Those who know me know that I had a pretty rough ending to 2015. I watched people whom I admired turn into people who essentially are little more than bullies. I watched my every day life turn into a long-gone yesterday. 2015 was also the year that changed The Man from a guy who worked 9-5, Monday-Friday, to the firefighter who is home for a few days, then pretty much gone for a few days.
So many things changed, and what I know now, more so than a few weeks ago, is that these individual things caused serious anxiety within me. What makes it worse, is that when you are anxious, you develop an all-encompassing, overbearing sense of anxiety for all of the anxiety you developed for individual issues.
For the first few days of this year, I struggled. Hugely. But I don’t want to anymore, so here are my 16 resolutions for 2016:
- Stop looking for a job that’s just a job. I don’t want to settle, and toward the end of the year, I started looking and interviewing for jobs I never really wanted. Why? Because I just wanted a new job. This year, I will work doing something that brings me some sort of joy.
- Stop denying the crushing weight of my anxiety. When I started feeling anxious more than a decade ago, I was made to believe that there was something wrong with me and it was something I shouldn’t discuss. This led to countless unhealthy relationships, nights hiding from friends and family, and struggles with everyday issues that shouldn’t have ever hurt me the way they had. While there is still a stigma with mental illness, anxiety is becoming much easier to discuss.
- I won’t let shitty people make me a shitty person. With so much of what I faced this year came disappointment and anger toward people whom I trusted, or simply thought were better than they turned out to be. In more than one situation, I am quite ashamed to say that I had vindictive thoughts or desires. I have said and thought shitty things, and I do not want to not be that person. In 2016, I need to remember that not everyone is going to like me, not everyone is going to be who I try to be for them. I can’t control that, and I can’t let it bring me down.
- I won’t go into situations immediately thinking I am disliked. I have done this so many times, and I really do think that this held me back and damaged more than one interaction in 2015. This is another, often overlooked, aspect of anxiety. I have to start thinking that my friends do like me, certain family members do like me, The Man doesn’t like me, I’m not just a thing with which they put up.
- Realize that scenarios in which I feel defeated haven’t always defeated me. A huge part of the end of my 2015 was going to job interview after job interview. Though nothing landed me the next step in my career, not everything was a loss. This became wildly apparent when I went to a job interview for which I was overly prepared and perhaps overly enthusiastic. After telling me that my experience wasn’t what they were looking for, I was naturally defeated. Then I realized that the direction in which they wanted to go was not the direction I could have ever seen for me. The right fit will come along.
- Stop treating one off-day as though it’s the first in a series. I can have a bad day. I am a human being, and just because of what I have dealt with in the past, I won’t let one day be the first of many. It can just be one bad day, and I am not to blame.
- Learn to help more people who have my same issues, and teach people who don’t understand it. We aren’t being dramatic, and this is a label that is so damaging. Words are sometimes more than words, depending on who you are talking to. This isn’t another super sensitive PC thing where I don’t want to someone to call me a bitch or something degradating to women. Sometimes I am dramatic, but sometimes I can’t deal with a situation that seems mundane to you. 2016 is a great year for people to be a little more aware of dealing with communication and anxiety. When talking to someone with anxiety or depression, there is often a huge disconnect between what is said and what is heard.
- Stop wanting more, and appreciate what I have. I want to do this on every scale. Of course there is value in goals, but I will stop dwelling on what other people have just because it’s more than what I have. It’s ok that I haven’t had a vacation in a while. Why? Because the person with whom I really want to travel hasn’t had much time to do so. That will change eventually. Also, I want to appreciate even just the clothing that I have. Right now, I have a closet and multiple dressers filled with so much clothing. I should start wearing them instead of looking for something new.
- Accept the life that The Man and I now have, while maintaining open communication about what I need. I worried for the last few months– the first few months of The Man being on the job– about appearing too clingy. As I had previously said, I went through a rough end to the year, and my anxiety has been at an all-time high. The truth is, I am not a clingy person in a relationship, but having The Man close keeps my demons at bay. There is the obvious desire to handle it on my own, but there is something magic power that partners of anxious people seem to have.
- Believe in myself like my 8-year-old self would. These days, I sit around and doubt most of what I do. When I was little, I viewed getting older as being able to get whatever I wanted to get. If I only believe in myself the way I believed in adults, at age 8, I feel that I would have a lot more faith in myself and what I can achieve.
- Keep letting people know how great I think they are doing. This was something I started doing more of in 2015, and I want to keep it going and even do it more frequently. Whether it’s in person, on a blog, Instagram, Facebook, etc., I started letting people know when I think their achievements are awesome. I never felt ashamed to tell a friend how beautiful he or she looks now, how strong I think they are for overcoming an obstacle, how cool I think it is that they just achieved something great. Also, I never stopped to consider how well I know the person, how frequently I see him, or how long it’s been since our last meeting.
- Spend more time with my mother. She has been one of my biggest supporters, even if she didn’t always show that. She has pushed, even if sometimes it felt too hard. She let me know how much she appreciates my sensitive soul, even if sometimes it felt like doubt. All in all, I wouldn’t be the baker, painter, artist, cook, and all-around Suzy Homemaker if it wasn’t for the example with which I grew up.
- Garden, draw, sew, and bake more. I go through waves of indulging in my hobbies, and I feel like when I get low, I abandon them and turn to Netflix binges and HGTV marathons. I want to make my life and our home warmer with the fruit of my soul. Ask anyone who has been to our cozy apartment, and they will say that I have filled it with a bunch of plants, and a few pieces of my own art. This is what makes me happy at home, and instead of mindless television, I should create more to keep my mind healthy and moving.
- Read more. When this world becomes overwhelming and I just can’t take another second of it, I need to turn to the tried-and-true escape that I neglected toward the end of 2015. Instead of feeling utter indifference toward the world and my position therein, I have to just step outside of it, and get lost in the pages of a book. Maybe I will reread Harry Potter!
- Host more dinner parties! The Man and I hosted our first one over the weekend, and we had a blast. We spent a good portion of our 20s going from restaurant to tavern, bar to lounge, and back. It’s time to save money, and create memories with the people we hold dear in the apartment we adore.
- Find out who I am. For at least the year, 2016. I want to be better than I was in 2015, but for me to say that I will spend 365 days drinking less, dancing more, eating healthier, consuming more water, and so on and so on, it wouldn’t be realistic. You don’t find yourself at the end of a specific timeframe, changing only what you consume. For me, this exploration will be more mental and emotional. Explore more of the small moments that make me cry tears of joy, address and let go of the moments that hurt me.
I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2016, and may you all find exactly what those two words mean for you.