I posted this quote on my Instagram almost two years ago, at the start of 2016. 2015 had been a very rough year for me, the latest in a string of ups and downs that had left me physically and emotionally battered. I was extremely unhappy with my life but with the start of a new year, I was determined to change everything for the better. I had big plans for new beginnings in my career, my relationships, and my fitness goals. 2016 was going to be my year. I was going to OWN THIS!
Boy, was I in for a rude shock.
2016 turned out to be the year my life fell apart in every way. None of it was truly sudden; looking back with honesty, everything that happened was a long time in coming and some of it was much needed. But it didn’t feel like it at the time. By the end of the year I was absolutely miserable in my job, I was broke, my house was flooded, my marriage had dissolved, and one of my best friends was no longer speaking to me. Stress was making it difficult to stay healthy and so I pretty much felt like garbage 24/7. I thought I had had some all-time lows before, but this was the worst. For the first time in my adult life I didn’t even decorate for Christmas. As the year ended and 2017 rolled around, the last thing I felt like doing was posting positive quotes; I had been dealt so many blows at once that I didn’t see how I was supposed to put my life back together and get to a better place, and I was too overwhelmed to even think positively.
But as they say, sometimes things have to fall apart before they can fall into place. As painful as that year was, it forced me out of my comfort zone and away from things that were ultimately holding me back. Being broke forced me to start being more proactive about financial planning. Leaving my house made me realize it was time to get serious about the possibility of owning a home instead of bouncing from one mediocre rental to the next. I realized that sometimes losing people you care for is a good thing if they bring toxicity into your life. And for the first time in my adult life I stopped punishing my body and trying to care for it instead.
My life now looks so radically different from the start of 2017, it’s hard to believe it’s even the same life, much less that not even a year has passed. I’ve said goodbye to so many old things and embraced so many new beginnings. I became a homeowner this year, and aside from the home loan, I’m nearly debt-free and have great credit to boot. I’ve made new friends and strengthened other relationships and I just feel so much love and warmth from those people. Although I’m not in the best physical shape of my life, I have a much healthier relationship with my body that I ever did in my early twenties.
And today, I’m embracing yet another new thing: a new job. For a long time I was so mired in anxiety about trying something new that I was scared to make the leap to a new job. But this month an opportunity came along that was just too good to pass up, so I had to quiet my fears and jump feet-first into a new role. Am I scared? Hell yes! I’m walking away from working with a team I’ve known and worked alongside for ten years, for a new job and new teammates and new routines, for the first time in my adult life. I think it’d be unnatural to not have the jitters! But I don’t feel any nervousness about making that change and wondering if it’s the right move. I know it is, and I know that whatever challenges I might face, I have the confidence and experience to navigate them all.
It isn’t that change isn’t painful or scary, because it often is. Nor is it that change is easy (especially if, like me, you have well-marked comfort zones). But saying goodbye to things that no longer serve you well and embracing new beginnings can lead to beautiful results that would never have been possible otherwise. I look back now to all the things that I was afraid to let go of and all of the things I was afraid to embrace, and it all seems like something out of my wildest dreams. The things I wanted for so long are finally mine, not out of sheer luck but because I finally laced up my boots and made some hard decisions. This past year has made me so much more confident and open in my life, and I’m seeing over and over again the rewards of those attitudes.
If you’re going through a time of change, or trying to push yourself out of your comfort zone to try something new: be bold! You can’t make changes for the better in your life without, well, making changes. And as hard as they may be, when you look back, I think you’ll realize it was so worth it. I know I do.
Here’s to new beginnings, and to all of the opportunities we find in life. May you chase after them with confidence and be blessed beyond your wildest dreams!
(Going to be adding this to the #SaturdayShareLinkUp from Not Dressed As Lamb–go check out her blog, it’s really lovely!)