The Higher Ground

It’s ten days later, but I didn’t want to write a post about a 2015 year review/new year’s resolutions until I really figured out what I needed to get out of 2016.

Last year I only had one resolution: to not spend time, energy, or money on food or friends that don’t satisfy me. And I did great. I only had to eat at Noodles & Company once and that was for a friend’s birthday, and she’s worth it. I completely avoided Panda Express and Olive Garden all year, and plan to continue to do so for the rest of my life. In addition, I discovered several new and more interesting restaurants in my area, and I’m toying with the idea of barring chain restaurants altogether…though the verdict is still out on that.

I also didn’t try to force myself to become friends with people just because they are the kind of people I “should” be friends with. I observed people, gauged their behavior and how it might affect me, and then delicately developed relationships with people that I knew would enrich my life – that way I knew I would have the energy and time to do my best to enrich their lives as well. I will point out one huge key in this process, which is to never let anyone feel like they are worthless, even if they are not the person that is going to be your next bff.

Despite my clear success on my one resolution, last year was…like a year long inversion. For those of you not familiar with Salt Lake Valley, and inversion happens when the air gets so cold it can’t rise (because the air on top is significantly warmer and stays on top because heat rises), resulting in hazy pollution sitting around the valley for weeks at a time during the winter. It is ugly, it is unhealthy, and nobody likes it.

Reasons for this: I went from having the adventure of a lifetime in a country/culture I have always loved back to a regular old office job while living in the same house I grew up in. It was hard to reconcile the great lessons I had learned, the new person I had become, and all the effort I had put into a better future with the feeling that I had actually regressed, because I was now at a lower-paying job and living with my parents after years of being 99.9% independent.

But as the year turned and I took a hard look at my life, I realized that I hadn’t completely regressed. Yes, my situation was not what “adulthood” is supposed to be according to society. But there were a few major, very positive differences.

  1. I like my job better. It may pay less, but I do actually enjoy my work, my co-workers, and I can respect my boss (which is something I haven’t been able to say for many years). Because it’s a complicated business relationship, the job isn’t 100% positive, but my part of it is.
  2. I have been able to hang out with my family a lot. Especially living with my parents, I am there much of the time when my other sisters pop in to visit, and when my parents get to babysit my niece which is the best because I get to play with her.
  3. I have learned to appreciate lots of different kinds of people. I may be judicious in who I invest myself into, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be cold and cruel to the rest of the world. Living abroad I looked at every meeting as a new adventure, but it’s hard to have that attitude when you are “stuck” at home. However, I have shifted my paradigm a bit to look at every new meeting as a person who has great potential and can do good things with their life, a person who is worthy of love and attention. They don’t always have to get it from me, but it is really wonderful to see people from that perspective.
  4. I started working in the LDS temple, which has by far been the best thing that happened to me last year. In the temple we worship and perform ordinances and it has been amazing to facilitate and participate in that for hundreds of people.

The cold of winter has brought more clarity to my mind and heart, as it always does (I’m pretty sure I have Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder, but that’s a whole other post). So I have begun to form some goals that I think will be more important to helping me become a more awesome person over this next year.

  • Utilize my time by harnessing my focus. I can be pretty terrible about scrolling through my phone for what adds up to be hours per day, and when I think about how I could be using that time to learn about physics or biology, or writing a best-selling something, it kinda makes me sick. So I am going to do my best to fill up my days with productive things, which will include watching movies/tv on some days, because your brain needs to chill every so often. I plan to execute this goal by making a list of priorities for the week, probably every Sunday, and posting it somewhere prominent so that I can take a look at it whenever I feel myself slipping into the abyss of unstructured time, and give myself something to do according to my top priorities/goals for the week.
  • Give more love. I used to be CRAZY good at all five love languages, and I used to throw love out into the universe like it was taffy at a parade. But through a combination of growing up, emotional deterioration, mounting cynicism, and negative experiences, I closed up a lot. Like a ton. But I am making a conscious effort to reverse that this year, because I know it will lead to more fulfillment, for me, and hopefully for some other people. As a part of this, I am handmaking, writing, and mailing birthday cards to anyone who requests them (so give me your birthday and address!!). I also want to become better at giving voice to compliments whenever I think something positive about someone.
  • Learn what it means to “bridle” my passions. Many people have the misconception that bridling means to break, squash, or quell something, particularly when that thing is passion. But when you bridle a horse you are actually directing its power to be useful. Many times I feel like my passion just spills out of me and dissipates into the air, but I want it to actually go somewhere and mean something, so I’m going to work on figuring out how to do that this year.
  • Be better at listening to my body. Just today I ate a plate of nachos so huge it was painful. And this entire week I have destroyed my good sleeping schedule. No more. I am going to make choices that prove to my body that I love it and it is worth my attention and devotion!

So there you have it. I am determined to make 2016 count for something. I am determined that when I look back at the end of this year, I’ll be able to see an upward climb that I conquered and that I’ll be on higher ground next January.

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One response to “The Higher Ground

  1. Laura! Pls send me your E-mail adress I want you to be on my E-mailing list 🙂 Love you! Sister Blanchette

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