It's about that time, right about now, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I find myself saying with added emphasis, "I can't believe it's December already!" "I can't believe it's middle of December already!" "I can't believe 2016 is right around the corner."
And that's always been followed by a raise of the eyebrows and shake of the head while saying "It's been one helluva year."
2015 was no exception. I'd even venture to say that 2015 was epic. Epic I tell you.
When I think back to December 2014, a full 12 months ago, it blows my mind as to who I am today and how the year has shaped me.
The growth I can see and feel over the past 12 years amazes me and humbles me, all at the same time.
2015 was my best year yet. (And the best is yet to come.)
It's a year in which I felt alive again for the first time in ages. It's a year in which I did a lot of things outside my comfort zone. It's a year in which there was a lot of heartache and tears.
It's a year in which I decided to open my heart to love again. It's a year in which I went to bed many a night with my heart overflowing with gratitude and my soul, nourished beyond my wildest of dreams.
It's a year in which there was a beautiful balance and harmony of new faces with a strong presence of dear, cherished lifelong friends. It's a year in which I moved into my own place for the first time in 11 years (!!!)
It's a year in which my finances truly started to come together and move in the right direction. It's a year in which I ran fast. It's a year in which I picked up a new sport. It's a year in which I felt physically strong.
The other night after the most fabulous of epsom salt baths, it hit me as to how this all happened. I didn't orchestra it as such, but I did focus on a few things over the course of the year - super small, micro-habits and practices.
And talk about being a sum of our parts!
Thinking of one good habit I've created or maintained this year led to recalling another and another. Soon I was grabbing a pen and paper so as to not forget any of them (I mean this is some good stuff here folks.)
Sharing them with you seems like an appropriate way to wrap up the year and perhaps give you inspiration to springboard into 2016. Or if nothing else, get a personal look inside my life and how I do what I do. (Think of it like looking into my virtual personal medicine cabinet.)
Early morning wakeups
I wake up at 5am every single morning. Mornings and I have gotten along really well for years but I can't recall when I just committed to a daily 5am alarm. I totally get that if you're not a morning person, it's the craziest idea to you. But what I've found is that once I committed to it and did it, it got easier every week. And now my body clock just wakes me up. There is nothing more precious to me than being up early, before the world is awake.
- Didn't let excuses get in the way
It's easy as pie to make excuses for everything - from why you can't get up early, workout, cook a meal, read a book, take 15 mins to sit and be still or hold the door for a stranger. Without intending to, I decided to be stronger than my excuses this year. Here's what you do : Acknowledge the excuse as it comes up and then tell it that you aren't going to listen to it. (Yup, I'm telling you to talk to yourself.)
I've died and gone to heaven in my new apartment. I've got the library on one corner, a grocery store across the street and the bike path 20 feet away (I don't know what will make me move away.....) I haul books out of the library a couple times a week and my happy place (besides running), is to be curled up with my nose in a book. It's a way to be off the computer, to learn, discover, voyage and turn my brain off. I've always been a huge bookwork and it re-centers me.
Can't believe I'm saying this, but I've been consistently meditating 5-6x/week since July. No, I'm not sitting with my legs crossed, chanting and burning incense (although I would understand if you thought that. I am in Boulder after all) I sit or lay in my bed, or sit on a pillow on the floor - usually there's a guided meditation leading me thru a 15 or so minute meditation. (Don't tell anyone I said but I find myself craving it. When my days are full and loaded with (too much) screen time, I realize that I look longingly at the area where I sit and just crave the stillness.) It's become a time to hit pause on life and just be.
- Set bedtime
Probably not a surprise to discover, but I'm a girl of routine. And I try and go to bed around the same time every night. You will rarely see me up past 10:00 (if that!) I love crawling into bed with a book around 9pm. And as soon as I go horizontal, I'm out in about 90 seconds. I've come to learn and appreciate that sleep truly trumps all other health habits.
- Drink water
That's about 80% of what I drink every day. Some days it's seltzer water, but I'm guzzling water all day long. And I notice it when I don't drink enough. (Yay altitude.) I don't drink alcohol and I rarely consume caffeine. I'm always and only ever topping up my water bottle.
As I alluded to, it's been a helluva year. And I've found a fabulous tool to deal with my emotions when I'm in a tough spot. This also works when things are amazing - grab a pen and paper and write down what you're feeling. In 2014, I journaled every single day. Not this year. This year I'm a lot more free thinking with my journal. I write words that come to me. Emotions that I'm feeling as I try to dissect why and how to move through them. 5-6 mornings a week I do morning pages which is just stream of consciousness writing. Or I do visualization exercises. But I write a lot a lot and it's been very therapeutic.
- Create space to just be
With my iphone as another appendage to my body and my body twitching if I'm not near wifi (don't judge - the same thing happens to you), it's really hard to just be. There's always an urge to thumb casually through Instagram, look at Facebook, check email. And by "there's always an urge", I mean it's really fucking hard to just sit and be. I think my nest, my home, my apartment has the perfect amount of zen for just being as I'm finding it easier now than ever before. And I'm embracing the silence.
- Cut out gossip and negativity
I used to say that I didn't watch the news because I didn't have a TV (which was true 'cuz it's hard to watch news without the TV...) but I would always read the headlines online. Now I barely do that. I don't feel misinformed - I still get my news but I choose outlets, or times when I can deal with things not being right in the world. Or I read positive worldly news (yes, it's happening.) I steer clear of conversations where people are pissed off. I relocate when the homeless guy next to me at the library starts loudly cursing the computer. I've stopped reading supermarket tabloids when in line at the self-serve checkout. No more celebrity news when I need a break from work. I don't need any of that meaningless gossip in my life that doesn't serve me at all. I also don't have any negative nellies in my life.
- I've embraced intention
Up until this year, I've just gone with the flow. Done what the majority wanted to do if that made me happy as well. Never really had a plan. Never really thought a lot about how, when and why to interact with someone. With men, I've never pursued a guy and generally have done more or less what they want to do. It's mostly worked out and I never really wanted to go against the grain of a crowd because I'm a people pleaser. I generally assume when I meet someone that I will like them and things will be great (until proven otherwise.) But enough of that shit! (Just kidding I still care.. a bit.) I've put a lot more....no, just simple thought into what I want. I internally check-in and make sure I'm doing what I want. And what's happening works for me. I worry less about upsetting people and think more about pleasing myself. It's paying off.
- Say I love you a lot more.
I'm fairly certain this one is self explanatory. I say it to my friends, my family, the TSA worker, my taxi driver, the person at the supermarket who fixes my self - serve checkout thingy when it starts beeping at me. Who doesn't need more love?
- Meal plan
God, this is a life saver. Everyone who does it, knows this to be true and everyone who doesn't do this, knows they should be doing it. Knowing what I'm going to eat and when, saves me so much stress. It ensures that even in the craziest, the wildest of days and weeks, I'm nourishing myself with good food. If you aren't doing it, get your act together.
- Cut out grains
This started as an experiment back in August when I read "Grain Brain" and decided to play around with my diet in the name of brain health. I cut out grains - mostly brown rice and all it's variations (Am I the only one who loved rice cakes?!) Honestly, I did it for kicks and woah nelly. Right away I noticed an alertness in my brain and mental acuity. I'm never sleepy. I lost a couple pounds of stomach bloat. Needless to say, I haven't gone back to 24/7 grains.. The few times I have had a bagel or bread, I immediately noticed how zombie tired I became. I'm not a stickler about it but I make the choice not to have grains whenever possible.
- Less sharing
Full disclosure - yes, I'm on Instagram and Facebook and I share things that I'm up to over there (and I keep this website, so there's that.) What I mean here is that I've taken to sharing less about my personal life with friends. I made the intentional choice to keep things close to my chest. I used to be someone who would communicate 24/7 with my friends and we all knew what everyone was up to all the time. The past few months, I've intentionally (there's that word again) been reaching less to text someone about an amazing breakfast I just made or how insanely windy it is in Boulder (40 MPH this morning.) I do it, just not as much. I'm keeping more personal things personal. In fact, a number of my friends don't even know that I've been seeing this guy for a month or so. Who knows what will become of it, but I've been averse to sharing the details about him.
- Embody daily luxury
You say luxury and I say private jet. You say luxury and I say silk sheets. You say luxury and I say villa over the ocean in the Maldives with fresh fruit for breakfast. For the longest time, luxurious things seemed unattainable or so far off in the future. A good friend of mine Thea, has taught me to embrace daily luxury and why not? So for me that means I always have fresh flowers in my house. Fresh flowers seemed like a simple luxury that I could attain and have right now. So I do. And they are worth every penny.
- Seeing friends
It's been a total delight to see some of my favorite people up close and in the flesh this year, including some people I haven't seen in 6-10+ years, as well as family from England. Nothing nourishes my soul more than quality time with my iphone favorites (that's why they are a favorite right?!) And for those that I didn't get to see, somehow moving to Boulder brought us closer and I've been more in touch with them than ever before. I've had more Facetime dates with friends, their kids whom I want to steal, family, my 4 year old god son who is entertaining as well as childhood friends.
And for all the things that went well this year, here's more of what I'm manifesting in 2016.
Hugs. Love. Money.
As I alluded to, it's been a helluva year. Watch out 2016, I'm coming for ya!