Happy New Year, friends. In preparation for 2013, many of us spend time reflecting on the past 365 days - evaluating our lives and identifying room for growth. I've always believed this to be a healthy tradition.
I wrote a pledge the other night - it started as a Facebook status, typed during a spurt of insomnia, and has since marinated in my mind. Longtime readers know I struggle with anxiety, an unfortunate condition that surfaced when my life took an unexpected turn down a road littered with bumps, potholes, and hazardous conditions. Because I've always been a planner. And I don't deal well with plans falling apart.
The last four years have been a struggle. I encountered setbacks I never saw coming, and I wasn't prepared to deal with their arrival. Because I had a plan, remember? I was to secure a position I was passionate about, work towards tenure, and complete my advanced credits and professional development. Summers were for traveling; winters were for saving. By 28, my car would be paid off and I would be a homeowner.
None of that happened.
Sometimes I think people think I want them to feel sorry for me, and that's not the case. I know it's tough out there for many, and I promise, I know I'm blessed in many other ways. But anxiety is an illness that lives a life of its own. It breathes inside of me, and I'm trying my damnedest to cut off its oxygen supply.
The truth is, I want to get better. I want to feel confident and successful and like I'm moving towards accomplishment. I want to feel like what I do makes a difference. I want to feel like I contribute to this world. And that's what I'm working on.
I share this with you for one reason: accountability. Posting my pledge means I can't take it back. I'm forced to work toward these goals and bounce back from setbacks - no matter how difficult it may be at the time. Our fears and insecurities are personal; they show our vulnerability and expose the deepest part of us. They're also difficult to talk about. This is the only way I know how, so I thank you for allowing me to do so. And I very much thank you for listening.
My New Year's Pledge
In 2013, I will not worry.
I will not worry about furloughs, for they are out of my control. Instead, I'll take precautionary measures to ensure myself some comfort.
In 2013, I will not stress.
I will not stress about writing the perfect manuscript; I'll continue working hard and following the path I'm on. My only obligation is doing my best work. The rest will work itself out.
In 2013, I will not entertain fear.
Fear is not tangible; it is a concoction of my own thoughts that prevents me from living. If I can create fear, I can also destroy it.
In 2013, I will not panic.
I will not allow myself to dwell on possibility. I will focus on the situation before me. If I can't fix it or call someone else to fix it, I have to let it go.
In 2013, I will not feel pity.
The past cannot be changed. I will keep my eyes on the direction I want to move in. The path to the future is ahead, not behind.
In 2013, I will not obsess.
Obsessions eat energy. Instead, I'll continue to take care of my mind, body, and spirit, and maintain a positive, healthy lifestyle.
In 2013, I will not feel shame.
Instead of feeling embarrassed by my circumstances, I will allow myself to learn and grow from every experience - no matter how difficult it may be. I will no longer be ashamed of my professional struggles or view it as a reflection of my ability or intelligence. My life is my life. The right door will open when it's supposed to.
In 2013, I will stop blaming myself.
Blaming myself keeps me stationary. Accepting things for what they are is the only way to move forward. I did nothing wrong.
And in 2013, I will not worry.