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I’m sitting here after midnight; it is now New Year’s Eve of 2023 and I can’t help but sit back, reflect, and spend some time looking back at 2023. The last few months have been spent figuring out what I want my life to look like and who I want to be in the world. This year has been hard. At times it has been downright shitty. I spent more time than I would like to admit pasting a smile on my face so that I wouldn’t completely fall apart. I’ve faced challenges that have seemed insurmountable, and yet I’m still here.
There have been many beautiful moments as well. Time with those I care about, time in nature. There have been moments of miracles big and small that have kept me going through this crazy year.
Looking back, what have been the biggest lessons I’ve learned?
It’s important to pay attention to what you’re feeding your mind with
Looking back has been very cathartic to me. It has really highlighted some things for me. One of those is just how much garbage I was feeding my mind. And that garbage has a greater impact than most people acknowledge.
This is especially true if you’re energy-sensitive. I haven’t watched the news for a long time. Broadcast news is very negative because that is what gets ratings. Happy stories don’t get the same attention that negative ones get. In the same way people rubber-neck at an accident scene, they just can’t pass up on learning about the latest scandal or traumatic event. I learned a long time ago just how much the energy of the news impacted me…and NOT in a good way. But over the past couple of months, I’ve been paying attention to everything I’m feeding my mind. The social media channels I follow, the types of television programs, and movies I watch. Even the types of people I spend the most time with.
Fortunately, I haven’t had to cut many people out of my life. However, I have unfollowed and unfriended several people who tended to be a bit too negative on social media. I’m choosing to focus on content that is positive and uplifting. If it makes me laugh…even better! I’m also trying to spend less time on social media and more time doing things that fill my soul!
I don’t laugh enough
I tend to overthink and take myself far too seriously! That means I don’t laugh nearly as much as I would like. Laughter is one of the most pleasant ways to release stress. It just feels good! And so I want to be more intentional about doing things that are silly and will promote laughter in my life. And I’m watching more funny videos. Laughter is just good for my soul and I want more of it in my life!
I want less “stuff” and more experiences
The older I get the less I want to continue collecting random material things just for the sake of having them. It does not mean I don’t enjoy shopping or buying things. But I’m more intentional about what I’m bringing into my world. For me, it is more about having new experiences, spending time with people I like, and exploring new places. Making memories means a whole lot more than collecting things that will be forgotten about quickly.
This is a lesson I began learning in 2021 after my father passed away. My siblings, stepmother and I spend a lot of time going through a lifetime of his belongings. There were so many things that were just taking up space. And it was a lot of work for us to sift through things that were important to him. With some items, we understood why they were important in his life. Other items just made us shake our heads and wonder why in the world he had them.
It made me realize that I want to spend less time focused on “stuff” and more time experiencing new things and making new memories with the people in my life. Stuff comes and goes. But those memories last a lifetime!
I need to put myself first more often
Hello, my name is Kathy and I am a recovering people pleaser. I have been really bad at saying yes to things without first thinking about whether or not it was right for me. That has caused me to put other people first more often than I do myself. And at times I’ve taken far too little time for self-care.
That’s a big issue for so many of us who are empaths. We can feel the emotions of others and we don’t want to disappoint them, so we say yes, even when we are overbooked and overwhelmed. We don’t want to have to feel their disappointment. Especially when we are the cause. So we fall into people-pleasing mode frequently. And we tend to stretch ourselves so thinly that we don’t have enough time to make ourselves or self-care a priority. That is changing for me in the new year!
It is so important to take time to listen to my inner guidance
The noise of the world can be overwhelming sometimes. And if you wait two minutes you will hear a lot of different opinions about what other people feel you should do. But the truth is that there is no advice that you get from external sources that is as good and right for you as the guidance you get from within.
The problem for most people is that they spend so much time drowning out that inner guidance with noise, that they never really get to hear it. I’m taking time every day now to be quiet and still so that I can hear that inner guidance. That being said, I still put too much importance on the messages I get externally, and less on my inner compass. And that is something I intend to change in the coming year.
I’m being called to open my heart back up
You can’t get to be 54 years old and not have experienced your share of hurt from others. And I certainly have faced some painful things in my relationships, both romantic and platonic friendships. That has caused me to become a bit cautious and guarded with my heart. Unfortunately, there are times when the people in your life are going to let you down and hurt you, whether intentionally or not.
And just going through divorce alone can make one a bit cautious. But I’ve been getting the guidance from within that it’s time to allow myself to let others in. To be more vulnerable and to open my heart a bit more. That isn’t always easy for me to do. But this year is going to bring more of that.
Part of that is also being more me here on my blog. I’ve been writing posts like I’m some sort of “expert”, but the reality is that the older I get, the more I realize we’re all just making shit up as we go. None of us really have the answers. So this blog is going to be more about me and my experiences, and what I’ve learned along the way. If that inspires or encourages you, then great!
I have to be the “real” me
From the time we are young, we are taught that who we are is somehow not good enough. So we hide away the parts of who we are that have been deemed “unacceptable” by someone in our life or by society at large. Most of us put on a mask that is more acceptable to the world. But we lose who we truly are in the process.
My inner weirdo has been calling out to me to step out of the shadows for a long time. And we all have one! It’s one of the reasons why my tagline is “Embracing my inner woo woo”.
It’s about learning to love every facet of who you are, and being who you authentically are, no matter what other people think! I can’t go into hiding again. That just didn’t feel good to me. It’s my journey and I’m not giving anyone else permission to make me shrink or hide away, ever again!
Living with intention
It can be easy to live life on autopilot, and I’ve done that for decades. But I know what I want my life to be, and so I’m choosing to create the life I want intentionally. I’m making choices about what is important in my life, and I’m getting rid of all of the garbage that is not aligned with the life I want to create. I’m sorting through the clutter in my home and mind. And taking the time to look at the people and things I follow on social media to see how they make me feel. I’ve hit the unfollow button a lot in the past week. And my energy is better because of it.
I don’t have room in my life for things that drain my energy anymore. So they no longer have a place in my life. It allows me to feel better, and in return that is the energy I broadcast out into the world.
Life is too short, so live a big, bold life!
We often talk about how life is too short. And when someone you care about crosses over, you can’t help but realize just how short this life is. So why are we wasting so much time living a life that is less than what we want? Why aren’t we going out and experiencing the fullness of life and savoring what the world around us has to offer?
I have certainly wasted more of my life than I care to admit. But after losing my Mom in 2014 and my Dad in 2021, I’ve really been feeling how fast life goes by. And in 2023 I watched SO many people lose loved ones. So at the end of the year, I asked myself “What am I waiting for?”
I couldn’t give myself a good answer. And since I had been spending far too much time holding down my couch and scrolling social media, I figured it was time to walk a different path. I want to get out and travel more, even if it’s just a little day trip. I want to try new restaurants, connect with new people, and let the world see more of who I am.
If you know me you know I love a good tiara. So I want to slap one on and dance in my living room. Or throw on a sequined dress and go eat at Waffle House. I want to have more fun and make laughter a priority. And I want to send a lot more love to others and out into the world! With all of the complaining, fear, and anger out there, the world could use more love, joy, and laughter! And I’m excited to see what the future holds now.
Love is the most important thing!
It’s funny, but most of the time when we bring up love, most people immediately think of romantic love. And romantic love is beautiful. But the love I’m talking about goes much deeper than romantic love. It is the type of love that is compassionate, empathic, and divine. It is the type of love that I’ve only really begun experiencing on a deeper level over the past decade or so.
And in 2023 it became a more frequent experience for me. It’s the kind of love for me that sees the beauty in the humanity of others. I find myself feeling love for complete strangers, something that I never really experienced much until the last couple of years. I always felt empathy and compassion towards others. But this is different. And it is beautiful! I wish more people could experience this because it could help change the world for the better. And it makes me want to love and give to others every day!
So while I’ve been looking back on 2023, in a way I’m actually looking forward. Because I have gotten to see what wasn’t working for me anymore and am consciously making changes to get me on the path I want to be on. Try looking back on your life last year to see how you can live differently in the new year.
Happy New Year!