It’s been a tough year for us. As we approach the end, what I really want to do is slam the door shut while ‘Hit the Road Jack’ by Ray Charles blares in the background. I want to move on and never look back. The reality, though, is that all of the hardship this year brought will forever be engraved on my heart. So, as we count down the final days of this tough year, I’d like to bid it a proper farewell.
Farewell to judgment
This year, some of us lost parents or grandparents who we thought we had more time with. Others attended a memorial for a childhood friend, gone too soon. Too many of us were graced with a positive pregnancy test, only to endure another loss weeks or months later. Some of us lost our jobs, and some of us wondered what we were going to serve our kids for dinner because we only had $10 in our account until payday.
Regardless of the situation, life didn’t stop to let us catch up. We went about our daily lives while internally battling grief and sadness. And while next year will bring its own battles, the judgment we place on each other will be lessened. The silver lining of going through tough times like this is that it makes us more empathetic toward others. The next time I see a coworker struggling to get their work done or a mom walking out of the grocery store with a screaming toddler, I won’t be so quick to pass judgment. Because I’ve been there, I know there’s more going on than meets the eye.
Farewell to fear
Many of us dream of starting our own business but are afraid to invest in ourselves. Others may want to ask our employer for a pay raise or a flexible schedule but don’t know how to start the conversation. Or, it could be something smaller, like telling someone how you really feel or asking for help.
Fear can be debilitating. It can prevent you from going after the things you desperately want in life. This year, I’m bidding my fear farewell. I can’t get back all of the energy I’ve wasted, thinking about what could go wrong. But going forward, I can choose to redirect that energy. Rather than let fear stop me, I will use it as a guide for bettering myself. I will learn how to overcome that fear, and I will succeed at whatever I set my mind to.
Farewell to expectations
This year was not at all what I expected it to be. I can’t be alone in thinking that. There were expectations of promotions, fun family vacations, or finally getting around to organizing the pantry. Maybe there were expectations for our friendships or how our families should look at this point in our lives. Some of us even have the expectation that if we do everything we’re supposed to do, if we check all the boxes, nothing will go wrong.
The truth is, negative outcomes are an inevitable product of life. But, they do not define our lives. A rough day doesn’t have to mean it was a bad one. And a tough year doesn’t mean it was a bad year. Letting go of this notion has allowed me to see the blissful moments that were being overshadowed by my own expectations. It has allowed me to see this year for what it really was. Yes, it was a tough year, but it was still a good one.