I was scrolling Facebook a little earlier today and a friend posted a list of 5 things that he's leaving in 2021. It got me thinking, thinking turns to writing so, here we are. Every year many of us decide to do life differently in the upcoming year. But here's the catch, you put a lot of pressure on yourself magically waiting for the clock to strike 12 on January 1st. As I posted my own 5 things to the list, it dawned on me that 5 things that I decided to "leave in 2021" realistically are not going to be gone when the clock strikes ... However, because I've been working on them I know they aren't going for the ride of 2022.
I tend to look it at all like bus stops. The 5 things will definitely get on the bus with me going into 2022 but they have stopping points. Making the declaration is what sets your mind in motion to be able to do things differently. More than that, lists are great but steps on how to implement said lists are even better.
For the last few years, I have lived in "survival mode." A June 2020 article posted to Psychology Today defines survival mode as a set of adaptive physiological changes in our body that help us respond to the stressors that we are faced with. A sequence of things go on in your body and your mind that will cause you to fight, flight, or freeze. I've done all 3 but I frequent between fight or flight often. Either I'm going to take it head-on or I'm going to decide that it doesn't exist and is not worth my time, so I don't expend it there. While both have always been a natural part of my personality, the difference between the rest of my life and the last 5 years, (at minimum), is that EVERYTHING fell into one of these categories and instead of being put in appropriate perspectives. As I took a good look at my list of 5 things to "leave" in 2021, I realized they were the steps to permanently move me out of survival mode.
Stop doubting myself. - This one is a mindset shift and it's been a work in progress for the last few years if I'm honest. I had to make the decision to be confident with what I know, what I know hear, what I see, and what I feel. After years of gaslighting, it was difficult to hear and trust me because I was constantly being told that everything I saw, felt, and knew were wrong. This one has to go first. As long it remains the others will stay.
Goodbye to not prioritizing myself. - Realistically this is like 1b. I spent soo much time dealing with everybody else's stuff that I often had no bandwidth to deal with my own. And this is where things started taking flight. I fought for everybody else, but for me, I became an avoidant. I might acknowledge things but I rarely did I deal with them. It wasn't just big things - it trickled into small ones, getting my hair done, going shopping for myself, finding time in a day to spend with just me, taking a bubble bath. It just seemed I could never get time to do for myself. Realizing it wasn't going to be given to me, I started taking it.
Clearing the clutter, no more hoarding. - Now I was nowhere near as extreme as those people who end up on the show but I managed to have a lot of stuff. My stuff was always taken, used, abused, not taken care of properly, and ultimately. Being a teacher, we just have stuff because we're always trying to keep a well-stocked classroom. I had the same issue at home as I did in my classroom - lack of resources and no support. So when I saw things I needed and I figured out how to get them, I often got things in excess, not to mention depression shopping, and purchases made trying to support other people. As a result, I have a large pickup for the Red Cross next week, as I have at other points throughout this year and I'm planning a quarterly cleanout.
Continue making steps in better financial stewardship and management. - When you find yourself in constant situations where every financial decision becomes a major life decision, it's hard to plan well. It has never ceased to amaze me that in my 20's, I lived well off of an unemployment check. I would always say, "I paid all my bills and still have money left to buy shoes!" Yet having access to way more than that, I couldn't effectively save and do the things I needed to do because I was always operating from this weird deficit and perceived state of emergency. If 2021 taught me nothing else, I learned great lessons regarding financial management (testimony loading ... stay tuned!)
No more being a tow truck. - Every relationship you encounter is a reason, season, or a lifetime. Our problem is that we throw everybody into the lifetime category and they're not. As we move through life, we continue to drag people with us that shouldn't be to put it as nice as I can. The reality is that wherever my next takes me, everybody can't go. And what I am not going to continue to do is drag or tow anyone along with me. It's not dependent on the length of time known, not respective of situation, and not even a matter of relationship. If you chose to journey on with me then it will happen how it's supposed to. If you decide not to, no love lost, I'll catch you on the hi and bye, wave to you by social media.
Are any of these easy? No. This is real life, not a Staples commercial. It requires prayer and intentional activities. It's not an overnight celebrity story. Regardless of what your 5 things are, as you declare that they're not going with you, also take some time to think about how to make that happen. Give yourself grace, space, and time to move them along. Progress is the goal, not domination. Pace yourself and have a wonderful end to 2021 and a prosperous 2022.