It’s that time of year where we start making plans for January. But first, let’s pause and think about two things:
What happened in 2022?
What has it taught me?
For my family, this past year was full of challenges: both planned and unplanned constant chaos. From a home renovation gone awry to devastating medical complications and so. many. seizures.
It’s been… a lot.
Of course, within that chaos were so many beautiful moments: watching my kids become best friends, leaning hard on family and friends for support and being lucky enough to have them, witnessing the kindness and generosity of those around us… As we often say: “low lows, high highs.”
But for this year, my lesson was not about appreciation and gratitude—though these are evergreen themes of my life—this year’s lesson was about calm.
I often say it. And you probably do too: “After this week things will slow down…” or “Once I get through X it will be so much better…”
I’m always waiting for things to calm down. I’m always waiting for life to stop throwing me new challenges.
For the world to feel peaceful and manageable.
For a day to breathe.
But here’s the thing: The world will not calm down. There will always be more. More deadlines, more plumbing issues, more stress, more grief, more pain, more suffering, more seizures.
That world out there, it’s never going to pause so that you can have peace.
We must create our own peace.
That calm we’re waiting for to catch our breath? It comes from within. It’s a muscle we need to strengthen.
We must teach ourselves to stay upright in the storm.
What does that look like?
Maybe it means finding a routine that grounds you. Or starting a meditation practice. Or taking a walk. Or drinking a smoothie.
Maybe it’s taking a toxic person out of your life. Or saying “No” when you would normally say “Yes.”
Maybe it’s scheduling quality time with your kids. Or keeping a journal. Or starting therapy. Or taking medication.
Maybe it’s as simple as stepping away from a stressful situation for a minute to take a few deep breaths before diving back in.
For me… Staying busy helps me to stay calm so I don’t worry too much about the things out of my control. Listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Avoiding the news and QueryTracker. Taking walks. Snuggling my kids. Writing. Drawing. Reading. Watching Friends reruns.
Making space for these things unapologetically—even when chaos strikes—helps me to focus on the things within my control. And that helps me to stay calm.
Whatever this year has thrown your way, and whatever lesson(s) it may have taught you, I encourage you to take a minute to reflect on that before diving into your new year resolutions.
What will you add to your Grit Resume for 2022?
Readers, thank you for joining me the past few months on Substack. It’s been equal parts terrifying and exhilarating opening up in this way. I’m grateful for your support and look forward to whatever 2023 will bring. (Watch me stay completely calm through it all ;-)
That pivoting doesn't require an avalanche. In fact, my new direction has granted me an unknown dignity.
2023 is going to eat your creative dust, Wendy. Start stocking up on champagne! 🍾🔥❤️