As November draws to a close, I find it hard to believe that December has finally come. We’re drawing inevitably closer to the end of another year all while we scramble towards Christmas time. For me, a semester is coming to a close and tests, papers, and projects are piling up in front of my eyes. This time of year can be exhausting, but that doesn’t mean I can slack for this month on my goals!
November was a month dedicated to me and my mind. I wanted to journal more, exercise more, go outside more, meditate more, and worry less. Almost all of those things were achieved, thankfully. I’m almost done filling my journal meant to last me for the year. I spent a few weeks regularly exercising. I went on more walks than I had in months and enjoyed the great outdoors. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the time or patience to practice meditation, but it’s still something I’m interested in pursuing.
So, where does that put me for December? Well, I want to focus on myself again, because I recently learned that it’s okay to be selfish sometimes. I also learned that, in order to build a good life around you, you must start from the ground up. And guess what a good foundation begins? That’s right! Within yourself.
December harbors one of the best times of the year: Christmas. The spirit of giving is abound, from friends and family to Santas on street corners. Something I really want to focus on for myself is gratefulness. This time of year can be dangerous when it comes to coveting and asking for frivolous things. It’s easy to get caught up in the wanting side of the season, instead of the giving or the happiness that comes with simply receiving a gift from a loved one. I want to remind myself that it certainly doesn’t matter that the shoes I really asked for were a slightly different color, but the fact that my parents remembered what I’d been wanting and loved me enough to get it for me is what is most important. Of course, with Thanksgiving just behind us, it’s easy to remember to give thanks for all that we have, but a large goal I have is to maintain that sentiment throughout the month of December and really let it resonate with me as the holidays come.
My second goal for myself is to be more open to opportunity. I tend to shy away from things that seem uncertain, things I’m unfamiliar with. People tend to do this and there’s a level of self-preservation involved. Why get involved with something that could potentially end badly when you can rely on something you know to be tried and true? The danger with that, with never stepping out of your comfort zone, is that you never progress. You remain stagnant and idle. I don’t want that for myself, nor should anyone. Now, I want to break that bad habit of shying away from uncertainty and take advantage of opportunities presented to me. I want to shrug of inhibitions of inadequacy and fear and dive in, head first.
I once used an analogy for something like this. Brey actually taught me to dive some years back when we had our annual family reunion. We went to the pool where we would have handstand contests and try to flirt with lifeguards and she kept diving in, head first. I remember thinking how cool it was that she was able to dive, but also how crazy she must have been to do so. A part of me realized the danger, so when she began to teach me, I was terrified of messing up and hurting myself. In fact, it took me a long time to even try. Ah, but once I did, something changed completely. After that first, failed attempt at a dive, I got back out of the water and didn’t hesitate to do it again. And I did. I did it again and again, over and over until I got it right. When I finally made that swift fall into the water, my form still slightly askew, but just imperfect enough to call it a success, it was a huge wave of excitement and happiness. I had accomplished something I thought I would never be able to, all because I had the guts to stand on the edge the first time and jump.
The importance of that story isn’t that I eventually got it right, it’s that I took that first plunge. That first jump was entirely freeing. It gave me the confidence to try again and completely calmed any fear I had. So, as I move forward into the end of 2015, I want to continually take that jump. I want to snag opportunities that seem too scary to pursue because I know that if I do succeed there’ll be something I want on the other side.
Here’s to diving in.