In exactly a month from now, I’ll be turning 25. I will officially be a quarter of a century old. As I sit here reflecting, I find I have mixed feelings about it. I’m not someone who worries about aging and getting older, to me age is simply a number. I believe in the old saying, “you’re only as old as you feel”, though I would revise it a bit to read more like “You’re only as old as you feel in your heart and soul”, because let’s face it, sometimes we feel OLD physically. ;) I can remember when 25 seemed so very far off, a whole lifetime away. For a while it seemed like I’d never reach 25. Now here I am on the verge of reaching that very age, and frankly I find myself disappointed and worried.
When you’re young, you tend to have this idea of what and where you’ll be when you hit 25. You think you’ll have the whole world conquered, life all figured out, and be totally settled. At least that’s what I always thought. I think that has a lot to do with how you’re raised and what you’re exposed to. I always thought I’d be settled in the profession of my choice and be at least semi successful at it by this age. I also thought I’d be married by now, and maybe even have a child or two. I look back on those expectations and laugh now…. But at the same time, I mourn the loss of those ideals. I’m not successful (monetary wise) at what I do, I’m not “settled”, I’m not married or even close to marrying, and I don’t have children… Seems I’ve racked up a big fat zero in the game of life. In the words of my father, “you’re 25 and what do you have to show for it?” The answer is a whole lot of nothing. I’ve got very little to show for 25 years of life… At least that’s what it seems like.
It’s amazing what 10 years can do. If you had asked me what I wanted out of life 10 years ago, I would have told you a comfortable house (white picket fence and all), a husband, children, and maybe a successful, practical job that I could be comfortable at. I thought I would conquer life and achieve all my dreams by the time I hit 25…. Little did I know that none of that would happen and more importantly, that I would soon learn that those weren’t my dreams at all, but what was expected of me. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to get married and have children, but I’m not sure I want them right this moment. I realize that some may have a hard time with that. I’m not sure why, but it seems that women are only thought successful if they hook themselves a husband and have babies. Now, don’t go jumping to conclusions, you can keep reading, I promise it’s safe. This isn’t coming from some crazy feminist fanatic. This is coming from a 25 year old woman (I laugh whenever I use that word in reference to myself, it just feels weird) who knows herself well enough to know that she’s just not ready for all of that yet. I can’t imagine having little lives that I’m responsible for right now. I’m not sure why we’re judged in this way. Why are we deemed inadequate or failures if we aren’t married with children right away?
I come from a family who went the traditional route. They all got married fairly young, and then had children, and again, I’m not knocking that route, I just found it wasn’t in God’s plan for me. My mother was married when she was 19, my dad was 21. She gave birth to four babies and raised 3 daughters. My parents are hard workers, and certainly have had their share of hard times and heartbreak. They lost my brother when we were three months old (we were triplets). Through ups and downs, job losses, car issues, you name it, they worked through it. They made it through 32 years of marriage. That’s admirable, especially these days. My mother went from her parents’ house to her husband’s house. She has told us numerous times through the years that she never really got to do what she wanted to do. She was always told what she should do and did what was expected of her. Therefore, needless to say, I think she has a hard time understanding me (and I know my father doesn’t, poor fella). I don’t seem to be very conventional and I’m certainly not doing what’s expected of me. I really feel sorry for my parents and I truly wish I could be what they want me to be. I wish I could have been that kid to go to college, earn a degree and then work in that field, get married, have children, and live the practical life that is usually expected. Unfortunately I don’t seem to be wired that way. I’ve tried it, believe me. I tried going a different route and choosing a more practical career field, it just never panned out for me. It’s heartbreaking to know that you’re not what your parents want, that you can’t live up to their hopes for you. It weighs on the old heart, believe me, but it’s a weight some of us have to carry, simply because we don’t seem destined to ever live up to others’ standards.
The topic of marriage and children have come up a lot over the years, starting when I turned 18 all the way to now, and it comes up more frequent the older I get. It appears that I have the sole responsibility of providing my parents with grandchildren, I’m not sure why. I have two sisters, one is the same age as me (twin) and the other is 17. When the subject comes up, it’s always focused on ME not being married or having children yet. It has always puzzled me. You can bet there are more than a few barbs thrown my way about not being married or having children yet. I realize that they may not be meant as barbs, but playful jabs, but in reality, that’s what they feel like. You see, I’m well aware of how old I am. I’m also starkly aware of the fact that I don’t have a husband or children yet. I don’t need that reminder, believe me. When I was a little younger, early twenties, I just let them roll off, telling myself I had loads of time. But now, admittedly it’s harder to let them roll off. I know I’m pushing time. I know I’m in my prime childbearing years. I KNOW. I get all of that, but I can’t see rushing into something I’m not ready for and don’t want right now, just because I’m getting older.
I use to worry and agonize over this, wondering when or if I would ever get married and have babies. Not anymore. I’ve come to realize that if it’s in God’s plan then it will happen in his time, if it’s not, then I’ll have to deal with that. Personally I hope it is in His plan, but at the same time, I won’t die of a broken heart if it’s not…. Which is more than I can say for my mother (I formally apologize to her if that’s the case!) Right now I’m quite content to be a dog mom. :)
Another thing that puzzles me is people thinking that you’re lonely and unhappy if you’re single. My kid sister is a big one for this. She seems to think that I’m just this lonely old woman who is desperately unhappy simply because I’m single. It’s almost laughable, all the little jabs she throws out in regards to this subject. In reality, I’m quite content in my singleness. I’m not crying myself to sleep at night over it. To be honest, I’ve been happier being single these past few years than I ever was in any of my relationships. I don’t need someone to be happy or to make me happy. I don’t need someone to “complete me”. I’m very happy on my own, I make my own happiness. I don’t feel any less complete being single. If or when I choose to get married, it will be because I truly love the guy and WANT him, not because I NEED him. I’d much rather have someone who wants me than someone who needs me. Let’s face facts, if you’re only with someone because you need them, it probably won’t last. You can find someone else to fulfill that need, but if you’re with someone because you want to be with them, then you’re together by choice. Want is a better foundation than Need in my humble opinion.
I’ll be 25 in a month, and then in 5 years I’ll be 30. I use to think 30 was way off. I said earlier that 25 once seemed like a lifetime away, well 30 seemed like two lifetimes away. Now that I’m a little older, I realize just how fast time goes. 5 years seemed so long when we were in school, but now, 5 years isn’t long at all, and it’ll be over before we know it. I’ve been out of school (high school) for 7 years now. Most of the time I can’t believe it, it just doesn’t seem like 7 years have passed, but then there are the occasions when I look back and it FEELS like it’s been all those years and more. I know 30 will come fast. The reason I think 25 is such a big deal is because it seems to be that “last call” for adulthood, so to speak. When you hit 25, it’s time to buckle down and get things done. It’s time to figure life out and get settled in time for 30. You’re expected to be totally ready and settled into adult life by the time you hit 30. Which is yet another reason why 25 holds so much pressure. If you don’t have it together by 25, it means that you only have 5 quick years to get it together. I’ve got a lot of work to do! I also have a lot of decisions to make. The main one being: Do I continue on this path of following a dream and a passion, or do I fold and go to a different, more practical path? Do I hold out “just in case” it all works out, or do I give up and always have that “what if” in the back of my mind?
I had made a decision the week leading up to 2017 that I would take this year and just follow where I felt God leading me. I promised myself that I wouldn’t make any of my own plans or try to plan my own course, but instead follow God’s path for me and listen wholeheartedly to where He was leading me. I had given up this path numerous times in the past, deciding to take different, more practical routes instead, but God put roadblocks up every single time. No matter what I tried, He always turned me back to the path He wanted me on. I gave it my best shot and tried to be practical. I tried to do something that I thought I could be happy at all the while making my parents proud… but none of it worked out. Something always got in the way. So I’ve finally decided to listen to God and follow His lead. It’s not practical, it’s not lucrative, and it’s a little scary. I can’t see down this road and around the bend. I don’t know if it will all work out or if I’ll ever find success with it. I just don’t know. What I do know is that God is always faithful. He wouldn’t lead me down this road unless it was good for me. Who knows, there may come a time when I reach another bend and go down a different route, but at least I’ll know it’s where I’m suppose to go. Now I’m not saying I don’t get impatient or worry from time to time, because I still do, even though I try not to. This past week has found me wondering whether I should ditch this path yet again and try to make my way down a more practical path. I’ll be 25 in a month and have nothing to show for it…… I have learned a great deal about myself over the last 7 years, I have made incredible friends, I’ve made contacts in the field I want to be in, and I have worked up quite a portfolio… but as far as “success” goes, I don’t have much to show for it. So I’m back to the question: Do I continue on this path of following a dream and a passion, or do I fold and go to a different, more practical path?
I’m pushing time and racing the clock……. Do I risk wasting my last 5 years until I’m 30 or do I go for the practical?
I’ve met some folks who say that I’m a dreamer
and I’ve no doubt there’s truth in what they say..
-Isle of Inisfree
Something my mother said a few nights ago really struck me. We were talking about a situation involving my kid sister and her boyfriend, and the dreams that both of them had for their future (which at that moment weren’t really matching up). During this conversation, my mother said that ultimately, at some point in life you just have to grow up and forget about your dreams, and move on to “real life”. That just struck me as an incredibly depressing statement. It’s no secret that I’ve always been a dreamer, my grandmother was one and she had a huge impact on the first 13 years of my life. My grandmother was in her 70s and she still talked about her dreams. They were as alive for her then as they were when she was in her 20s. That was something that always impressed me, her ability to dream no matter what, even when it was quite clear that she’d never achieve those dreams. Now, some people may see that as foolhardy, hanging onto dreams that will never come true, and admittedly, they do have a point in the practical sense. But I just can’t seem to bring myself to believe that we should just give up our dreams. I find the idea of a life without dreams extremely depressing and not worth living. Then again, I’m a dreamer…
My mother’s statement has been rolling around in my mind since that night. I often wonder about it, in the sense that she has always seemed to be supportive of our (her children) dreams. Outwardly she has always been supportive of my writing and photography, and whatever else takes my fancy. She supported me when I broke the news to her 7 years ago that I would not be going to college right out of high school, the college that I had two scholarships to. She supported me through my “wilderness” years where I pretty much floundered around as I tried to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life (while the rest of my family scratched their heads and got a tad worried). She supported me when I decided to get my certificate in photography (which was what I was going to go to college for anyway). She supported me when I started writing for a few blogs and websites, and DIDN’T use that new certification in photography. She supported me when I decided to go back to college to pursue a double major in Psychology and Christian Ministries and was ecstatic when I achieved a 4.0 my first semester. She even supported me when I decided to take YET ANOTHER detour and take a break from school once again. AND she supported me yet again when I decided that I wasn’t cut out for psychology after all and decided to take this year as an exploration year to chase after that lifelong dream of mine: Writing… ultimately I suppose if you had to put me in a box, it’d have to be the “artist” box, and believe me, I use that term very lightly in reference to myself. Through everything, my mother supported me wholeheartedly….. At least that’s what I thought. It seemed like she did. Her words told me she did, but then she came out with that statement that night a few days ago and it left me wondering….Does she really support me? Or does she think I should give up the dreams and start doing something practical?
It’s hard to explain yourself to others, especially when they don’t look at life the same way you do. My parents have always been very practical people, the “you need a plan” kind of people. Don’t get me wrong, being practical isn’t a bad thing at all, in fact most of the time it’s downright necessary, and you definitely need some sort of a plan for life…. But that’s where my parents and I part ways on the ol’ outlook on life. I believe in being practical and having a plan, but I also believe in chasing and believing in your dreams. I’d rather spend the rest of my life scraping out a living chasing a dream, than to spend it doing something I hate or don’t enjoy. It’s a fate worse than death to me. That may sound ridiculous and naïve to some (I’m looking at you planners and realists). I consider myself quite practical and rational in most ways, but I do have quite a bit of dreamer in me that tends to be more dominant. I’m not much of a sharer by nature (which is why this blog is totally a step out of the ol’ comfort zone), if someone at a family reunion or at church asks me what I’m doing, I’ll most likely answer with a quick “nothing” or “not much”, rather than have to stand there and try to explain…. No I’m not kidding. This drives my mother crazy, to the point where if she’s with me, she’ll actually try and explain what I’m doing to whoever asked. It’s comical really. It’s been brought to my attention a lot lately that my family has absolutely no clue what I’ve been doing these last few years and what my plans are, to the point where they’re totally surprised when they stumble upon something I am doing or am planning to do. That’s absolutely my fault. Again, I’m not a sharer. I prefer to stick to myself. I’m not very good at boasting about my accomplishments and what not, I feel weird about it. Not to mention the fact that whenever you do start talking about such things, there’s always that inevitable “so what are your long term plans?” and then of course the disapproval or getting shot down thing. So I just make it a rule to keep my mouth shut most of the time, it saves time.
I brought up the thing about my mother answering for me, simply because I’ve always found it odd, her need to “explain me”. She does it a lot, and I’m sure she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it. You can tell that she’s trying her best to explain it in such a way that sounds like I’m being a normal human being and accomplishing loads, when I’m really not (normal that is). I’m quite positive that she wishes she had a normal kid who went off to college, got a degree, is currently working in the field of said degree, and is now either married with kids already or at least on the verge of being married….. Alas, I’m not. The topics of marriage and kids come up quite regularly these days. My mother married when she was 18, and has been a housewife and mother for roughly 26 years now. *Now before anyone freaks out, I’m in no way disrespecting or looking down on being a housewife or a mom, in fact it’s the hardest job out there and I have a great respect for those who do it, I’m just giving you background* I’m on the verge of turning 25 and have yet to get married or have children. There are definitely a few barbs (though most are not meant to be barbs, rather funny jabs) thrown my way on a regular basis because of this. The older I get, the harder it is to let those jabs roll off. But that’s a subject for a whole different post!
Anyway back to the subject at hand. I find myself wondering whether my parents really do support me in my dreams or if they would rather I’d drop them and just go out and be normal. My father is more straight forward, I know he’s totally worried that I’m going to be a loser and flounder the rest of my life, though I believe he wants to be supportive of my endeavors, it’s just that his practical nature and the way that he was raised is hard to argue with. But my mother, she’s harder to read. She’s supportive to my face, but I often wonder if she feels the same way in private/behind my back. It sucks when you don’t think the people you’re closest to support you. I can live without understanding, but it’s always nice to know someone supports you. I’d rather someone be straight forward and say “hey, I think you’re wasting your time” than pretend to support me, but in reality doesn’t. Like I said, it’s hard to read my mother. She and I are definitely birds of a different feather. I’ve always felt more like my dad, or at least closer in the sense that I think I’m more like him to a degree. I feel there’s an understanding between us, or at least I feel I understand him more. I love my mother dearly don’t get me wrong, I’m just not very good at reading her.
The truth of the matter is I feel that God has been taking me on this journey of exploration these past 7 years, and He’s not quite done yet. I know without a single doubt that I was not meant to go to college right out of high school. I’ve learned so much about myself and what I want in life over the last few years. I know I love photography, but I’m not sure I can make a living at it. I thought I could go get a degree in psychology because I’ve always been good with helping others and have a desire to do so. The degree in Christian Ministries would also allow me to help others and work in a field I feel passionate about. But here’s the thing, just because you’re passionate about something, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cut out for it. I’ve tried the practical route. I’ve tried to make my own plans in life, but never thought to consult God while making those plans. But here’s the really amazing thing, which at the time I thought was downright awful: God kept throwing up road blocks and making dead ends to every single one of my plans and routes. He gave me a hellish summer to prove to me that I was not cut out to work in psychology full time, but with that, He also dropped a few surprises that reminded me of my real passion. He put a dream on my heart that I can’t ignore. It’s been there since I was a child. I always go back to it, and I find that every time I go back to it, another avenue opens up. It’s not practical right now, it won’t get me rich, heck it won’t even support me right now, but for a reason that only God knows, He wants me on this path. I just finally decided to listen and follow. None of my plans worked out, so maybe His will. ;) That’s why I’ve decided to take this year (2017) and just follow His lead. I’m not going to make my own plans or try to force things, I’m just going to walk down the path He has provided and see where it takes me. It’s not easy to trust and have faith when you can’t see the end result, BUT God is always faithful… You can take that to the bank. So I’m going to keep dreaming for a while longer, with God’s help, it just may pan out! ;) After all, why would He make me a dreamer with some big dreams if He didn’t intend to make good on them?
“If you don’t jump, you’ll never know if you can fly”- Miranda Lambert
The name Sophia means “wisdom” in Greek and is also the name of one of the greatest actresses to ever grace the silver screen. At the time I gave that name to her, I had no idea how fitting it would be. Her story starts in Kentucky, where she was born, and has presently found her in New York. She was born in a shelter in Kentucky to a mother who was brought to the shelter as a cruelty case. According to her papers, the mother had been left chained outside with no food or water. She was severely underweight, was raw around the neck from the chain, and to top it all off, she was pregnant with 5 babies. The beautiful creature that holds my heart was born on December 6, 2010, 3 states away. That same day, I was home in Upstate New York just trying to figure out how to navigate real life, having graduated from high school 6 months prior. I had no idea that my life would drastically change in just a little over 2 months.
Sometimes you have no idea that you’re drowning until someone throws you a life preserver. She was my life preserver.
Prior to her coming into my life, I was unemotional, distant, and closed off. I was scared to death of allowing anyone or anything near my heart because I didn’t want to feel the pain. I had been stung several times before by some really bad relationships in high school mixed with a severe blow to my heart as a result of the passing of my beloved grandmother, coupled with my naturally quiet, introverted nature, it resulted in the closing off of my heart and my distancing myself from anyone who could possibly get through the wall I had built around myself. I wasn’t an affectionate person, not because I didn’t want to be, but because I was scared stiff of expressing any kind of affection due to the fear of rejection or experiencing pain later on, after I had already gotten attached. I told myself a million times that I didn’t need anyone, that I was perfectly fine on my own. I didn’t think there was a problem with the way I was conducting my “heart life”, so as the saying goes, why fix something that ain’t broke? It’s truly amazing how we can go on living and doing and not realize that something is broken until someone walks up and hands us a wrench and some superglue.
Somewhere between December 6, 2010 and February 14, 2011, she was shipped from the Kentucky shelter where she was born to a shelter here in New York. I’m not sure why she was shipped here, maybe overcrowding? I believe it was by the hand of Providence. God knew I needed someone to break through that wall of mine and he knew that this sweet, furry creature was the only one that could. I’m always amazed at how He works and makes things happen. You see, I was never really a dog person (something anyone who has only known me since having Sophia wouldn’t believe). I liked dogs, don’t get me wrong, I was just never someone who wanted a dog for my own. I grew up with family dogs, and my aunts, uncles, and grandparents all had dogs, but for me, I never had the desire to have one of my own. My twin sister on the other hand loved dogs, and had always wanted one. Her first dog was a Golden Retriever named Lady, she was a stray that was found in a field. Fast-forward to 2011, my sister who had lost her latest dog a few years prior was looking to get another dog. Yes, that’s right, Sophia was originally supposed to be my sister’s. She had found a puppy that she was interested in and was going to drive the two hours to take a look at her, and she asked if I would go with her. So on Valentine’s Day 2011 we made the two hour trip in a snow storm to go see this puppy. Looking back, I find it incredibly fitting that we got her on Valentine’s Day, because she ended up stealing my heart. (Valentine’s just happened to be a day that both parties had off). A little back story on how we found her: My sister had a mutual friend with a woman who worked at the shelter where Sophia was, that shelter was planning on getting rid of Sophia for some reason or other, so the woman took her home, planning on finding the puppy a home herself.
When we got to the woman’s apartment, we found Sophia hiding under the kitchen table with a kitten. She was scared to death of everything and they ended up dragging her out from under the table so we could see her (which immediately caused me to feel bad for her). My sister informed me in a hushed tone that she wasn’t so sure she wanted the puppy after all, with her being so skittish and all. Ashley (my sister) was use to happy, playful, outgoing puppies and dogs. She wasn’t interested in a “special case”. As soon as I saw that cute little face, I felt compelled to take her home, so I talked my sister into getting her. She rode the two hour trip home in my arms (Ashley was driving), and was absolutely perfect. She was the perfect passenger and slept most of the way home with her head hidden in my coat. We got her all settled in at home and quickly learned several things: 1) She was scared of EVERYTHING. 2) She felt safest in small, covered places like behind the couch or in her crate. And 3) She was scared of her own water dish. I worked with her a bit and found out that she was scared of the water dish because it was metal and the sound of the metal on her collar hitting the dish whenever she drank scared her. It was a problem easily solved, we just got her a plastic water dish, one that she still uses today (she’s a creature of habit). We also started picking out a name for her. Several names were thrown around including Juliet in honor of Valentine’s Day, but none of them seemed to fit. My mother threw out the name Sophie, and it was the one that seemed closest to fitting her…… But then I came up with Sophia, as in Sophia Loren (the name of the Old Hollywood legendary Italian actress). Sophia seemed to fit her and she seemed to respond to that one the best as well. So Sophia it was.
Now, again, the puppy was still technically Ashley’s dog at this point. Two days after bringing Sophia home, my sister left for two weeks on a house-sitting job, which left me to take care of Sophia. My sister was gone the majority of the time that year, rarely spending anytime at home, and when she was home she rarely spent time with her new puppy. That left me to take care of her and train her. Through learning all of Sophia’s quirks and preferences, and training her, she soon bonded to me and not my sister. I potty trained her, I taught her how to approach anything new to her in a way that made her feel safe but also helped her acclimate herself with it, I taught her not to be afraid of every single thing and that she could trust that this environment was a safe one. I also taught her how to sit, stay, and come, and how to ring the bells on the door that I had placed there to let us know when she wanted to go out, because she had yet to learn to tell us in any other way. We were together literally 24/7 that first year (and have been pretty much inseparable ever since). I learned about her needs and how to read her body language, she learned how to read mine, but more importantly, she learned how to get to me in a way that no one else could. Looking back on that first year, I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it happened, but somewhere along the way, Sophia managed to break right through that wall around my heart without me even knowing it. I didn’t realize what had happened until it was too late. I was already totally and completely attached to that beautiful little furry creature. It was clear whose dog Sophia really was, and with that, my sister signed ownership over to me…… and to think, just a year ago I didn’t think I wanted a dog! ;)
It has been just under 6 years now and I cannot imagine life without my furry baby. I taught her to be braver and gave her security and love, and she taught me about unconditional love and patience. She taught me that showing affection is healthy and feels really good, and it’s also a necessity. She is treated like the princess she is, totally spoiled rotten (as it should be). She quickly took charge of the house hold and even made friends with my mother’s toy poodle, Jackson, who was less than enthused when she first arrived. She has wormed her way into the hearts of every single member of my family. None of us could possibly imagine life without her. She not only broke through my walls, she also demolished them. There’s an old saying “It is better to have loved and lost, then to have never loved at all”. I never really believed this saying and, quite frankly, didn’t see the logic in it. Why risk the pain? Since Sophia came along, I can understand that saying. I know that when the day comes when God decides to take her, it will hurt…. And by hurt I mean I’ll be a complete basket case. It’s going to hurt like no other hurt on earth…… but I’ve come to realize that it will be worth the pain. I’m so blessed to have these years with my Sophia, to have experienced the pure love of this dog. It’ll be hard to let her go, but it would have been much worse had I never experienced her at all. I hope everyone gets the chance at least once in their life to experience the love of a dog, it’s the best kind of love.
I have a lot of people comment on my ridiculous, crazy love for this dog. They can’t understand how I can love this dog like my own flesh and blood child. The thing is I can’t begin to explain it to someone who has never experienced it for themselves. She is my best friend, my constant companion, my confidant, my sidekick. She’s always up for anything, as long as she gets to be with me. She goes hiking and walking through the mountains and woods with me, she loves rides in the car, she picnics with me, sleds with my kid sister, plays in the snow with us, and adores going on our annual daddy-daughter camping trip. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect dog. She’s a diva, no doubt about it, she’s incredibly smart (maybe a little too smart haha), and it’s usually her way or the highway, but then again, her way is always more fun. ;) Yes, Sophia is a very fitting name for this photogenic, intelligent, furry diva. I thank God every day for sending her to me. He knew we needed each other. <3
It’s official, 2017 is here. Let’s hope this year is a lot better than last. I pray that anyone reading this will have a safe and happy year filled with love, joy, and laughter, because after all, that’s the only way to go through life. I hope all of you have an extraordinary year, but remember, ultimately we are responsible for the year that we have. We may not be able to have total control over what happens during this next year, but we do have control over how we react to situations and how we face them. We can choose to have a negative attitude about things and wallow in our defeats, or we can face life head on with a positive outlook and a can-do attitude. We can choose to pick ourselves up every single time we get knocked down. We can choose to keep pushing even when we feel like we don’t have the strength to keep doing so. We can choose to keep dreaming, trying, and moving forward, no matter what.
I have a very good feeling about 2017, I’m not sure why, but I feel like this year will be a brand new chapter, a turn in the bend. I’m looking forward to it. There may be struggles (because what would life be without struggles to remind us of how precious the good times are?), but I truly believe that this year will be fruitful…. This year is going to be different. You want to know why? It’s because I’m choosing to make it different. I’ve spent the past year making my own plans and trying to make things happen. At every dead-end or roadblock, I’d press on and either try to climb over the darn thing or try a different route/path. But alas God seems to have other things in mind (after all, he keeps putting up roadblocks to my plans and paths). I’ve felt him strongly push me down one particular path, but it’s a path I’m scared to take. It’s not practical nor is it easy, but it seems that neither factors into His plan. So, after spending years trying everything else I can think of, it’s finally gotten through my thick skull to trust in Him and go where He leads. So this year is going to be different because I’m finally handing over the steering wheel to Him completely.
Though I don’t generally make New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve made a few for this year. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because 2016 was so horrible and draining that I felt I needed a change. Maybe it’s because I’ll be turning 25 this year and feel like I need to take life in hand (or rather give it completely over to God) and start living it to the fullest. Most likely it’s both reasons.
When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, most people fall into one of two categories: They either make them and then get depressed when they can’t follow through or they don’t make them at all. I use to fall into the latter category, not seeing much point in making resolutions. I think the reason most people screw up on the resolution thing is because they’re not realistic in what they want to achieve. We have to sit down and think, “Can I really achieve this within a year?” or “am I truly capable of getting this done before the end of the year?” As I mentioned in my first post (Writing Just In Case: An Introduction), I’ve made a few resolutions that I can finish or achieve by the end of 2017, and I’ve made a few long term ones, ones that I probably or definitely won’t get done before the end of the year, but ones that I can at least get a start on and work on throughout the year. In the spirit of honesty and openness, I’m going to share a few of each with you:
Fun/short-term (will finish) resolutions for 2017:
- Learn to play the fiddle – I’ve always wanted to learn, but talked myself out of it a million times, fear of failure and all that.
- Learn to Quilt or Knit (or both) - I just think it would be fun. I already know how to sew and crochet.. I’ve always loved Quilts.
- Complete Bible in a year plan. – Simply because I love God’s word and want to do this.
- Read 100 Books by the end of 2017 – Just because I can haha
Long-term/serious resolutions for 2017:
- Change my name – I’ve wanted to do this since I was 16, I think it’s about time I did it, but it costs $300 to do it. Yikes!
- Be healthier, continue to take care of myself – for obvious reasons (and this is more a continuation from year to year), along with not so obvious reasons (you’ll soon learn if you keep following).
- Write a book (or at least get a good start on it and keep working on it) – I’ve always wanted to write books, and have several stories in me, but I’ve always talked myself out of it, so this year is going to be different…. Hopefully I can muster up the courage.
- Make some plans – Vague isn’t it ;)
I have my resolutions written out on a piece of paper that is pinned to my bulletin board, and at the bottom of this list I’ve written something that I believe is important: “Above all else: Keep trying and pressing on, and don’t lose faith, in God or yourself”. I wish this for all of you.
Happy New Years To All! :)
Born and raised in Upstate NY, Liz is a freelance writer. She has written for websites, blogs, and magazines for the last 10 years. She also acts as a proofreader and beta reader for several authors, all the while working on her first book.