It's not usually January 1st that causes me to stop a moment and reflect on the past year, it's December 11th, my birthday.
Last night I was looking for some Christmas decorations and stumbled upon a notebook that I had written in for a little while before sticking it "somewhere safe". I opened it and found an entry from my birthday four years ago.
It didn't make me cringe like a lot of my writing from my younger days does. It was insightful and made me remember that version of myself.
I was so concerned with figuring everything out and knowing definitive answers to things. I still remember sitting in my sun room on my couch writing that day and thinking to myself that four years, or even two years, down the road I would really have everything figured out.
Well, that's not quite the case.
On the plus side, though, I feel like I've used these past four years to explore sides of myself that I didn't know existed and push myself to try out those little ideas constantly running through my head.
Underneath the journal was my old video recorder. I got it before I had a phone that could take pictures and record video. I had pretty much forgotten about it. Scrolling through all the pictures, though, it started coming back to me how much I carried this thing everywhere. The videos weren't that interesting and are low quality, but they captured moments that had floated away in my mind.
I'm still having a hard time remembering when I got the video recorder. I think it was 2010 or 2011. At any rate, it was a year or two before I got up the courage to start my blog. I was taking these steps at following my whims and passions, but didn't even know yet where I was going.
Starting the blog was a huge jumping off the cliff moment for me. I had already been selling things through my handmade shop for a year, but putting yourself out there for others to read my innermost thoughts was jarring. I was embarrassed, but finally just hit the publish button.
It's difficult to see how far you've come until you finally stop for a moment and let the changes wash over you.
I feel older. I feel more confident and comfortable with myself (most of the time). I don't feel like I have it all figured out, but now I realize no one else does either. Getting to be on the other side of the blog instead of just in front of the beautiful after pictures has taught me that. I needed to learn that to be able to let go of jealousies and insecurities. Not that I don't feel like that now, though. It's just a bit lessened, at least in my rational moments.
I couldn't have told you four years ago where I thought I would be. I just had a vague notion that I would have it "figured out". I thought there would be a finite point when it was like, "Oh, that makes sense. Now that I have it all figured out, I'll be happy."
The best lesson I've come to realize is that this point will never happen. The best I can do is learn to be comfortable in my own skin, come to terms with the fact that not everyone is going to like me or what I make, and feel immense gratitude for the people in my life.
It's not earth shattering, and maybe that's what makes these lessons so hard to learn. You feel that it can't be as simple as that, but you always have the sense that it is.
I don't want to get older, but I also don't want to go back to those angsty younger years. I only romanticize them now since I've survived them and came out stronger on the other side.
What's strange about getting older is that I now want time to slow down. Before I couldn't wait to get older. To turn 16 and drive, turn 21 and see what I've been missing at the bars, etc. I was in such a hurry to get to the other side of a number. Now I wish that time would stop. No one would age. We would all be together and blissfully happy.
Now, though, I'm able to enjoy the scenery and want to stop and smell the roses. It's not that I'm not excited about things in the future, it's just that I'm wiser and know that I will miss this moment when it's gone.
I can't tell you where I'll be in another four years. I'm too old to pretend life can be planned that easily.
All I know is that I'm going to keep chasing happiness. To keep finding the courage to do what makes me smile, as well as the strength to stop fighting for the things that are too exhausting. This will constantly be a moving target. No finite point, just a walk along a winding path and feeling thankful for family and friends.