For the past four years, instead of New Year’s resolutions, I selected a word/theme for the year. A way to set the tone for my growth, and for my sanity. Past words have included fearless, grace, my own name as I needed to get back to me after my separation, and last year my word was intentional. I selected my word for 2018 pretty quickly at the end of 2017, but it’s taken me a while to write about it. I wasn’t sure what to say or not to say, but I’ve realized this is my life and I can say whatever the hell I want. Before we dive into 2018 and my word, let’s recap 2017 so you can understand why I selected my word.
January 1, 2017 marked my first full year of being out on my own professionally. That previous year, my year of grace, saw ups and downs and so many lessons learned as I embarked on working for myself. Leading into my second year, I selected the word intentional. During my intentional year, I had some of the most incredible experiences. I traveled, was able to go to a conference I’d been wanting to go to for years, grew my business and my writing portfolio, made money, cultivated some amazing relationships, and realized my dreams of becoming a magazine editor. While my professional and parts of my personal life were intentional and amazing, other parts of my personal life were intentional, yet were far from amazing.
In 2016, I connected with a friend at a birthday party and started to see him in a different light. Although there were red flags from the start, I grew to really care about him and ignored my gut because, on paper, we looked amazing. We would have great times, then we would have horrible times. We broke up and made up and lingered in a grey area for far too long. What had started with such promise in 2016 ended for the final time in the summer of 2017 with hurt and confusion for both of us. I started to heal. I started to move forward. It was when I was getting my sparkle back that I was rocked with the biggest hurt I’ve ever experienced… while I was healing, he briefly became involved with someone I once considered a friend. He knew her and knew that she was a friend. She knew him and knew that he and I had talked about moving in together. I even texted her after the breakup for advice as she had gone through a breakup a few months prior.
I wish I could say that was the last time he or she hurt me, but it wasn’t. I won’t go into too many details, I’ll save that for the book I’ll eventually write, but I will say that the two of them coupled with a few other “friends” who weren’t really friends made me question my world. I had survived a divorce, but I think the betrayals thrown at me during the course of 3-4 months as 2017 came to a close hit me harder than I ever imagined possible.
I’ll be honest… I thought of leaving Charlotte. I was ready to head to a new city as my city was now tainted. As someone who used to go anywhere and do whatever she wanted in the city she loved, I turned into a bit of a hermit. I turned down certain invitations, avoided certain places, I even took steps back from writing for publications I loved. I was ready to call 2017 a wash, but there was a different plan for me.
This plan started with my mom. She told me to write down all the amazing things that happened in 2017 on one sheet of paper, and to write all the bad things that happened in 2017 on another sheet. When finished, I had written over 20 amazing things and only about five things, mosty names, on the bad list. I realized who my true ride or die friends are (in Charlotte and beyond) and they reminded me that I have the power to decide who my main, supporting, and walk on characters who usually get killed in episode 9 of a Shonda Rhimes show are in my story/life. (Please note that I would never kill anyone, I’m the person who rescues baby squirrels, but I’m a writer and fan of dramatic flair.) Then a few days after my birthday, a dream of mine was realized and I became the editor of Carolina Bride magazine.
As January 1, 2018 rolled around, I was able to say that my 2017 was intentional and that it was incredible. I have this amazing life, but I needed to learn some valuable lessons. 2017 taught me to…
1. Listen to your gut.
2. Let people earn the title of “friend” before giving him/her that honor.
3. When someone shows you who they truly are, listen to them.
4. When you find your true friends, your people, you tell them everyday how much you love and value them.
5. Learn your lessons and move on and move forward.
Now that you know the back story, let’s finally get to my word for 2018. My word for 2018 is boundaries. I realized I didn’t have many before 2017. I have an open heart and I love unapologetically. I want to help everyone, but sometimes that has been a detriment to myself and I mean this personally and professionally. The boundaries I am creating are both professional and personal. I want to work with people, companies and publications that make my heart happy. I want to have amazing experiences with people I love and live the hell out of this life of mine. I can’t do all of this by saying yes to things and people who should be a no. As my dad said, “you can’t fly if you are carrying too much weight on your back.”
I still believe in magic, love and goodness, but my rose-colored glasses are off and that’s OK. It needed to happen… I just wish it hadn’t involved so much heartbreak. But then again, do we truly appreciate the good times without the bad times?!?