Saturday, January 10, 2015

Small Steps

Four years ago this week, I wrote about how my entire world was changing as I raced to NJ to witness the birth of my best friends' children while that very same day I was really settling in to my changing sexuality.  I wrote about feeling excited and free and "on fire." That was the day that things really started shifting for me, the day that I knew there was no going back.

I wasn't even aware at the time that all of that change coincided with the flipping of the calendar into a new month and a new year. But this year, for some reason, I am exquisitely aware of the changing of the calendar.  And I feel overwhelmed by it.

I feel overwhelmed by the weight of all of the hope and fear that I'm realizing I carry around with me every day, a weight that I don't think I usually let myself acknowledge, for fear that it will crush me.  But for some reason, this New Year (capital N, capital Y) is really hitting me. The expectations of change, growth, improvement, and progress in the coming year.  The disappointment that I didn't measure up to the dreams I set for myself one year ago.

As I was writing this post, I almost wrote that I'm "not the resolution type" but then realized that last year I DID make resolutions, and actually posted some of them on this blog. Looking back at that post, I felt a bit disappointed, as I had vowed to publish my book last year, and didn't.  A lot of progress has been made with the book though (the book cover is designed, half of the book is done), and I did start a pretty great podcast with Elle, which I hadn't even begun to dream of one year ago, and which has allowed me to do a lot of the things that I wrote about in that resolution post. So that's good.
But even more than my frustration about not being done with the book, as I read that post from a year ago, I was struck by how many goals I had for last year that I didn't write down anywhere, but still carried and wanted for 2014, that didn't come true. Professional and personal goals that I did not or couldn't meet. I thought about things a lot, wanted and yearned, but I basically feel like I was treading water last year, and am now feeling the letdown.

In myself. At the world.

Because some of my stagnation this year was due to outside circumstances. I was broke, I got sick, my job that I bust my ass at won't give me the raise I deserve. My relationship with Elle took some big steps forward, but also some painful steps back. And I think I'm mad about all of that, but also feel that I don't have a right to be mad. I have a lot of really great things going for me, but at the same time, LIFE IS HARD. It's hard for everyone, in a thousand same and different ways. It's felt hard for me this year. I feel like 2014 was a hard year for the the entire world, with all of the tragic things that have happened and keep happening everywhere.

So I guess what I'm really saying is that I'm entering this new year feeling a bit hopeless. But also determined. But pessimistic. But driven. But also worried. But lucky.

But scared.

But fragile.

This year I felt I like if I could only do a little bit, if I could only make a small step forward toward a bigger, seemingly distant goal, then that wasn't enough and so what was the point. I'm starting to see now that of course its all those little steps that get you to the big goal. Nothing happens overnight. Nothing important and meaningful happens without time and lots of little, seemingly pointless steps slightly forward.

I forgot that this year.

I woke up on January 2nd in tears, from the most emotional and moving dream I think I have ever had. I don't feel ready to share the details, but basically the dream shook me into more awareness of how lucky I am, and how precious my life is, and how grateful I should be, and that there is beauty and joy to be found everywhere, even where you least expect it to be. I cried about that dream for an entire day. Even as I write about it now it makes me teary.  It was very powerful, and I'm still trying to figure out what it means, what my unconscious mind is trying to tell me.

I think I've figured some of it out though. And so my resolutions for this year are to be grateful, to remember what I have, and to just DO it. Just keep moving forward. One small step at a time. Those small steps are all anyone really has.
They are everything.