As I reflect back on 2017, I can share with certainty that it was a “rebuilding year” for me.
Continuing with the theme of Jessica’s last post about striving to meet your authentic self in the wake of loss, I realized I have taken many active steps this year toward uncovering my authentic self. The process isn’t complete, but I am eager to see this journey through.
All of this began unintentionally.
Through a new gym, I joined a book club focused on self-help and personal growth reading. Our small group gathered to discuss popular titles like, “The Alchemist,” You Are a Bas@$$,” and “Designing Your Life.” Not surprisingly, there were many similar ideas throughout them – to put positive energy and intentions out into the world, which should ultimately yield a fruitful return. Each book offered varying methods to help the reader arrive there. I’m not usually a big self-help person, but eventually, something started to click. Much of this had to do with the encouraging conversations amongst the group that followed. I accepted that nothing has to be or remain the way it is.
I don’t think I even realized I was in a rut until I read these books and audited my life. In fact, I questioned joining a self-help book club because I didn’t feel like I needed to change anything. After losing my dad, I embraced this idea that I have to be 100% happy to make up for him feeling otherwise, even if that wasn’t truly the case. So, I started to think about some of the changes I wanted to make to work towards feeling authentically happy.
I knew I needed some accountability and coaching to help me explore this further. I’ve always been open to alternative therapies – like reiki (energy healing) – and receiving the wisdom of others. Essentially, I became a sponge this year and soaked it all in.
I took the year day-by-day and did what felt right. It wasn’t a linear line and working on oneself can definitely be uncomfortable and messy. The other day, some of my book club peers proactively raised that I seem different than when we began meeting. This made me feel good. Though, internally, I feel like there’s still more work I want to do.
The reason I share this story and the fact that it all started “accidentally” is because as we approach the New Year, I think it’s beneficial as survivors to resolve to simply take the year day-by-day or minute-by-minute. I’ve never really been one to make lofty resolutions or wish for an entire year to be better. That’s such a huge ask of a person and a calendar. It also can take a lot of energy to commit to making major changes out of the gate – and energy is one resource that is easily depleted during the grief journey, particularly in the early years. This is why I treat New Year’s Eve just like any other day. Mostly, I am always eager for the holiday season and nostalgic reminders of what used to be to pass. Despite instilling new traditions, it will never feel the same.
This year, be gentle with yourself and see where each day leads.