Now that we are officially a week into 2017, methinks that I should truly reflect on 2016 in broad strokes and think about what that means or how it informs 2017. I won’t moan and bitch yet again about 2016, but I will say that it was not my finest year. I learned a LOT about myself which, at age 44, I suppose is something to celebrate, but I’ll be honest and say that I also wasn’t happy with what I learned. I still get easily “stuck” in a fixed rather than a growth mindset which I find frustrating, and I question that I truly embraced all of the opportunities that came our way. That said, I also felt limited this past year – financially and physically and emotionally – and it was hard to be present and also to look to the future with a positive attitude.
I don’t believe that January 1st marks a sudden, definitive shift, but I’m more than happy to see 2017 as something as a tabula rasa. There are still issues that frustrate me and that won’t give me that ‘clean slate’ sense. For instance, my work situation continues to be a source of uncertainty and slight dissatisfaction and I’ve been dealing with a foot issue that’s sidelined me from running since November, but I can be more positive in my outlook.
Maybe the major shift is in perspective – I feel that Michael and I are in a position to make some life decisions this year, and I honestly think that I have the resources (emotional and otherwise) to be more proactive this year. So, I’m letting myself dream a little more, nurse more hopes and expectations, and set a few somewhat ambitious goals. I’d easily say that the theme words of 2016 were pretty negative – inertia, unfocused, mediocrity. This year, I absolutely want to shift my focus and embrace the words commitment and growth. I’m often a bit cynical and roll my eyes at mantras, but maybe I need one for this year?
In terms of commitment, there’s no doubt that last year I suffered from a major lack of commitment to… everything! In Charlie Brown terms, I was pretty wishy-washy. I think that the sense of commitment shifted at some point in the fall, but there is plenty of room for improvement on my end – I can or need to (or WILL) fully commit to life and experiences in Colorado. That’s a hard concept in some ways because it means that certain doors close. Returning to Switzerland in the fall, for example, is a wonderful idea for me and one that I’ve entertained over the past few months on a regular basis, but I also sense that it would delay my full embrace of Colorado and what that means. There plenty of other aspects of my life that, for a while, have lacked true commitment on my part, which I also see as relating to connection to people and focus on goals.
And as for growth – this also encompasses a wide range of other areas of my life, such as risk-taking, curiosity, saying “yes”, engaging in life and in people. Again, it’s not that I didn’t grow last year, but I felt that certain experiences happened to me and defined my growth rather than feeling that I was defining the experiences that mattered and that allowed me to grow. (Is that totally convoluted?) So, I want to cultivate more experiences that will push me outside of my comfort zone but in a way that is beneficial rather than being so far out of my comfort zone that I don’t even recognize myself because I’m paralyzed.
A final note, 2017 certainly hasn’t started off perfectly, but, over this weekend, I thought about what saying “yes” to commitment and growth would be, even in a small way. It snowed earlier in the week (happy dance around here), and while Michael and I are not downhill skiing for most of the season, it’s nice to get out there and enjoy the snow. Rather than lament the fact that I couldn’t ski this weekend, I spent some time in Golden Gate Canyon, a state park that’s just south west of where we live, exploring the trails via snowshoe!
As much as I love love love downhill skiing and miss it this year, there was something wonderfully peaceful about getting out on a trail with few people around and going where we wanted to go. No lines, no noise, none of the craziness that is usually a part of the downhill ski experience. It made me think about how, yes, we are missing the downhill ski season, but that just gives us other activities, other opportunities that we can enjoy. And that is how I want to see this year and how I want to live this year, taking advantage of the opportunities that are within my reach and letting go of those that aren’t.