Adios 2013

Dear 2013,
You were a year of amazing highs and gut-wrenching lows. Does anyone else feel me on this?

I saw friends all around me deal with extremely challenging situations with family, finances, illness and workplace struggles.  2013, it seems, was not kind to everyone.

Let’s be clear and put this in perspective.  There are people in the world going through far worse atrocities but when challenging things are happening to YOU, all logic goes out the window and self-preservation kicks in.

As an eternal optimist I channeled all of my energy into bringing positive energy, people and activities into my life this year, especially during the rough patches. I think you learn a lot about yourself during times of struggle. I often wonder if we are raising and working with a generation of students who lack coping skills because no one has ever really told them that there will be times of incredible struggle.  Who is talking to them about how they they will have to lean into the discomfort instead of running away and/or self-medicating t0 ease the pain of the situation?

So I tried to take my own advice and did my best to lean into the discomfort. It’s not fun.   I failed a lot.  But in doing so I learned a great many things about myself:

1–I learned how to keep reaching out, even if you have been snubbed.  Sometimes the third time isn’t the charm, it’s the eighth.

2–I discovered that venturing out to try the things I have always been scared of isn’t just empowering but it also made me realize that the list of things I am actually scared to do decreased exponentially.  And that IS empowering!

3–I recognized that while nothing is really certain in this life, the ONE thing I know for sure is that–no matter what–I will always be OK. Knowing that, and truly believing that, creates an incredible sense of peace and stability.

4–I’ve learned that no single event, action or person can truly destroy you. But it can still knock you down hard. Getting up–swiftly and bravely–often requires something more than just your belief in yourself.  Often it is family, friends and faith that allow you to stand tall once again.
5–I’ve learned that uncertainty is OK.  As a die-hard “Type A” personality I even struggle to write those words!  But when life doesn’t go the way you planned, you have a choice to either let that stop you or keep moving forward on a slightly altered path.  I choose the latter because picking the former means you are giving that situation the power to limit your dreams and I simply refuse to do so.

In yoga class tonight we were doing this pose where you are balancing with your hands on your mat and your legs climbing up the back wall. You hold the pose and then do push-ups while having your feet still up on the wall. The instructor came over to me and said “Wow, I would never guess by looking at you that you have that kind of strength!”

I smiled to myself.  I never would have guessed that either.  And that might be my greatest lesson of the year.
What has 2013 taught you?

About annmarieklotz

I write about all things education, personal & professional development and growth. Once is a question, twice is a discussion and three times is a blog post! Born and raised in Detroit Michigan but currently calling the Pacific Northwest home. I work at Oregon State University and belong to a fantastic community of higher ed professionals around the globe! Lover of theater and the arts. Live your best life!
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