My Sandpaper Year

Photo from  Emilian Robert Vicol via Flickr.

Photo from Emilian Robert Vicol via Flickr.

Reflecting on 2014, I imagine any number of the thoughts that have crossed my mind are likely the same ones that have occurred to other people about the last 12 months of life. I could have done a little more of this and a little less of that. I could have been a better friend/sister/daughter [fill in your superlative here]. Nostalgia always tends to abound this time of year.

As I reviewed the chronicle of my own experience, however, I realized something pretty profound. This was one of my sandpaper years.

My what now?

I know it’s an odd term, but let me explain. Everyone, whether they realize it or not, has years that shape them more than most. Years where some things about who you are as a person are buffed smooth, and other rougher spots you didn’t even realize existed, get exposed. It’s a year where not a lot seems easy, and you feel mostly like Sisyphus, continuously rolling a boulder uphill just to watch it slide down the other side and have to do it all over again. In short, a sandpaper year.

Photo from  Beth Scupham via Flickr.

Photo from Beth Scupham
via Flickr.

If I’m being honest, I’ve actually had a couple of back-to-back sandpaper years. Self-inflicted, unfortunately. Without getting too detailed, let’s just say I made an awful lot of big decisions that should have been better thought and prayed through, and I didn’t do much of either. I panicked when faced with my future and thought I knew what was best for myself, but lack of counsel proved otherwise, and, well, there you go.

And for the sake of continued honesty, I didn’t do a whole lot of living wide during that time either. Sure there were glimmers here and there, but mostly I defaulted. I cocooned in and braced myself for the hard knocks as much as I could, much like a boxer backed into a corner, just trying to survive the round.

But, here’s what’s important; I learned something.

I realized I am far stronger than I ever thought possible. More often than not, I was the only support system propping me up and that made me push forward. I also realized, being a strong individual isn’t nearly as strong as the supportive bond of connection and friendship. A person is never truly an island, and those that believe so are fooling themselves. And, I came to the conclusion that truly knowing what you want, in life, in your career, in love, in general, should never be denied. Why? Because you will always seek it. Conscious, unconscious, you will always seek it, and be dissatisfied and completely and utterly restless until you finally chase after it.

So here I am, crossing over the threshold of another new year and wondering what to do. One thing’s for sure, my priority list is much different than it ever has been, and that is going to make for an interesting 12-month adventure.

Happy 2015, everyone! After a few lost years, I have resolved to get back to living wide. How about you?

The Sun Will Rise

I warned you all. Kelly Clarkson is up next for the Soundtrack for Successful Failure. Again a case of right life space, right song. I won’t go into the details, but let’s just say “The Sun Will Rise,” from Clarkson’s album “Stronger,” came along at a time when I needed the reminder that, inevitably, the sun will, in fact, rise.

Every new day has a dawn. At some point, we’ve all lost our light, but, eventually, it will be alright.

Let’s not mistake, my life isn’t filled with unending trials. In fact, at the moment, it’s pretty good. But, we all go through dark periods. Those moments where we don’t feel like the veil will ever lift. That we’re in a desolate winter in desperate need of a little sunshine.

That’s what “The Sun Will Rise” means to me. Another day, another chance, another moment. To what? To prove you’ve got this. Whatever it is, you’ve got this because you’re shining light when others want to be a dark cloud.

We Come Running

Not to try to ratchet up my cool quotient, but I’d heard of Youngblood Hawke long before the American Idol commercials from this most recent season.

First, it’s a very irreverent song. You can’t help to bop to the beat. But, it truly were the lyrics that struck me when I first heard this song. Lyrics like, “Headed for the open door, Tell me what you’re waiting for, Look across the great divide, Soon they’re gunna hear, The sound, the sound, the sound, When we come running.”

When I hear these lyrics I think of someone running free. Being completely unencumbered in their experience. I picture a person sprinting with their arms stretched to the sky, with a huge smile plastered on their face, thinking of nothing but release and possibility.

Pre-living wide, I used to hang on to a lot of things with an unflinchingly tight grip. Things that I should have released to God, the universe, just in general. I never felt free to completely let go. To be carefree. What I love about this song is that it reminds me to be irreverent. Why should we feel laced up or tied down by expectations? Why shouldn’t we shatter through these things at a full-tilt run, like football players busting through a paper banner just before game time?

Take that visual with you when an obstacle seems a little to hard.

For the First Time

Matt Wertz crossed my path a few years ago. I knew that a friend was attending his concert, and always eager to learn more about new music, I looked him up. I liked his style. He was good, I had to admit, but it wasn’t until his most recent album “Weights & Wings” that I truly appreciated his songwriting.

His song, “For the First Time” is very special to me.

I first hear this song when I was contemplating starting a blog. I’d been thinking about the vision I had regarding my life for a long time, and then the turning point happened.

His lyric, “For the first time, I finally realized, I’m what’s in the way,” really struck me. I came to the hard conclusion that I was what was in my own way. In terms of being happy, of moving on, of living wide, I was what was in my way.

I think in a lot of ways, we all get in our own way. We let obstacles seem too big. We let dreams seem to unattainable. We believe there are limits. But really, aren’t those limits all in our own heads? Aren’t we really what is in the way?

So, riddle me this, how can you get out of your own way in terms of living wide?

The Long Way Around

I grew up in a small southern town. Most of my friends still live close to where we grew up, and though I applaud their decisions, sticking close to home was never for me.

Because of my dad’s job, I lived the first decade of my life as a bit of a gypsy. We moved cities five times before I was six, if that gives you any indication. But we finally landed in a small Georgia town for most of my formative years. It taught me a lot. A lot about what I wanted and what I didn’t from my life

In many ways, the Dixie Chicks really speak to me because of my life experiences. I got a great, tight-knit foundation with growing up in the South, but I also couldn’t, and shouldn’t deny my wanderlust. “Taking the Long Way,” really speaks to my living wide journey. It shows deep, solid roots, but an appreciation for wanting a little more. To explore the horizon without apology.

Guess that’s my lot in life.