Three years ago, just before moving to Baltimore, just before starting a new job, and just before my life made a complete 180, I sat down to write New Years Resolutions. I was just wrapping up five tumultuous years of living in Washington, DC. In that period of time, I had readjusted to life in the US after two years of Peace Corps, started my first job in the real world, started grad school, broke up with my boyfriend of 4 years, tried out the whole online dating thing, graduated from grad school, went through another sad break-up, all the while living in a group house with a bunch of other girls. I had turned 30 that year and I was overwhelmed with the late-20s angst and was ready to put it behind me.
I decided to spend that New Years Eve practicing yoga instead of drinking. I was going to start it off right. I also sat down and made New Years resolutions for the first time since I was an adult. I vowed that this year would be different. This year, I would take control of my life and make it what I wanted it to be rather than waiting around for that to come to me.
I went a step farther than making resolutions, though, I made goals and objectives. I created ten goals – broad overarching statements – and at least three objectives under each. The objectives were SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound), just as they would be in any project I was carrying out. I thought, I do this for work, why not for my life? Once this was accomplished, I set a calendar reminder to check in on my progress in six months.
Then, a few weeks after we rang in 2012, a friend and I went to a psychic, just for fun. Being confident that I was totally fine with where I was at, excited about the change I was making, I was certain the psychic would tell me as such. I went as moral support for my friend who hadn’t been to a psychic before. During this period of my life, I loved going to psychics, I felt like it was a kind of therapy. They never told you anything you didn’t know, but put it in front of you like a magic mirror that zooms in on the things you refused to look at. I knew I was in a good place. I knew that’s what she’d tell me.
“You’re being too controlling of your life,” the psychic told me with a stern but motherly tone.
“I am?” I responded with some hesitance. I knew immediately that she was talking about the new years resolutions, about the goals and objectives.
“Yeah, you’re trying to be too controlling of your life and it’s causing you to block out anyone who’s trying to get into your heart.”
I never thought about it that way. She was speaking straight to what I was trying to get away from. I had my heart broken a year before and wanted to move on, but was afraid of what was to come. Then she somehow talked me into buying a $25 stone that wasn’t supposed to touch metal and I was supposed to put under my pillow and that was supposed to give me good energy. Why not, my new years plans had just been blown apart anyway!
As my friend and I walked down the street, we excitedly exchanged our psychic stories. When I told her what the psychic said, she yelled, “THE RESOLUTIONS!!!” I had told her about them with enthusiasm a few days before. Maybe she had thought the same thing as the psychic when I told her that I was taking back control of my life. I didn’t quite know what to do with the information. A few days before I moved to Baltimore, I held onto the journal into which I had written my goals and objectives. But, they had to be packed along with everyone else.
I ended up leaving the journal somewhere in my desk and laughing at myself when the reminder came rang on my computer on July 1, 2012 to check in on my progress. The move to Baltimore had been exactly what I needed. A month moving there, I met the person who’d end up being the love my life (also the person I’m going to be marrying in three months). I had a new job that was fulfilling, paid appropriately, and granted me a work-life balance. I met some amazing people almost immediately when I arrived.
Okay, so I don’t think that these life changes had anything to do with the psychic or the stone or maybe even my ability to set aside those new years resolutions. I was happy and in need of a change but also don’t think that kind of move is necessary for everyone at the place I was in. But, I do think that the psychic’s words did help me open up just a bit. I’m a worrier and, although not type-A, if things don’t go a certain way, I get anxious. For someone like me, pegging my personal life on a list of goals and objectives is not really the healthiest way to go. I’m sure it can work for some (and I’m happy doing it in my work life).
Now that we’re approaching 2015, there are a lot of really amazing things to come (like a wedding – which also comes with all the stresses). There are also a lot of potential challenges. But this year, like every year, what I plan to do is to remember that life’s too short to control everything. It’s also too short to get mad at myself for when I forget that on occasion. And no, it’s not a new years resolution, but an annual “note to self.”
Happy new year everyone!
p.s. check back tomorrow for a year in review of photos. Thought that’d be too much for one post