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The blank page of a new year

Ready to write the new chapters of this year.

“This year I will be more thoughtful of my fellow man, exert more effort in each of my endeavors professionally as well as personally, take love wherever I find it, and offer it to everyone who will take it. In this coming year I will seek knowledge from those wiser than me and try to teach those who wish to learn from me. I love being alive and I will be the best man I possibly can –“

~Duane Allman, January 1, 1969 diary entry (from Please Be With Me, by Galadrielle Allman)

Is it already time to change the calendar to a new year? I know that there are still 24 hours in a day, but the days seem to sometimes move so quickly. And now that the new year is approaching, I’m ready for new possibilities and opportunities. A blank page to write new memories and notes.

This year I’m struggling to set concrete goals like I have in the past. Sure, I’d like to bike more, hike new trails, travel to new locations, spend more time with family and friends, try new activities and find new adventures. I want my career to continue to be satisfying. I hope love finds me and a man shows up because he chooses me, fell madly in love with me and seeks happiness and adventures (um, this isn’t an invitation for any random guy to show up at my door!). I want to help more people through my advocacy work and volunteering. I plan to keep learning about myself, what makes me happy, who should be in my life. I want to do things and be with people who let me give and receive love and joy, fill my soul with laughter.

Maybe those are my featured words of the new year, my trigger words to focus on as I decide where to spend my time and energy – LOVE. JOY. LAUGHTER.

I’m excited to see where the new year will lead me!

Between my cancer, surgeries, my dad’s cancer journey and death, relationships and life’s distractions, there were too many years when those words were not at the forefront of my thoughts, even though I wanted them to be. And then I remembered that I control where those words fit into my life, how those emotions impact my life. Me. I’m in control of my own life.  As you are. Everyone deserves happiness, love and laughter. Those emotions should come easily and plentifully in our everyday lives. And if they don’t? Clear signs to reevaluate and make changes.

Yes, I think those words will direct my goals for the new year. Does it makes me happy? Does this person bring joy and love to my life? Or drain my energies? Is my heart full of positive emotions? If not, what will I do to change it? Am I finding adventures that challenge me, yet make me laugh and enjoy life as we should? Am I settling because it’s easy and less effort? Or will it bring long term happiness?

I labeled 2017 as my Best.Year.Yet. And it was indeed good. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone physically, mentally and emotionally in many circumstances. I discovered being on my bike is an activity I thoroughly enjoy, surprising me and also pushing me to accomplish a lot. My heart opened to new possibilities, welcoming love and joy. I learned to let go of a lot, set boundaries with certain people, practiced saying ‘no’ to getting involved in too many things (still working on mastering this!) and tackled projects that really had no business being dragged out.

Is 2018 is the year to top it? Maybe my prince charming will be brave and find me, maybe my adventures will be plenty, maybe success will capture me in new ways, maybe Ruby (my road bike, of course) and I will exceed our fun. Wait a second. I’m going to remove ‘maybe’ from those phrases and state, YES, these things will happen. Positive thoughts bring positive people and outcomes, right?

A lot of events this year reminded me of how precious and short life is for all of us. As if I needed reminders as a cancer survivor and daughter who lost her dad to cancer. But sometimes we need ‘wake up calls.’ Reminders to not settle for less than happy, real love and contentment, who and what we truly want. And so with those reminders, saying good bye to special people, knowing friends who went through serious illnesses and surgeries, marking another year without my dad and a monumental milestone as a cancer survivor, I want to embrace all the opportunities this new year, this LIFE brings. I don’t want to ever settle because it’s easier. I don’t want to miss a chance at love because I hesitated. I don’t want to say no to something new because I was nervous or thought it might be too much work. Even if I take a chance at all these things and more, and it doesn’t work, I will always be able to say I tried. I’d rather that than wondering, “what if?”

I recently read the book Please Be With Me, a Song for My Father, Duane Allman by his daughter, Galadrielle Allman (read my review). It was an interesting, touching story about a man who was lost to his family, friends and the world much too early in his life. I love his writing from New Year’s Day in 1969, a personal goal for the new year (see above). It’s a reminder that none of us know what tomorrow, next month or next year will bring to us. We need to try to enjoy every day, or at the very least, be grateful for each day.

And that, my friends, is the exciting promise of a new year. A blank page. Ready to log those moments filled with courage, adventure, success, happiness, love, laughter. It’s yours to write! What will you choose? How does it start?

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