It’s 11:30 p.m. here in Kansas, where I’m sitting on my bed in my old room at my parents’ house, snacking and waiting for the clock to strike midnight. I’m not sure why, but even when I’m not doing anything to celebrate the new year (which is pretty much every year) I still make myself stay up until the next year officially has arrived. The most exciting New Year’s Eve I can remember was about four years ago when I was in college and on a leadership retreat of sorts that took place in the Florida Everglades. The trip consisted of us students, who had been sorted into crews, paddling in canoes for about 72 miles through the Everglades over the course of a week-and-a-half or so.
On that New Year’s Eve night, after a long day of paddling (I think we logged around 16 miles that day) we literally pulled into our stopping place as the clock struck midnight. It was an amazing experience. It was quiet — no loud fireworks or lights, only the millions of stars in the sky above us. Our instructors pulled out bottles of sparkling grape juice and poured them into little cups for us, and we drank them together and marveled at how unique that experience was, how much more fulfilling it was than going to a party or watching fireworks. Some of the details of that trip have become more fuzzy to me as the years have gone by, but I’ll always remember that night. I have yet to experience a NYE that even comes close to touching it.
I wish that I had a better segue into the real topic of this post, but I don’t. I just had to share that story because it’s one of my favorites. I guess that maybe that story comes to mind not only because it’s almost the new year, but because that trip allowed for a lot of self-reflection, which is what all of us tend to do at the end of a year and just before the beginning of a new one.
As I sit here tonight thinking about this past year and what I want next year to look like, one word keeps coming to mind: Me. Me.
I have spent so much of this past year, so much of my life, really, focused on other people and appeasing them, wanting them to like me, wanting to be important to them. In the process, I have completely lost my sense of self and what it means to make ME happy, to give MYSELF what I need. And so while I could sit here and give you a list of resolutions, most of which I probably would have given up on after only a short time, instead I’ve decided to resolve to this one thing: 2015 is going to be the year of me. Of Tara.
Life is hard enough sometimes as it is, but it becomes infinitely more difficult when you spend it living only for others and never giving yourself what you need or want. I just want to kick myself for all of the time I’ve given away, willingly, to trying to make others happy and sacrificing my own well-being and happiness because of it. It’s like I boxed up all of my self-worth, happiness, hopefulness, all of it, every good part of me, and handed them all to others and said, “Here, take these gifts and open them and tell me that you love them because if you don’t, then it means that I am a failure.” I just gave it all away and waited for everyone else to validate me and make me feel worthy, when really, the person I needed those things from the most was myself.
So, this year, and hopefully for all of the years that follow, I’ve decided that I’m going to try my damnedest not to do that anymore. Not to give away the best parts of myself for others to decide the worthiness of. The only person, the only thing in this world over which I truly have control is myself, so why am I not spending more time on improving myself, loving myself, strengthening myself? Why am I not making decisions for myself, but rather making them based on what I think other people want? No. Not anymore. It’s time to make things about me for once, and not in a selfish, doesn’t-give-a-shit-about-others kind of way, but in a I-care-for-myself-and-I-am-worthy kind of way.
It’s 12:04 a.m., now. Me. 2015 and Me. Let’s do this.