The older I get the more the days seem to all blend together and the years disappear in the blink of an eye. Last January I made a decision to keep a journal near my bed so I could capture the essence of each day in a one word sentence or, at the very least, a well-chosen word.
Now that the year is complete I can marvel at what each month offered up: the good, bad, and the ugly. Having just completed a Life Purpose Bootcamp with my favorite meaning maker and creativity coach, Eric Maisel, I feel compelled to summarize these snippets of my life in order to make sense of the bigger picture and my place in it.
As those nearest and dearest to me moved, I recognized that home is where my heart is. The decision to buy a home a few years ago had me fearing for my freedom-loving life. But aligning with my Taurus nature grounded me and introduced this Wander Woman to an entirely new kind of adventure.
From landscaping to deck staining to furnishing my bedroom and office with fabulous and functional furniture, the to-do list slowly morphed into the ta-da list. For me, there’s no place like home. And there’s nothing like sharing my home with friends, my firefighter, and a few canines.
In the bad – or perhaps I should say challenging – category I learned that I can run but I can’t hide. I’m only as enlightened as I dare to act. Expressing anger in an authentic way doesn’t require a lot of drama, just more courage than I’ve been able to muster most of my life.
Fierce conversations, difficult decisions, and painful losses are a necessary part of adulthood. I can consciously confront co-workers, make the devastating decision to put my dog of 17 years down, practice tough love with toxic people and live to tell about it.
Learning this ultimately shifts these lessons to the good category. It just doesn’t feel good going through them.
The ugly category is reserved for IRS audits and really bad customer service experiences. Part of what makes this area so ugly is the inordinate amount of time that gets wasted on the way.
It also tempts me to embrace the victim role. While blaming someone or something else is initially more palatable than owning up to my part of the problem, it gets me nowhere and inevitably the cycle repeats.
The bottom line is despite what an IRS agent tells you, never go into an audit alone. By their very nature audits are designed to make you feel defensive, insulted, and assaulted on a very personal level. It’s Big Brother in all your business. Send your accountant and save yourself six months of grief.
Lesson learned? I need to be more accountable for a number of things. Having Quicken or downloading Mint is different than using it on a regular basis.
I also need to have my own back. My experience with the accountant who prepared the taxes that triggered the audit was horrific. I told him my taxes were complicated. He told me they weren’t. I conceded to his “expertise” instead of advocating for my own experience. It came back to bite me big time.
After all was said and done, I sent him a letter explaining what transpired and what I learned. I figured there was something for him to learn as well.
In regards to questionable customer service, buyer beware: if you choose a GE dishwasher from Home Depot and have any issues, you’re screwed. Ten months and two replacement dishwashers later I no longer own a GE dishwasher or shop at Home Depot. Granted, your experience may be better. I’m just saying mine went from bad to worse and took a year to resolve.
On a positive note, Sears offered exceptional customer service and some spectacular deals on appliances.
Hope Springs Eternal
And finally there’s this area I’ll call you-just-never-know. It has something to do with the grace of not getting what you want when you’re absolutely sure you want it.
It’s (my namesake) pennies from heaven moments when I’m going through hell.
It’s faith in my Divine Assistance Team (they oversee such things as Divine Order, Divine Timing, finding the perfect parking place, and revealing the right resources) that allows me to relinquish control over all I think I know in order to appreciate what I don’t.
It’s the synchronicities and signs like the eagle that appeared overhead the instant I pleaded for a little grace to catapult me out of my stinkin’ thinkin’.
Because I can look back and see the gifts of not only the good, but also the bad and ugly, I once again resolve to be all that I can be in the New Year.
Specifically I’d like to right-size my life. Some areas need a sabbatical. Some need to be reinvented. Some need to shrink. Some need to be super-sized. Some need to retire. Some need to reassigned.
This idea holds two meanings for me depending on how I choose to spell it… write size (every year I resolve to write more but this year I have projects that insist on making it out of my head and onto the page) and right size (redefining and living according to the noble truths I hold dear).
What about you? What were the redeeming good, bad or ugly lessons you learned in 2013? What will you name and claim in 2014?
Share if you dare!