Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Out with the Old

It’s practically become tradition to spend this time of year traveling to a post-season bowl game. So here I am, doing exactly what I do every year: sitting on a charter bus, chewing on a pen, scribbling pieces of the year behind on a notepad as I look to the year ahead. It’s the most wonderful time of the year - I forget how much I treasure this time.

2012 has been a whirlwind and a roller coaster. When things were good they were great, but when they were bad, they were ugly. 2012 was tragic and triumphant, discouraging yet enlightening, stressful but balanced, and hopelessly hopeful – it was full of possibility but strategically riddled with trap doors.

I talked this time last year about how I longed to find a fine balance between what I thought I needed and the things that really matter. I always find checkpoints throughout the year, but none better than the transition from the end of one year to the beginning of the next. It was the time in between all of the ups and downs that I learned my most important lessons.

I have learned a lot about the world. I’ve learned the importance of being an informed citizen in a country where we’re allowed to have an opinion.  We take a lot for granted here in America. We are luckier than we think we are to call this fiscal cliff dwelling nation home. Our “problems” might not seem so great if we spent more time looking at the big picture. I have learned that if you go through your like a tadpole in a well, your world will shrink… rapidly. Perspective is key – if you don’t have a good view, it’s important to consider changing your vantage point.

I have learned a lot about people. Everyone has a good side, but it isn’t always their first side – you have to be willing to give them the time to prove it to you.

I have learned a lot about myself… and some of those realizations have been difficult. I have learned that it is important to love your family – even if you don’t always like them. I have learned that life-support is much more than a machine in a hospital room. You never know what other people are walking around carrying – so for the sake of everyone, assume their load is twice as heavy as your own.

I have learned that if you truly reflect on your experiences and take the lessons that life offers you along the way they’ll become an encyclopedia of how to help others. Ruin is the road to transformation – keep your eyes wide and your mind open.

We make a conscious choice every day to either embrace or deflect love… and when we deflect it because of the packaging we become a product of our own poison. We live in a world full of poison – it is us to us to create and employ the filter necessary to ensure that we make it through our days with the least amount of brain washing possible.

There are a lot of parts of 2012 I would love to re-visit, but just as many I’d rather not. I am starting to recognize that as pattern.

So for 2013, I hope you have the opportunity to change the world by starting with your own. I hope you have the opportunity to be the light to others that they are to you. I hope that you have the chance to learn from the best and worst of every experience you encounter. I hope you’ll remember that roadblocks are only temporary and that brick walls are there to give you a chance to prove how badly you want something. I hope you’ll take the road less traveled because you can, not because you have to – and I hope you find, as I have, that the difference is always worth going the long way. I hope you find wonder in simple things and simplicity in the chaos of this world. I hope that you take every opportunity to expand your mind, treat others with compassion, and explore open doors with bright eyes and a hopeful heart.

And I hope, that at every turn, I recognize, treasure, and graciously accept every opportunity I have to do the very same things.

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