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Eyes darted around the room, heads swiveled side to side, and now we were three minutes from 2018; eager hands held drinks to mask any facial insecurity, pretending to sip.  The entire bar began sizing up the room in a furious, synchronized effort, scouring the landscape for the perfect opportunity to sweep a potential stranger off their feet in a romantic midnight kiss to ring in the New Year.  Oddly, The OC played over and over in my head – you know what scene I am talking about – as I fell victim to the annual, midnight anxiety for this late 20s single.

In years past, I may have stood wondering if I will be alone forever, but this time I could laugh to myself at the absurdity of circumstance.  Just hours earlier, I enjoyed a fantastic dinner with friends that were all now standing beside me, also glancing around with increasingly determined eyes.  With comic joy, I accepted that my only chance to wet my lips was to secure champagne, toast to 2018 and get over myself. Woe is me, am I right?

Shame makes you do some crazy, backwards things, like for a moment thinking that a midnight smooch will foreshadow a year of comfort and affirmation.  If I really think about years past, even my brief moment this year, I immediately see my shame in thinking that another year has gone by, and I wasted my opportunity to show how far I have come.  Yes, that validation that despite last year, I grabbed life by the horns, laced up my boots and now: “Look, world, how much better I am!”  Why wouldn’t somebody want this? – Until they don’t.  That familiar voice whispering in your ear: there must be something wrong with you if nobody wants you tonight.  How fragile our year-old egos actually are.

Alas, we make a new New Year’s resolution, vowing to change ourselves, to improve and commit to the future self that will be better than that old lonely one.  New Year, new me. Of course, if nobody else wants that me, then surely I don’t want that version of me either.  That being said, this year I am going to double down on that broken me and keep the inertia of a great 2017 going.  I have three resolutions this year:

  1. Do something new. Well, this one is pretty easy: start a blog.  Doing new things has never been an issue for me; I am constantly coming up with new business ideas and occasionally pursue them.  Last year I started a dog leash company with a friend – we sold one, so I am going to call it a successful venture.  However, in the past, insecurity or shame have been the sole motivating factors, and I found myself either running away from something that I did not like or trying to fill my life with something new because I feared that what I had was not enough already. My new blog will be a means to bring struggles in life to the light; I will find joy confronting my insecurities, rather than hide in shameful darkness.
  2. Do something again. Last year I finished Ironman Wisconsin. I guess I made it look so easy my brother thinks he can do one too, so we will be settling the Family Ironman Challenge in May at Ironman Santa Rosa.  But seriously, training for and completing the race was one of the hardest experiences of my life, and I can only hope that going through it again with my brother for his first time will bring even more joy to my life.  Getting across the finish line was almost a miracle.  In March of last year, I was hospitalized with severe pneumonia: I was septic. By May I was barely walking again; I completed the Ironman with a mere three months of training.  To dedicate yourself to finishing takes a major leap of faith, for you know that on that day you could not possibly finish the race – I know I cannot finish today so the journey will be new all over again.
  3. Do something more…of something I know I should but don’t. The possibilities are endless, and for a while, I was considering something easy like washing my sheets more often. Lame.  Instead, I was inspired by a Christmas gift from my mother: a daily verse flip calendar.  Until last year, I do not think I read the Bible outside of an academic context to actually reflect on the message and how it applies to my life.  Rather than just reflect on the verse, I will read the entire chapter where the verse is found.  My life has improved infinitely by asking myself one simple question: why is it that God wants me to do things so differently than I want to?  There is never a complete answer to this question, and I don’t know if it is good or bad that I find myself at odds with the Lord so often in the first place, but I do know that the best place to find the answer is His own words.

I hope, with my 2018 set of resolutions, to resign my own inhibitions and put my faith in what God has shown me to be good.  I cannot change my own life, for I am motivated by shame and insecurity, and until I let go, I am in the bondage of my passions and temptation.  Only after I give up trying to gain something, can I actually find joy in the freedom of life.

New Year’s resolutions are an easy way to tell yourself that this year will be different, but ultimately you try to put life in your own hands.  You put yourself in the driver seat and find the one thing from the past that holds you back from the better version of yourself.  You need to Ride Shotgun.

Happy New Year!

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

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