08 May Get inspired, be daring, grow whole
Every January I choose three words that represent how I want to feel by the end of the year. I don’t take this exercise lightly. I reflect on what I need to change, or double down on, to push my growth further. I use a list of “feeling adjectives” to guide me (see below), but I don’t limit myself to it. I write different word combinations, then change them as needed until I find one that resonates deeply.
These are my three words for how I want to feel at the end of 2019:
I have them on my whiteboard, in front of my computer, so I can see them daily. Everything I do gets measured against them. They embody what I need, right now, to evolve and live with purpose.
This is why:
I have battled with some degree of depression since I was a teenager —an illness that has a long history in my family. When I was younger, I tried to numb it with booze, and other self-destructive outlets. As I matured, I resorted to healthier methods, like therapy and meditation.
I’ve made progress, but I still fall regularly inside a black hole. Most often, the tools I’ve learned get me out in a day. But there are times when I stay down for a couple of weeks, and it seems like I’ll never get better.
Being a writer doesn’t help. All artists struggle with insecurity. It can also get lonely.
This year I decided to combat my moments of despair by drawing inspiration from other artists. My husband and I became members of two museums, and we go to art exhibits regularly. I also read more poetry, listen to inspiring podcasts, go to concerts by artists I’ve never seen before, and try to stay present when I walk my dog in nature. These activities soothe my soul and keep me inspired.
I grew up in a dictatorship that buried the voices of the opposition, and forbid use of languages other than Spanish. I came of age in a macho culture where women’s point of view did not count. At home, adapting to the tribe was enforced over individuality, and I didn’t feel seen or heard.
These experiences filled me with fear: the fear of being different, of being open, of taking risks.
My life has been a slow progression towards courage. And this year I want to throw caution to the winds, again. Choose my true path, not the easy path. Take risks, and fall on my face. Say no and protect my time. Not try to prove anything to anybody except myself. Be daring.
I’m done with hiding any part of me.
I’m done with hiding my age —not that I hid it before, but I didn’t proclaim it.
I’m done with hiding what I feel —and if that means my writing is too sentimental for certain publications, so be it.
I’m done with trying to be perfect — or seem perfect.
As Chip Conley says so wisely, we don’t grow old, we grow whole. I want to show myself to the world as I am, and I refuse to feel ashamed of my shortcomings.
When people read excerpts of my memoir, they comment on its frankness. Yes, I am honest. I don’t have anything to hide, not even the monster that lives inside me.
Here is the list I use for inspiration, courtesy of coach Shasta Nelson.
Which three adjectives define how you want to feel at the end of the year? And what are you ready to do to get there?