Most years, right around New Year’s, I choose a word to live by for that next year. Wow, I said year a lot in that sentence. My apologies. Previous words have been helpful, but have never really punched me in the gut as much as my word for 2018.
You see, 2017 was a horrible year for me. I lost two of my aunts, my marriage struggled, and my mental health was crumbling and completely broke me. I am still working on that piece, by the way. The one that lets you in to that part of my life where I had to hide myself away. But in short, 2017 can go to hell. And I have never been more than ready to move on.
Authentic. That is my word for 2018. Because I am tired of running away from the truth. I am tired of turning a blind eye. I am ready to approach life with full authenticity, as scary and ugly as it might be sometimes. But amidst the scary is also the beautiful, and you can’t have one without the other. Some people have been living their truth for a long time like it’s no big deal. I envy them. Because this is going to be hard for me.
One thing that I have taken from 2017 is that it has forced me to come face to face with the ugly. Anyone who knows me knows that I am the queen of “I’m okay.” It’s my answer to everything. I wear one hell of a convincing mask. But in being authentic, I have to take it off. I have to accept my struggles, learn from them and work to solve them, but ask for help when I feel like I’m falling. Because the truth is, I’m not okay. Authenticity is about admitting that.
There are a lot of things in my life that are in limbo right now. I need to put on my big girl pants and make some difficult decisions. But in order to do that, I need to evaluate those situations as truthfully as possible. Not how I want to see them, not how I wish they will be in six months or a year. I need to look at them NOW. I can’t keep looking at things through rose colored glasses. I need clear and clean glasses with an accurate prescription. I may end up seeing things that are difficult to stomach. The kind of things that keep me awake at night. The ones that make me sob until my muscles hurt. But they’re there whether I choose to look at them or not. And either way, they have to be addressed. I am just choosing to do it the hard way, with authenticity. With painful truth.
You see, in a perfect world, we would all be living our lives authentically. We would all go to bed and think back on our day and it would be as if someone had taken a video of the day, not some warped version that we have created in our mind. Not the edited version, with parts that we have chosen to cut out. But the world isn’t perfect and neither are we. We look for the best in people, in situations, sometimes to the point of our own harm. But the best that we can do is to try. Try to live our truth and to see the truth in the world, whether we want to or not. And in that, we will be able to see more beauty, too. Because in shutting out the bad, we shut out some of the good.
So goodbye, 2017. I am glad to see you go. Welcome, 2018. A better, happier, truer year.