12/29 Best of 2017!

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This was a pivotal year for me in many ways. Things changed at an impressive rate and there wasn’t always time to catch my breath. Before I knew it my newsletter hadn’t been sent out for a while. But as I write this I realized how much I missed this exercise. I am still proud that I sent out more than 25 newsletter this year! I hope you enjoyed them as much I did. 

Josh and I have spent the last few days reflecting on 2017. We do this a lot alone and as a couple but this year has been especially eventful and new for us so there’s lots to discuss and think about. This year we also reached 5 years of being together and got married. These milestones have inevitably created a chance for us to reflect on our patterns as a couple and as individuals.

Separately, I wrote down things I failed at that this year. Tonight, I will write down my wins too of course. There are also lessons that I am currently processing that I know will have a lasting impact in how I handle the future. Here are a few of those lessons: 

  1. Failure is Inevitable: Oh damn, totally feeling this one. My list of failures was pretty lengthy. That also means I tried a bunch of new stuff too and so we will take all those lessons into 2018. Which brings me to my next point.

  2. If Things Don’t Work, They Don’t Work So Stop Trying So Hard: I am adjusting to the process of not always “striving” for things and letting things flow to me. You know that feeling when you are forcing to do something? Make a relationship/job work? Striving to obtain something? It’s not a nice feeling isn’t it? What if instead you let that go and just went with the flow with what feels better and more natural? As i’ve embraced that things have become easier. There is a concept of swimming against the current that I am trying to avoid as it is too emotionally taxing to be in the mindset all the time.

  3. It’s The Things You Can’t Prepare For That Will Hit You The Hardest: Don’t even stress about the unknowns because in time life has a way of unfolding. Last year, we had been told that our son had a speech delay then this year we were told by two different providers he met the criteria for autism spectrum? What does mean? First it meant, plunging into yet another unknown. Indeed, a fear of an uncertain future can make news of this sort much harder to process. The reality is that no one knows what the future holds for their children but we like to think we control more than we actually do. I live in the now and work hard everyday to be the parent and guide he needs. I also see that he is much more than any diagnosis could ever tell us. But a diagnosis meant he qualified for services that have helped him communicate better and it also meant thinking of a future where he will need continued services that impact our time and our finances. This occurred after we had signed and committed to a wedding venue, and made non-refundable deposits with vendors. As some of you might now, being self-employed can often mean that your income can be unpredictable and so we found ourselves in a seemingly stressful situation.

  4. Know Thyself: When things get unpredictable it's also important to understand when you need support. I took meditating, exercise, and personal development much more seriously than I ever have this year and it has been a great experience. I'm putting together a piece about all that. I still found myself having a difficult times with the sudden changes in how I work and live so I had to take on some additional steps which include regular therapy.

  5. In the meantime, There’s Beauty In the Breakdown: This was also the year I was surprised with the most heartfelt proposal and a wedding that I could have only dreamed of years earlier. I shared about the wedding here and here. I learned to let myself enjoy that process, the actual day and set good intentions for our celebration despite the fact that there was things to worry about in other areas. It was one of the best days of my life and i’m so glad I got to experience being a bride, and having a celebration of love. I think this was possible because I had acquired a new set of tools to deal and manage stress.

  6. Never Stop Challenging Yourself: I walked on fire this year at a Tony Robbins event. The exhilaration I found in taking on something that I was quite fearful of is hard to put into words. It reminded me that we need to do things like that every so often so that we can be shifted out of our usual comfort and so we can stretch the limits of who we think we are. I also asked the universe to tell me what my purpose is, where can I best be of service and I have received and heard answers that have surprised me. We have to be open to the ever expanding consciousness of our own existence.

I also did SO much reading this year. I wish I had time to compile everything but here are the things I read that I am still thinking about weeks or months after I first read them. I shared a few things below. If you want to see more you can also peruse the previous versions of my newsletter or my previous podcast episodes.

In the new year, I wish that you embrace the spirit of newness that can make life much more palatable. If we can appreciate the struggle, the journey, and the process it can make us feel less like victims of our circumstances and more like students on a path to higher knowledge and awareness. If we can find peace within ourselves even when we are new at things and it seems scary we can turn life into a bigger adventure. That is what I wish to cultivate in myself in this new year.

Thank you for being with me on the journey and for all of your support! 

Favorite Things I Read This WeekHow White Women Benefit from White Supremacy: Yes, we all think we aren’t racist but we all benefit from a system of colorism, and class. Unlearning the Myth of American Innocence: A woman moves to Istanbul only to realize that Americans have been living in denial for a long time. What Made Maddy Run: A Young Woman Commits Suicide and in the aftermath friends and family realize she was suffering on the inside. A call to action about how young people feel pressured to achieve and present a perfect image of themselves.

Favorite Things I Wrote This Year: How to Tackle New Things: My reflections at 6 months of self employment .What Depression Means When You Are the Child of Immigrants: A piece that was hard to write and process but hopefully it helps someone else.

Favorite Books: Hourglass by Dani Shapiro. Beautiful mosaic of a marriage of equals written by a memorist and acclaimed writer. Short, easy to read and beautiful prose. Heartfelt from start to finish. It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle; Eye opening and a little scary at times. But overall a good thing to explore. On Tyranny: 20 Lessons from the 20th Century: Easy but important read for these times. Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introverts Guide to Getting Out There: Good tips for everyone! 

Best Television: Handmaid’s Tale: A interesting tale of a dystopia that seems fully possible some days. Joan Didion:The Center Will Not Hold. This year, I’ve enjoyed inviting reflections of people who have had a full, long life to help me better understand the ups and downs of my own life.The Crown: Power, Family, Duty are my mantras for 2018. Where To Invade Next: This is from 2015 but I saw this year and it is revealing, and a must see to understand the changes we need to make in our country.