Word of the Year
A post by Austin blogger Tolly Moseley inspired me to rethink New Years resolutions. They usually only last a week anyhow and include abstract goals such as “write more!” Tolly talked about how she instead chooses a word of the year to serve as a sort of theme and goal to base her decisions around.
My 2012 Word of the Year is: Independence.
Some recent life changes, including graduating from college, have spurred me (or forced, one could say) to reevaluate how I’ve been living my life. It is terrifyingly easy to let time slide by and just be okay with the way things are. College, although it presents its own opportunities for self-exploration, can facilitate this drift-along feeling of things being okay because it is simultaneously a bubble and a safety net. You have to try hard to really screw things up.
Graduating from college, however, you begin to realize the overwhelming sensation that it is all on you now. The room for screwing up is much more limited. The opportunities available suddenly feel both a lot more diverse and a lot more narrow. I feel like I can move anywhere I want and start whatever kind of life I desire. This is an intoxicating feeling to dwell on for a while. There are, of course, a new set of limitations that accompany this freedom. Money is most likely number one. The money, usually accompanied by responsibilities to others, is a heavy reminder of those limitations.
I have to say, as stressful and bipolar as it can make me feel, I love this feeling. Although there are limitations, the doors have also opened. For the first time, I feel like my choices are all mine to make. I will screw them up and I will make successes out of them but I am ready. I’m also not ready, but that’s not worth agonizing over because things will move on regardless.
I have spent a while now being dependent on others in many senses. Weird, embarrassing personal fact: I don’t have my license and I’m 21. I’ve been dependent on a significant other, friends, family and the Austin bus system to get where I need to be. Today, standing behind a few 15 and 16-year-olds, I got my permit. That is my first step toward Word of the Year accomplishment.
I also tend to be dependent on the moods, feelings and opinions of others (although I’d bet many of us struggle with this). I over analyze things like nobody’s business and have overwhelmingly strong people-pleasing tendencies. This is a rather dangerous combination when trying to make my own decisions. Part of adhering to my Word of the Year is making steps to becoming stronger and more confident within myself. My confidence is elusive; it comes out when I’m praised or when I feel good on a certain day. It is easily challenged and can almost disappear when I start to struggle with something or a situation is not ideal. At the same time, I know I will feel stronger within myself as I experience and live.
If I dwell on the feelings I’ve described above, it’s amazing how quickly I’m brought down. Sometimes, when I get caught up in the those feelings of insecurity, simply doing something helps. My “doing something” today came in the form of more job applications, but be something less “productive” like grabbing drinks with a friend (something I also did).
It seems like part of feeling truly independent is learning to deal with those feelings of doubt and insecurity. Here is to our words of 2012 - both mine and yours.