I think it’s easy to get carried away with New Year’s resolutions; lists of things we are determined to do, changes we simply must make. We look around and see our friends making these grand declarations to ring in the New Year – I will do this, I won’t do that, I’ll avoid these, every day I’ll do that, and so on. So we make plans for ourselves, rigid schedules, color-coded charts and well-placed post-it notes to remind us of our promises to ourselves; our newfound resolve towards a “better” life.
I hate the whole mess, really.
Last year, I didn’t make any resolutions. I probably hadn’t made any for the several years before either, but last year I intentionally chose to not make any. I was tired of the guilt that came when I left my resolutions behind. And I was frustrated with careful planning ahead, only to see my grandiose plans fall by the wayside, sacrificed to life, bad timing, financial straits, and uninterested men. (Still holding out for that first kiss, gentlemen.)
Instead, I chose to roll with life this last year. I decided to allow room for me to change my mind, to be impulsive, to make mistakes. I gave myself the freedom to live without my own self imposed restrictions. I left room for randomness.
This last year was the year of happy accidents and beautiful coincidences. It was month after month of surprises and laughter. This year gave me back my smile and thawed my heart. It was a year of many changes and lovely moments. This year was kind and generous with me. I can’t imagine trading it for anything.
This last year gave me new friends.
As ridiculous as it may sound to you, Twitter was an absolute Godsend to me. I had spent years making fun of it, so the fact that it is my new favorite thing is probably karma and God laughing at me. I have met some perfectly wonderful people because of Twitter; people who make me laugh, inspire me, and tolerate my raging inappropriateness. I wish I knew them in real life. I wish I could have a glass of wine or two or three with Molly, a coffee with Lauren, wreak havoc with Micaela, and see a movie with Cory while making inappropriate jokes. I adore these lovely people more than I can say, and my days are brighter because of them.
All because I said hello to a stranger.
This last year gave me mistakes.
I moved to Nashville this last March, a few days before my 24th birthday. After planning for less than a week, I moved across the country for a job I hadn’t really wanted to a place I had never been. Considering I’m now back in the Pacific Northwest, obviously this was not the best choice I ever made. It was a bit of a mistake, emotionally and financially, and I found myself lying on my bed with tears in my eyes more nights than I could count.
But I started writing while I was in Nashville, really writing. My heart opened up and the words flowed out. And to this day, I can’t seem to stop them. And I learned that I can take care of myself. I can make the tough choices and live through a worst-case scenario. I can be strong for myself, and I can always find a way.
All because a friend texted me with a job opportunity.
This last year gave me confidence.
I spent quite a few years doing academics. And I was good at it. History and literature, I live for them. I could spend hours reading, researching, and writing about nineteenth century women in Victorian London. I can talk for hours about Jane Austen or historiography. I knew who I was in academics, where I stood.
And then I walked away. Because somewhere along the way it stopped being enough. It stopped fulfilling the ache in my heart. One day I realized I needed more. For awhile, I didn’t know what the more was. I was lost and desolate, trying to reconstruct myself from the ashes. Until one day a writer I admire said I could write. He said I was good. He said I was talented, that I had a gift. And one day I allowed myself to believe him as self confidence once again began to take root in my soul.
All because I wrote a review for a book I liked.
This last year gave me back my words.
My sister showed me a blog about a year ago, sometime last December actually. She annoyed me about it constantly until finally she just started reading it aloud to me. I was mesmerized, taken aback by the honestly and cleverness. I was left smiling, because I understood and he understood. This was a new world. So I read more. Then one evening, I decided to try it for myself. I created a blog and wrote something. Then I wrote something else. Most of it was wretched, I’m sure, but something inside of me wouldn’t let me stop.
I found the stories hidden in my imagination; stories I had silenced in order to try and write what others wanted. I realized that my story is the only one like it, and if I don’t share it, no one else can. I discovered that maybe this is what I was meant for – to put pen to my thoughts, and to show love and grace to those who read it.
All because my sister stumbled across To My Future Spouse by Cory Copeland.
I couldn’t have planned out this last year. I couldn’t have sat down at the beginning and made resolutions that would have brought me to where I am now. Granted, there is still a lot of growing I can do. There is much I have yet to accomplish, changes I wish to make. And for some of these things, I need to plan. I need to be proactive in making them happen. But sometimes the best parts of life are the accidents that happen along the way. The unplanned moments, the random coincidences. A year ago, if you told me that I would be writing on a blog three times a week, working to make writing my life, with close friends I’ve never met, I’d have laughed at you. But today, as I live that life, I treasure it. It’s exactly the life I need at this precise time in my life. God brought me exactly here, resolutions or not, because it’s what I needed.
So as you go into the New Year, thinking about the resolutions you want to make, I encourage you to leave room for some messy randomness, for mistakes, for impulsive choices. Realize that not every moment of your life can be planned out perfectly, and just maybe the best moments, the ones you’ll remember always, are the moments that happen completely by accident.
Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.