Is it just me or does December consistently feel like you’ve mistakenly pushed the 2X on the remote?
In fact, as I look back on this year, it feels like the entire year got switched from normal speed to 1.25X…. or even 1.5X.
Perhaps it was because 2017 was not for the faint of heart. Every day brought some new petrifying reality on the national or international stage… Trump and his administration, Kim Jong-un, emboldened white supremacists, mass shootings, fires, floods, hurricanes, mudslides, sexual harassment, sexual assaults, terrorism, radicalism, divisive nastiness, global warming, a war on science and facts… the list goes on and on in what feels like an endless maniacal plot.
Add to that our own, run of the mill, personal adversity… the kind of stuff that comes with living… and 2017 has been a year worthy of a little angst.
So after years of doing some sort of an end-of-the-year reflection/review I was really resistant this year, unwilling to relive the quagmire that was 2017.
That is, until today.
Today I realized something had to change.
The realization arrived while I was out for a short run. About halfway through I noticed that I had spent way too much time berating myself for my slow pace and short distance. Here I was, doing something I love and I was spending the time focusing on why it wasn’t good enough.I realized that I what I needed wasn’t more speed or distance but rather to slow waaaaay down and take some time to reflect. The kind of reflection that involves a warm cup of tea, a long exhale, and a journal.
I needed to shift my mindset towards finding and focusing on the positive.
I needed to focus on the doing rather than the measuring.
Even in the best of circumstances, I find it easier to list the things I wanted to do but didn’t…the failures, heartbreaks and disappointments of 2017.
So given the year we’ve had, it meant I needed to take the time to intentionally focus on, and even reframe, what happened.
For instance, when I think about how I didn’t run a ½ marathon like I planned, I instead need to focus on the fact that I did manage (mostly) to get out and run a couple times a week, despite the roadblocks and reasons not to.
And when I notice that I feel stymied and helpless in the face of our current administration, I need to focus instead on the phone calls I did make and the protests and meetings I did attend in an attempt to make my voice heard. I also need to notice that this was the most politically active I’ve been in a long time!
And when I feel small and helpless in the face of global warming, I need to instead bring my focus back to the many little changes I’ve been inspired to make. (This included starting to order our toilet paper from a company that uses no plastic packaging, is 100% recycled and donates 50% of their profits to build toilets for the 40% of the world’s population that doesn’t have them and is called Who Gives a Crap… which makes me giggle and reminds me to notice all the innovative companies and people stepping into the void.)
And when I feel powerless in the face of ongoing gun violence, I need to focus on how the helpers far outnumber the perpetrators, every single time.
And when I feel sad because this was the year my mom died, I need to remember that I discovered that sometimes simply showing up and being present is the most courageous thing we do.
This year, instead of my usual year in review, I needed to dig a bit deeper.
And what I learned by doing a review in which I took stock of the doing, rather than the measuring is that sometimes, doing something, no matter how small, most every day, that takes you towards a future you want, is enough.
Yes, this year was tough. I failed. I cried. I railed. I lost. I despaired.
But it was also amazing because even though I failed, cried, railed, lost and despaired I got back up and did what I could. And that, in the end, is enough.
If you’re careening towards the end of the year on 1.5X speed and looking for a way to slow down and reframe the happenings of 2017, I humbly suggest a year in review in which you take stock of the doing, rather than measuring.
Wishing you a 2018 doing what matters most.
FYI – If you know someone facing an empty nest in 2018, I’m co-teaching a class on how to reframe the end of day-to-day parenting with one of the most brilliant healers I know in January in Denver. Click here to find out more!