New Year's Eve is not my favorite day. Not by a long shot. When my twins were delivered 6 weeks early on this day two years ago, the irony was not lost on me. I was secretly hoping their birthday would change my feelings about New Years, and make it a day I would actually enjoy from then on.
I texted my best friend this morning, looking for confirmation that I was not a horrible mom. It was my kids' birthday, and all I could think about was running away from home for a few minutes. Or a day. Or a week. It was 9:30 in the morning.
My husband was asleep. My oldest son was asleep. Instead of waking someone up to help me, I martyred on, finally making my breakfast 4 hours after waking up at 11:30am. When my husband asked later why I didn't wake him up, I wouldn't answer. I was afraid I would uncontrollably vomit all of the unresolved issues running through my head from the ghosts of New Years past - the expectations that never materialized, the broken resolutions, the hopes and dreams that still haven't manifested many years later.
I thought back to New Year's Eve 2013, one of the worst days of my life. Instead of focusing on what has changed for the better in the last 4 years, all I could focus on were the things that hadn't changed. The things that were still unresolved. The places where I had yet to find peace.
I started spiraling down the rabbit hole of comparing my life now to what it had been before, and focusing on everything I had "lost" in the last 4 years. The beautiful Victorian house I loved, with an army of friendly neighbors. My job as a pilot, including the ability to travel on a moments notice - for free. My tribe. Before the babies, I would meet up with friends on a regular basis, singing and dancing and drumming into the night. The same friends who kindly bunk up somewhere else when they come to town now, so as not to wake up the twins. (Or maybe it's the other way around.)
In the midst of my pity party I conveniently ignored what I had gained in the last 4 years. Two beautiful babies, a son that loves his new school, a husband who has put up with my depression and mood swings over the last 2 years, a budding podcast and writing career, a house where we finally bought low and can sell high (if we ever decide to move), the ability to make magic in a way I wouldn't allow myself to do when I was wearing a pilot uniform.
For the last few weeks I've been trying a new approach as I think about the coming year, and this helped save me from my death spiral this morning. Instead of looking back on all that hasn't changed or I haven't accomplished, I've been focusing on what I have accomplished (which is often a lot harder to remember.) Instead of looking at the unexpected moments in my life as a hardship, I've really been looking for the gift in every situation.
The most unexpected gift I had this year was an IRS audit, for my business back in 2014. At first I was terrified, and it brought up all sorts of emotions and self-criticism and opportunities to be angry at the perceived injustice of it all. As I worked through the process and looked back over all of my travels and receipts for the year in question, I realized what a gift it was (both the audit, and 2014.) I had so many unresolved issues that occurred in 2014, the biggest transition year of my life, and the audit was a way to look back and heal all of it (well, I'd like to think all of it, but I know better than that. It would be more honest to say I healed as much as I was capable of healing at this moment.)
After two months of dealing with the audit, I mailed the paperwork off to the IRS the day before yesterday. I wanted completion before the new year (at least on my part anyway.) That's why I was feeling off balance and out of sorts today. There has been a lot of emotional shake up recently, coming face to face with the past that I had tried to bury and not fully resolve or release. Today was another opportunity to clear some more cobwebs out before the new year starts.
As I look forward to 2017, I have a sense of hope rather than dread. I don't set resolutions anymore. Too much pressure to change something I would have changed already if I had really wanted to. I do still choose a word for the year though, something I want to focus on and create, but not beat myself up about when I fall short.
My word for 2017 is NURTURE. I've tried to create change with the tough love approach. I've tried guilting myself into more doing. I've tried not following my intuition. I've tried to pound my business into submission. Not this year. This year is about creating the life I desire with compassion, gratitude and patience for all that I have, and all that I am. And I'm not waiting for the clock to strike midnight, I'm starting right now. It's time to stop fearing and start creating.
Much love and many blessings to you for a New Year Happy.