It seems insane to me that 2023 is almost at an end and there have been many discussions over the last few weeks on how quickly this year has “just flown by.” However, as we assess the year and reflect on the months and weeks, all we hoped for, of what was, and what was not, we often arrive at a sobering realization. Just as in every year past, this year had 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, and (you had to know this was coming)…525,600 minutes.
“How do you measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year in the life?” (“Seasons of Love,” Rent)
Every year we have the same amount of time. And every year we tend to focus on the goals and intentions left unmet, time wasted, and wounds yet unhealed. Even when we are aware there are plenty of professional accomplishments and beautiful moments also accumulated in the archives of 2023, they often do not hold the same weight. Both our wins and losses for the year seem to total on a blinding mental scoreboard and bring with them a gaggle of emotions. Yet, in honor of Holiday Spirit and the inevitable end-of-the-year sprint, we desperately try to maintain composure… we resist.
I‘ll deal with it after the first of the year.
I’ll start after Thanksgiving.
There’s no point in thinking of it now.
I don’t want to distract from the holidays.
I don’t want to brag.
I don’t have time to deal with this.
Enter the Chinese Finger Trap and its infinite wisdom.
Here is the first lesson the Chinese Finger Trap has to offer. When we pull our fingers away quickly from this perplexing little toy, it tightens its grip around our fingers and makes it nearly impossible to escape. The same is true when we resist, dismiss, or pull away from our emotions. They intensify and dig in under the surface, heightening stress and anxiety, and perpetuating emotional turmoil. In turn, there are also repercussions for not taking the time to acknowledge our wins and joyful experiences. Every time we resist celebrating a job well done or dilute the joy of a moment, we deepen the fangs of self-doubt or loneliness, of unworthiness.
Do not despair! This quirky little toy puzzle does not leave us trapped! It also illustrates the way out. As you wiggle your fingers inward, toward each other, the mysterious woven bamboo loosens. Leaning into our experiences also affords us true emotional freedom and full living. Allowing yourself the space and time to respect, and embrace the whole of you is the only way to live free.
Sit and lick your wounds for a bit. This isn’t wallowing or whining, it is cleansing and necessary to heal and move on. Open your mind about a goal or intention that hasn’t come to be and kick around a new perspective. Take the time to decide if you want to continue forward or take it off the table altogether. Then rest in that decision. This one I cannot stress enough, because it permeates through everything else… Take and celebrate every win, DELIBERATELY. Allow EVERY moment of joy its time in the spotlight. Let your accomplishments and flashes of happiness fuel your confidence, settle your mind, and provide a safe place for you to rest.
A place where you can step out of the trap set by resistance and be free of the baggage of “shoulda-woulda-coulda” and its mouthy cousin “shouldn’t-wouldn’t-couldn’t.”
You are a unique, complex, beautifully scarred, successful human being. You are here. You are an intricate tapestry of every moment in your life up to, and including, this one. The 3-year-old you without a care in the world, the curious 10-year-old, the rebellious teenager, the hot-mess-express 23-year-old that blew her life up trying to break free, (Ok, that one was me.), the 35-year-old in the weeds of life, you in the mirror this morning. They are all just You in all your glorious you-ness and you deserve to own that truth and the magic you alone offer this world.
Here is my challenge to you: Give yourself a break. Let up on the reigns. Let your hair down. Chillax. Take a load off. Paint the town. Slow your roll. Take it easy. Let it go. Let it be. Dance like no one is watching. Raise a glass.
And for the love of all that is holy… Hold on Loosely.
I would be remiss in letting this moment go without a little something Special.
This blog is a personal collection of my thoughts, wins, losses, memories, and crossroad moments. Almost all of which were hashed out around my kitchen counter and in my journals. If any of it resonates with you and you are ready to empower your inner badass and move into your Next with confidence, I can help. It’s time… Click the link and Let’s chat.