships/gain new ones in the process.

Maybe you’re excited for this year to end. Maybe you’ve had a fantastic year and you’re not quite sure why it seems like everyone is whining about it. Maybe you’re indifferent and you expect 2018 to be about the same as 2017, just one year later. Wherever you’re at, don’t be afraid to dream new dreams. More importantly, don’t be afraid to speak those dreams aloud. Acknowledging your fears to people you love and trust isn’t weakness, it just opens the door for you to have truth spoken into your life that maybe you can’t see on your own. It also shows you what kind of support system you have, even if you didn’t realize it before. You may have a whole team of people rooting for you to succeed in whatever you do, and it doesn’t really matter what that thing is - they’ll support you regardless.

So keep dreaming. Keep speaking. And keep believing in yourself. Happy New Year.