With the new year upon us, it's time to thoughtfully look back and reflect on what was good, and not so good, about the past year. It is the perfect opportunity to be honest with ourselves and to set some intentions for the future. I believe that when we are mindful and set achievable goals for ourselves, we take control of our lives and are better able to choose what happens to us vs. simply reacting to and accepting what comes at as us as we aimlessly journey through the motions of our day-to-day, week-to-week, and year-to-year. I believe this because I'm a proactive person vs. a reactive one.
This past year for me was legen-wait for it-dary. (HIMYM reference if you're not familiar with the beauty that is Barney Stinson.) This year was the first year I felt like I was a grown woman, not just a kid in adult clothing pretending I knew what I was doing. I accepted my fate as an adult. And it has improved me as a person in ways I can't describe in one blog post. The things I used to do that felt exhausting, boring, pointless (usually for selfish reasons), no longer feel that way. I put my big girl panties on in the morning and Get. Shit. Done.
In that same breath - as powerful as it feels to say and know that I "Get. Shit. Done." - I still make mistakes. I've made more mistakes this year being a bold, grown ass woman than I have in years past. It's because I've said "yes" more, it's because I've made decisions and moved forward when maybe it wasn't the best decision at that time, it's because I've stepped up instead of backing down, and it's also because I've felt that even if I made a mistake - I could handle it.
As you get older, and if you are an optimist (that's a very important piece), mistakes start to look less like irreversible errors that will destroy everyone's perception of you, your personal life, your professional life, and maybe your entire life in general. (Yeah, mistakes used to make me feel that way sometimes, OK?) But it's when you change your perception of mistakes that you start to get into the good stuff of being an adult who is (I hope) working to be better and wiser than you were yesterday.
I choose to see mistakes as me being a human being, a way to learn, an opportunity for process improvement, for personal growth. I've rarely ever made a mistake that I didn't learn something from that either helped me or another person via advice I'm able to give.
Mistakes are powerful. They have such a bad reputation, but they can truly be gifts in disguise. This is a message we can all carry into the New Year. My personal resolution is to be kind to myself. To keep looking at mistakes as challenging, learning experiences that are needed to grow into the person I am working to become.
I wish you all of the best in the New Year. I hope you set intentions that excite you - so much you make them happen. Let go of people and things that no longer serve YOU (it's your life after all), surround yourself with people and things (more people, less things) that feed your soul, and remember that each and every day - you can start over. If you're blessed enough to wake up in the morning - you have the priceless ability to start anew Every. Single. Day.
I couldn't be more proud. My younger sister recently graduated with her Master's Degree in Communications from the University of Northern Iowa. She worked very, very hard (more than I'll ever know) to achieve this goal.
As I watched her receive her diploma, observed her celebrating with our family and friends, and hugged her good bye before going home, my heart felt so full. What an amazing woman she has become. She is so full of love, happiness, and smiles. She is a gift to all who are privileged enough to know her.
And how lucky am I to have her as my one and only sister? Before my parents dropped me off at home after her celebration, I thanked them for giving me my sister. More than once I've wondered what my life would be like without her. She is my best friend, someone that will always be there for me, that I'll continue to learn from, and absolutely admire for all she is accomplished and all that she is. I couldn't do without her and that is the honest truth.
I can't wait to see what the future holds for her. Whatever it is, I know it is BRIGHT and she deserves every joyous moment. She'll do things I won't do, I'll do things she won't do, but at the end of the day, we'll have each other to share our stories with.
As you can tell, we were excited about my sister's graduation! My mom, sister, and myself are all proud graduates of UNI. Go Panthers!
I am my father's daughter
The lyrics above are from a song by Jewel. No judgement, please - when lyrics speak to me, they speak to me. I am a sucker for songs about father and daughter relationships. I've been lucky enough to have always had a special relationship with my dad. I can picture he and I in songs just like this one. I can never get through a song like this without shedding at least one tear, and thinking fondly about how fortunate I am to have a dad that loves, supports, and cherishes me.
The specific portion of this lyric that really spoke to me is this: "I am the accumulation of the dreams of generations; And their stories live in me like holy water." Wow. Yes. Exactly.
My parents have dreams. For themselves, for my sister and I. Before them, their parents, their parents' parents, had dreams. In our families, I assume that the dreams within each generation revolved around making a better life for their kids, their grandkids, their great grandkids.
You want to know why I assume that? Because of the stories my family tells me. Because of the life I have now. Joel and I wouldn't be where we are without our families and all they've both sacrificed and dreamed for us over the years.
But most of all - I assume our families have always had dreams that involved the betterment and well-being of their families because we're surrounded by really happy, loving, and amazing people. The only way that happens is when generation after generation passes those values down. It's up to us to hold these values close for passing down to those that come after us.
Give your father a squeeze. And your mother, aunts and uncles, grandparents, great grandparents. Reflect on the generations that came before you and that surround you. The dreamers. The dreamers that had big hopes for you before they even knew you'd exist. You have them to thank for helping you become the person you are today.
Thank you for visiting my blog! With this first post so begins documentation of my life as a reborn country girl.
My parents raised my sister and I on a wonderful plot of land in the country. When I left the nest, I lived in various cities (large towns is a better term) surrounding my childhood home. In high school, I expressed desires of wanting to live in New York City. I never made it out of Iowa (aside from traveling), but as I've grown, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
As I got older, began seeking and practicing natural paths to solitude, and as talk of having children became more frequent, the country was calling.
My husband and I will be moving onto a two acre piece of land a few houses down from my childhood home in the country and we couldn't be happier. There is such comfort that comes with this decision, including:
I'm bringing the big city to the even bigger Iowa countryside. On our property, current day trends will collide with everything that is good, tried, and true about simple, country living.