I imagine the picture of my life in 2017 looks a bit like a crop circle. I remain a bit hazy on the larger meaning, or if the events within served a purpose or destination. Similarly I don’t disagree that it was good or bad, but certainly confusing. There were moments and momentum built into arcs of absolute perfection. Then, there were feelings and fears haunting the corners of what used to be open fields of clear view. I’m on the ground still navigating the corners in these early months of 2018. This time I’m trying to approach them with a calm and intention, where before I spent months stressing to figure out what it all meant. In 2018, I resolved to change. Unlike other resolutions, this one is abstract. In 2018, I resolve to surrender.
"The 2018 resolution - more than anything else - is to take chances and push myself, but to do so in a process-oriented, journey-loving kind of way. It’s to remember the individual moments and experiences which will tattoo themselves on my heart and my aura as I seek my new goals. I resolve to continue to challenge myself. I resolve to remember each of the previous statements if in taking this year’s risk, my rocket ship needs to take a stop for maintenance before reaching its final destination."
What do I mean? I guess the imagery is something like when you return home after a long day, a long trip, or a particularly unsettling event. You go to your backyard, lay down in the grass and see the beauty in the detail: Thousands of blades, all with a nostalgic smell, and carrying hundreds of organisms through a shared space. You take the moment to understand that from a distance the green carpet is just a component of your cozy yard, but up close it’s not your space at all. You’re just a part of the larger picture and - in that moment - you surrender to whatever the higher force is that’s guiding your path. You surrender to the momentum which fuels your courage in the moments you don’t think about it, dictates your speed, the stops, and the own dialogue of the journey when you feel as if you act outside of yourself but also act as your most true self.
Throughout all of 2017, in my search for understanding I forgot that depth can only be achieved by succumbing to the details of the unknown plan. Never before had I been so obsessed with feeling or knowing certain things before the world had been ready to unveil them. Tipping a hat to many of my unmentioned discredits, one sure-fire thing I used to credit to my persona was the ability to ultimately release to the larger plan.
That isn’t to say 2017 didn’t bring incredible things, or that incredible things won’t happen as the result of goal-oriented hard work and dedication. 2017 was a year of great change. In the beginning of the year, I set goals to find a new and better job, to start a new chapter with the boy I love, and on the fitness front to run a sub-4 marathon.
And - incredibly! - each of those things happened. This should have been reassurance (and maybe, to an extent, it was) that the ceiling is infinite. This should have allowed me to be comforted in the process of goal setting, followed by working hard to achieve them.
Instead, in my previous admission to control-freaking a majority of the process, I forgot to enjoy the journey. I got bogged down in detailed to-do lists, and didn’t take time to enjoy moments of great change. I didn’t allow myself to surrender to the larger force driving and fueling my small journey in the bigger picture of life and universe. Examples of this are unfortunately abundant. I had a killer training season. But at practice all I could find myself thinking about was “get the practice done, take the photo for instagram, get home so you can go to bed and sleep enough before yoga in the morning.” BUZZZZ KILLLLL.
In a space that used to be sacred for the individual moments of endorphin-producing bliss, I had managed to androidify the process so that I could no longer find joy in anything that was taking mere seconds longer than my allotted time frame in my checklist.
Even more heartbreakingly, this droid-like mentality transcended into the larger, non-fitness moments in my life. I left my 3-year home in the lower east side to take a huge step with the person I love, and managed not to say a proper goodbye to the sisterhood that raised me into the woman I am today because I was so stressed out about conveying the right message, the logistics of the move, and how the entire thing would be perceived from the outside. As a result, I also managed not to fully enjoy the cherished beginnings of a new life, in a new home, with a relatively new person who had captured my full heart.
Shame on me.
I hope this resonates - even a little bit - with others, so I can feel a little less guilty and a little less alone for botching what are otherwise perfect moments. I also hope I’ll look back years down the road, and feel then all the happiness and satisfaction that later perspective of prior events can smooth into the memories.
But most importantly, I resolve not to bring this compulsive energy into 2018. My largest resolution is to surrender to the feelings, the moments, and the process of growing and evolving each minute, hour, day, and week of the new year. I resolve to fully absorb.
The effects of this resolution to surrender transcend into a few different things:
The first is a different approach to goal-making and goal-tracking. I recently read an article The Art of Goal Setting by pro runner Lauren Fleshman that resonated deeply with what I’m striving for in 2018. She urges us to “set process goals, not outcome goals.” The reason for this is that the process is within our control. Because of this it makes the steps of goal setting and goal reaching more introspective, and therefore more attainable. For example, my goal of running a sub-4 marathon is NOT an example to follow. While that may be a part of the initial process of wish-listing, the course, weather, sickness, or any number of things could have ruined a whole summer of training in one explosion of disappointment.
If I had instead set out to say my goals were to do X number of workouts per week, pushing myself Y number of days, and keeping a training journal to hold myself accountable, I may have seen the process transition into the ultimate result.
The second is to to high-bar the goal-setting path. In 2017, I set goals that I’d been tickling for so long they were no longer something on the distant horizon. Even before the 2017 new year, I had what I would consider a near-breakdown over my job situation. I’d also already discussed with said man of my dreams about the potential to move in together. These weren’t really goals so much as they were “plans.” As a result I stripped myself from the potential to truly dig into my soul and see what I was capable of. Apart from pushing myself further than I ever have before in my running, I wasn’t really reaching to capture my other goals. I was lazily jotting down nice things I hoped would happen to me, but was already pretty sure would.
As I set goals this year, I consulted my journal and started with wishes. I jotted down all of my craziest wants and dreams without the idea that I could face failure. This allowed me to dig deeper without my brain getting involved to tell me I’m not Super Woman. Hush brain, you’ve always reasoned me down a notch from what my spirit can handle.
I then took the best portions of those dreams and started to construct what the rocket ship might look like to launch me there. The rocket ship has a base in habit, wings in plans and hard work, fuel in your supporting connections - in your tribe. I want so badly to share my goals here, but in reality they will be different for everyone so I robbing you of yours by sharing mine.
The 2018 resolution - more than anything else - is to take chances and push myself, but to do so in a process-oriented, journey-loving kind of way. It’s to remember the individual moments and experiences which will tattoo themselves on my heart and my aura as I seek my new goals. I resolve to continue to challenge myself. I resolve to remember each of the previous statements if in taking this year’s risk, my rocket ship needs to take a stop for maintenance before reaching its final destination.
Even without these goals, I’m proud of the lady I am. I’m also proud of where I’ve gotten myself, my career, my physical possessions, and my accomplishments. I’m humbled by the love and support I have in my network of family and friends. But I know there’s more out there. I know there are incredible men and women who may even be less qualified than me at certain things, doing those things simply because they decided they could.
I know the release of control will be hard for me, likely painful at times. But I welcome the challenge, because I know the reward will be well worth it.