2016: The Year of Reclamation.

And just like that… it’s the last day of the year.

In looking back on 2015, the temptation is there – for the first time in as long as I can remember – for wholesale condemnation of just about everything that occurred over the last twelve months. To fall prey to the perception that the bad outweighed the good, the ugly outweighed the lovely, the unfortunate and difficult outweighed the magic. It feels that way sometimes. Emotional atrophy and apathy (with some absolute anger, while I’m at it). And when in the throes of seasonal blues, it’s a challenge to see through to the other side of the clouds, where the sky is always clear.

But if I’m being honest, it didn’t ALL suck. Life is absolutely on the upswing at the moment. Starting school in the fall was a great step in that direction. Accepting a new job at a place with a healthy, motivated, forward-thinking, gratitude-driven environment was another. Braving the dating world once again and being rewarded by a few dates with a genuinely kind, honest, interesting/interested, thoughtful, and communicative man, yet another.

So 2016 will be “The Year of Reclamation.” After all the challenges and lessons from the past 12 months and beyond, it feels like it’s well past time to start reclaiming… well, everything. Life. You know?

Interestingly… I started to say things like, “reclaiming power over _________,” or “reclaiming control over __________” – like power over the direction of my life, or control over my eating, or whatever. But those things make it sound 1) like I’m in a place where I’d lost power/control in the first place, and 2) like I’m trying to hunker down and maintain a solid stance over my experience instead of, you know, embracing the fundamental ambiguity of being human and opening up to whatever comes along. The more and harder I try to control and contain, the more difficult my experience becomes. I know this for a fact.

Instead…

It’s reclamation of space. The physical space in which I spend the most time: my home. And that means paring down, donating, giving away, cleaning, organizing, reconfiguring… but it also means filling it with what brings me joy. Like the aromatherapy diffuser and the sound machine, or the new dresser, or my plans for a completely different spare room setup. The mental space previously occupied by people and events that never really earned the right to be there, but who/that were taking up space in my brain anyway (and not paying rent). The emotional space I’ve been filling with things (thoughts, feelings, emotions – shame, regret, etc.) that no longer need to be there. The space I occupy in the world – and that means living with intention again, instead of just letting life happen. Embracing mindfulness, doing more to stay in (and appreciate) the moment, instead of trying to fill the moments with other things.

It’s reclamation of values. I value eating well, and taking the time to cook healthy and delicious food for myself and those I love. I value getting rest, whenever needed. I value exploration, travel, trying new things and going to new places. I value learning, and expanding intellectually & emotionally as a result. I value the feeling I get at the end of the day after a job well done and a life well lived. I value exercise and taking good care of myself – mind, body, spirit… all of it. I value laughter. I value the acquisition of experience over the acquisition of things. And I value compassion, connection, and community.

It’s a reclamation of self and story. I think all of the above will lend itself to this. There are steps I can take and ways to engage that will bring me back to what I truly value the most, and help me become (and reclaim and embrace) ME. There’s a part of me that feels as though I’ve been lost for a really long time; a part that feels as though I’ve never quite been whole, or at least, never felt that way. I’ve never known who I was, what I brought to the table, what I had to offer. For as deep as I dig, I still feel out of touch with who I am in the world, a lot of the time. And as a result, I think that’s what causes me to doubt my value – inherently, but also the value I bring to the table with others. So, it’s going to be a year of getting to know me, learning to see and appreciate who I am, rather than letting other people try to tell me who they think I am (or should be).

I just can’t help but believe that 2016 is going to kick all kinds of ass, and I intend to do my part to make sure. Happy new year, y’all. ❤

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