The paperwork will be stamped by a judge this week, meaning the new year brings with it my new reality: I am a divorcee. I am not going to say that ending a long relationship is easy or without its emotional ups and downs, but I can say that I feel strangely fine. I'm happy and I feel hopeful about the future. Prone to either ruminate on the past or worry about the future, I am working on being present in the moment. This moment is all that I have. Instead of self-critique, I will self-create. My mantra: Who am I? Who do I want to be?
Every year I choose a word to be my theme. In 2012, it was "courage" - to make changes, to be on my own, to start my private practice. In 2013, it was "strength" - to persist when life got hard, to push myself physically, to resist what was not in my best interest. In 2014, my word is "become". I will have a milestone birthday this year, and with that comes a sense of "the time is now." I can't wait for the perfect relationship, or until I have more money, or until I lose weight ... I'm not waiting. I will be my own beloved.
Here are my resolutions for the coming year. What are yours?
I WILL REACH THE MOUNTAINTOP
I love hiking, and I don't live far from Crowders Mountain State Park, yet I've never been to the summit. It's something I had planned to do in 2013, but I wanted to do it with someone. I imagined getting to the top, breathing in the view, and enjoying a lovely picnic lunch with a friend, or maybe even a lover. It was an experience I wanted to share. I've never climbed a mountain! But I can't keep waiting for a cute sherpa to lead the way.
I WILL TRAVEL
I am determined to spend my birthday somewhere gloriously sensual - full of aromas, textures and music. The plan is for my sister to join me for a first-ever sisters-only celebration, but even if that doesn't work out, I will go solo. It's a bright, beautiful world out there and I want to experience it. Who knows? Maybe I will have my own Eat, Pray, Love trifecta!
I WILL VOLUNTEER AND HELP OTHERS
Sex and love can be difficult in the best of situations. For far too many women, abuse at the hands of their lover has confused their ideas about what love and healthy relationships should look like. In the new year, I am going to volunteer at The Shelter of Gaston County and help women live free from fear and abuse.
I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR CRYING
I have been chastised by men because I cry too easily. Sure, sometimes I am sad or frustrated. I think tears are a perfectly fine way of letting go. But sometimes I cry because I'm feeling especially human. Feeling human, for me, means I am aware of the beauty and the pain of life, at the same time. The world is so beautiful, and life is so short.
I WILL PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Research shows that an attitude of gratitude leads to a happier and healthier life, and who doesn't want that? I have so much to be thankful for. In fact, I have put a large jar on my dining room table and plan to put in notes throughout the year of the magical and wonderful things that fill my life - the people, the experiences, the poems, the belly laughs, the gadgets, the sunny days, the new favorite scarf. My life is full of goodness.
I WILL EXPECT LOVE
Dating is hard, but I remain optimistic. I believe we create our own reality by our beliefs, which become our thoughts, which become our words and actions. I believe I am worthy of love. And now, more than ever, I realize that love will come into my life in many forms. My role is not to orchestrate it, but to allow it. I can't control other people or their emotions. The only person I need to manage (for lack of a better word) is myself. If I remain open and trusting and loving, then I can expect that love will manifest itself.