First, though, let me explain something.
This year has been an incredibly difficult one for me. In fact, the last year and a half have been the hardest and most emotionally tumultuous of my entire life thus far. I have been low. Very, very low. What David Gray calls "way down." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHNC_9jNnG0
Storm cloud (iPhone photo)
I had long stretches of time where I questioned my faith daily, even hourly. I was anxious and fearful and sad and dark. I had entire days where I was anxious (to the point of actually trembling in a cold sweat) about things that were likely never to happen. I felt the cloud when I went to bed, and I felt it as soon as I opened my eyes in the morning. I had bouts of insomnia, and the whole thing was like I was in a maze at a dead end.
I hid most of it from people, but inside of me it felt like quicksand and it was threatening to take me under if I moved. I was stuck in a constant sense of impending doom. It probably sounds a bit dramatic, but it's exactly how I felt. In many ways, I experienced the feeling that I was no longer myself, and I was afraid that I would never be "me" again.
About two months ago, though, the cloud lifted. With no warning and for no apparent reason, I was fine. The anxiety was gone. I felt like myself again, and I could not believe the lightness.
So I have, in some ways, lost this whole past year and a half to anxiety. I tried medication, but it made things worse. I tried reading my Bible and praying. I tried thinking of my gratitudes. I tried talking it out with people I trusted. I tried distracting myself with fitness and running and exercise. Nothing worked to ease it.
When the cloud lifted, though, this Scripture sprang to my mind:
"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten..."
Sunrise from my back porch (iPhone photo)
What does that mean? I'm still trying to figure out what I have gained from this desert experience. But I can now relate to people who struggle with anxiety and I have a deep compassion for them. I know that it's not something they can just control. I appreciate waking up in the morning and taking a deep breath, and not experiencing a flood of irrational fears. I am so thankful that I photographed so many things, family and friends, because I barely remember half of it.
So I'm going to resolve a few things for 2013. They may not be your typical "New Years Resolutions," but I need simple and I need to get back to the basics.
1. I'm going to laugh more. Laughter truly is the best medicine and I appreciate a good laugh more now than I ever have. Feel free to make me laugh...it's a dare.
2. I'm going to learn all I can about everything I can. I have to say, going through 4th grade again with my son in cyber school, I am learning a lot of things I had forgotten!
3. I'm going to practice living and loving with my whole heart, spiritually and otherwise.
4. I'm going to think less about calories and weight, and focus myself on being the healthiest and happiest ME that I can be. I want to still be here, healthy enough to see my great-grandchildren. If that means being a little fluffier, so be it. You can be fit AND a little fluffy. I want to have a healthy, happy heart--physically and emotionally.
5. I'm going to travel more with my husband and kids when we can. This year, we bought a little camper and we set out for Arizona, pulling the camper behind us. It's a trip that all of us will remember. Did the kids bicker with each other on an almost-hourly basis? Yes. Did we lose our patience on an almost-hourly basis? Yes. But it's one of the best things we've done as a family, and I want to do it again.
From one of our hikes in Sedona, AZ (iPhone photo)
So there you have it. My 5 resolutions for the coming year. I'm praying that God will direct me in all the things I need to do to reach these "goals"...they're not really goals, I guess, though, because none of them has an end point. There will be no real measure of success. But that's okay. I'm going to roll with it.
This woman, Brene Brown, is a researcher
who talks about the keys to living "wholeheartedly."
I enjoyed hearing what she had to say. She is part of the TED Talks lectures.
A couple of recommendations for those who have Netflix
or an equivalent:
This documentary, "America the Beautiful 2",
is a great one about what "healthy" is and what it's not. It's also about
the North American obsession with being thin.
Here's the trailer:
I LOOOOVED this documentary.
It's called "How to Live Forever: Results May Vary." In it, elderly people,
some of them over 100 years old, share their secrets for living a long life. It also
talks about people's obsession with aging. I smiled many times.