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?

Things Fall Apart

Confession time: I have not made living wide a priority. Not just the blog, though I’m sure y’all can tell by the lack of posts, but actually living wide in my day-to-day life. The reason… things fall apart. The rub of things falling apart is that it is in those moments that I should be leaning harder into the concept of living wide. I should invite change into my situation; I shouldn’t cocoon in and make myself really small just to weather the hard knocks. I shouldn’t be self-preserving and simply exist, I should be finding a way to rip open the horizon and charge toward it. But, I haven’t.

Let me explain. Right now, my life is hard. It’s hard to get up in the morning. It’s hard to focus. It’s hard to keep going. It’s hard to remember that things will work out. It’s hard to see the glass as half full. It’s hard to fail. It’s hard to not see everything as so hard.

Now, before you say, “You think your life is hard? Let me give you some perspective on what is really hard,” trust me when I say, I recognize that to 99% of the world, my problems are trivial; first world ramblings full of petty concerns. And they’d absolutely be right. There are people in my own backyard and around the world that have it far worse than I. But, a wise person once said to me, DO NOT diminish your feelings. Your feelings are your feelings. Allow yourself to feel them, and don’t talk yourself out of how you feel simply because there’s someone out there that is worse off than you.

In walking through these fallen days, I knew there had to be a lesson somewhere. It was all I had to cling to at times, how could this help me live wide? That’s when I realized, I already was. In watching an interview with Cheryl Strayed, author of “Wild,” which I have yet to read, she talked about how not all experiences in life are good or easy, but they will teach you something. And more than that, they’ll help shape you into the person you’re meant to be for whatever life has next for you.

Not that I in any way compare myself to Moses, but it is true that sometimes you have to wander. Sometimes, you know there is a promise land, but right now, you’re not deserving of it. And sometimes, you have to keep wandering knowing that your destination is purely guided by faith; faith that wavers, faith that questions, and faith, that no matter what, will always be there.

So, even though things fell apart, are hard and have left me to wander, if I can, at the very least, draw strength from the fact that there is a lesson in every situation, and what it has to teach me has the potential to urge me on toward living wide, well then, at least I’ve got that.