Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2012: One Word

Last year in December, I participated, off and on, with some Reverb ‘10 prompts. My favorite prompt was the first one which had me think of a word to describe 2010 and think of another one to describe what I wanted my 2011 to resemble.

For 2011, I chose the word risk. I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and into waters I don’t normally venture to. I’m not sure risk is the right word to describe this year. While I took some risks for sure, I think a better word to describe this year is change. My life has changed drastically over the past twelve months. I can’t even remember what 2010 Stephany was like.

2011 was about growing up and maturing. Graduating from college, securing my first post-college job, growing into my skin a little more. I started to realize that I’m ultimately responsible for my own happiness, but also that it’s OK to be sad and let your emotions get the better of you. I learned that it’s OK to be human.

I began to take notice of my anxiety issues and realize that these things I feel are not normal behavior. I’ve spent the past couple of years telling myself this is just a part of who I am. I’m just a worrywart. I would have to deal with that. But I’m beginning to see and understand that I don’t have to live in this constant cycle of fear. Living without it, or even learning better coping skills when the anxiety attacks hit, is a possibility.

I missed my dad a lot this year. The anger is leaving and in it’s place is a broken heart. I’m sad that he’s missing out on a wonderful relationship we could have had. While the hurt and emotional beatings he gave to me are still in my heart, I can’t help but reminisce on the good times we had. Because when he was in a good mood, it was real good. He was funny and charming and sweet and everything a girl would want out of her father. I miss that. He shattered my heart when he walked out of my life willingly and I think he’s the only one who can pick up the pieces and put it back together.

I began to appreciate myself more this year. I took notice of my strengths and began to realize what I imagined were weaknesses were actually strengths that the world had told me were weaknesses. Being an introvert isn’t a weakness. It’s just who I am.

I also began to question a lot of things. Faith. Family. Career ambitions. How to achieve my best life possible. I discovered I’m not all that interested in leading a life that looks like everyone else’s. I only have one life to live and I want to live it well.

I stalled on my attempts to get to a healthy weight but exercised consistently and tried my hardest to eat well when I could. I started to make healthier decisions, even when they were hard. I may not have gotten to where I wanted to be, but I never gave up. And I won’t.

I’ve been thinking on my word for 2012 for a while now. I had to decide what I wanted out of this upcoming year. I had to visualize December 2012 Stephany: what did she look like? How did she feel? What are the immediate emotions that emanate from my body as I look in on her?

My word for 2012 is health.

Physical health - I want to work on my eating and exercise habits. While I exercise consistently, I know I need to ramp up the intensity and length of my workouts. I tend to play it safe with my workouts, especially lately. Most importantly, I want to learn to eat a more healthy diet. Consistently. I find myself doing well with my eating habits for a few weeks on, a few weeks off. No more.

Emotional health - For the longest time, I have felt this incessant need to be happy. Being sad or depressed or upset has no room in my life, I thought, and would do everything in my power to make sure others around me were happy. By doing this, I shove all my other emotions deep down inside and refuse to deal with them. In 2012, I want to let go of this incessant need. I want to let myself be sad or upset for however long I need to. I want it to be OK to cry. To be OK to feel sad. To be OK to want to throw things across the room.

Mental health - Most specifically, learning to control my anxiety and panic attacks that ensue. It has only been recently that I’ve been able to put a name to this constant cycle of worry I have in my life and while I haven’t gotten an official diagnosis yet, I do know the way I have been living is not normal worrywart behavior. In 2012, I am finally taking care of my mental health by attending therapy. This means I may need to switch some things around to afford it (at the very least, it will require a $50 copay) but I know I need to seek help and stop putting my mental health on hold.

Health. No, it’s not an exciting word like CHALLENGE or RISK. It’s a boring word. But it holds so much meaning and power in my life, because I have never put my health first. I’ve been more concerned with other aspects of my life that it falls to the backburner and shows in the way I have lived the past few years of my life. In 2012, health comes first. Physical, emotional, and mental.

What word would you choose to describe 2011? What word do you want to describe 2012?

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