Last year my friends and I decided not to make New Year's resolutions. Instead, we each wrote something we wanted to let go of on a small piece of paper, and at midnight (after a round of kisses and celebration), we went out into the streets of Seoul, Korea and burnt the papers.
I'd never done that before, nor had I thought of coming up with a resolution in such a way.
The dictionary defines a resolution as 'the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.' Resolving to do (or not do something).
In the past, my resolutions always involved something that was going to happen. I would resolve 'to lose weight'. I would resolve 'to drink less caffeine'. I would resolve 'to not stress about the small stuff'. I would resolve 'to be more happy.'
As you can imagine, a very small percentage of these resolutions actually lasted... or even made it past the first month. So this idea of switching gears and actually doing something that was almost passé in a way, seemed very appealing. Who doesn't like the idea of resolving to do something that's already been done?
Now that the year is almost over, I can tell you what I wrote on that little piece of paper that went up in smoke at the stroke of midnight, on January 1, 2010. It said,
'I am letting go of baggage that's become too heavy to carry around. I'm letting go of those that bring negativity in my life, and those that make me feel negative about myself. Enjoy 2009, because this is as far as you go on your journey with me.'
I can't express how therapeutic it felt when I lit that little paper and saw it go up in flames. If you're a visual person like me, you'll understand how powerful it felt knowing that moving forward, I'd have the freedom to walk past the negative stressors in my life -- ones that I'd initially welcomed with open arms.
The year started with a clean sweep. I had to go through a mental checklist of the people in my life who were taking more than they were giving, and using more than they were offered. I knew a lot of them had to go.
And they did, in one way or another. I started seeing less of certain people, edited my e-mail contact list, minimized my phone list and deleted a bunch of people from Facebook -- and the timing was great, because I used to get irritated at the thought of people who I didn't really have great relationships with in the past, having access to my world (parts of it, anyway), without having direct communication with me. (Why do people do that? Add you to Facebook, but never say a word? -- Automatic delete within a week at best.)
I won't say it's been easy. I've had numerous moments where I've failed at keeping my resolution. I've had moments of weakness where I've let the worst stressors get the best of me. (What can I say, I'm a victim to words -- use them with the right formula and in the right context and I'm a lost cause.)
But, as the year progressed, I had my necessary epiphanies and they too were gone. And it feels like I did the right thing. When someone (or many someones) bring out the worst in your character and make you feel more miserable than they bring you joy... then it's time to reevaluate their place in your life. I learned that valuable lesson this year.
In that respect, 2010 has been good. It's not been short of difficulties, but it's been good. I feel like I'm in a better place in my life than I've been in the past, and I'm grateful for the people who are still with me to share in this journey.
It's time to think of something I'll be leaving behind in 2010. This might take some thought, so I'll keep you posted on what comes up.
The goal is to lighten my baggage as I move forward through life. And, dear readers, I invite you to do the same. What do you need to let go of? And what steps should you take to ensure this happens?
Image courtesy of Google Images