I posted this on my Instagram, but think it’s worth repeating here:
“2016 was the year of awakening for me. I realized I was just going through the motions, stuck in a routine, and mindless about my wants and wishes, rather than living consciously. I woke up one day and really thought about my life in a different way. I came to a realization of what I want my life to look like and what my priorities are: my marriage, my family, my friends, my happiness, and giving to others.
And if 2016 was the year of awakening, 2017 is going to be the year of heart. I have one goal: to be mindful. To be fully aware and conscious of every work I speak, every thought I have, and every action I take. To never again be completely oblivious, careless, and mindless with my life. To be surrounded by people I truly love and their awesome differences. To do things I truly love to do without reason or justification for anyone. And to give all that I can to others without compromising my own happiness and without expectation of anything in return. I have found that giving to others either through my job, my volunteer work, of my hobbies gives me the greatest amount of happiness and fulfillment. Heart is always positive, always aware, always thoughtful, always giving, and always having fun. That is exactly how I want 2017 to be.”
– – – – –
I have no resolutions for 2017. I have spent the past two years or so living in an unconscious state. I have not been present; I’ve dreaded going in for shifts, longed for scheduled vacations months in advance, and had anxiety about making sure my house is clean, food is ready for dinner, and panicking trying to do everything myself, thinking that my life is not good enough compared to others. Living in an unconscious state affected so much of my life; my marriage, my relationships, my attitude, my mood, my emotions, my job…the list is endless.
And then this summer, I woke up. I stepped out of my unconscious slumber and really thought about my life for the first time in a long time. What I valued the most. What I thought should be my priorities. I totally changed my perspective and attitude towards time and towards living in the present. There were some really rough patches, but ultimately that period brought me to where I am now; at peace.
And as I dive into 2017, I can’t help but credit my entire mental turn around to meditation, mindfulness, and little bit to the Buddhists. At first, I thought meditation was for hippies, and yogis, and people who were very spiritual. But now, my perspective has changed entirely. I have meditated consistently for the past 3 months and have noticed an dramatic change in how I live my life, day to day. I continue to read about mindfulness, the present, and living consciously. My emotions are more stable, I am happier, I am at peace and I have less anxiety, less periods of anger, and the most important thing; I’m not constantly ruminating on the past or longing for the future.
I can honestly say for the first time in my life that I am so close to absolutely loving my life. I admit that I’m not quite there, because I’m still working on being present as much as possible and I still have periods where I revert back to old habits and old thoughts – but it doesn’t happen as much. My relationship with my husband has never been better. We lived in a state of routine for about 2 years but our relationship is totally different (in a really good way) than it was when we first got married. We’re out of the honeymoon phase and it’s matured a bit but we’re still finding new things out about each other that we love. We enjoy spending more time with each other, now than ever because we’ve realized that the time we do have together is precious. And we don’t do activities that are super adventurous, exciting or even new. Even just eating dinner together without the TV, cell phones, or music when I’m off is a luxury.
I am in love with my job 100%. I don’t think I could have said that two years ago. Of course we have bad days (especially in Emergency medicine), but who doesn’t. And it’s all about how you approach those bad days; if it makes you angry and frustrated because you’re busy, or you wish you were at home watching the football game, or you’re tired of seeing a drug seeker for the 17th time – you’re not living in the present. You’re not living in the moment – despite how miserable you may THINK it is. Realizing that my work allows me to help heal people, to make them feel better when they’re at their worst and to possibly even save a life allowed me to shift my perspective about my profession.
“Everything will be okay as soon as you are okay with everything. And that is the only time everything will be okay.” -Michael Singer
And trust me, I know it’s hard to live this way when everything you see on social media tells you to “never settle” or that “nothing worth having comes easy” or “team no days off” or “always push yourself outside of your comfort zone – living life on the edge full of adventure.” And while that’s a great way to live life, I don’t believe that that is fully living either. Constantly searching for a new adventure or a new lifestyle is just a way to fill the void in your life of being present. Life can be pretty meaningful and comfortable just living in the present. You don’t have to start a new career, move to a new town, start a new relationship, or be constantly seeking validation outside of you from people or things.
Living in the present, accepting what is now (not what is later today or next week or in six months) can totally change your views of your life, your job, and your relationships. At least it did for me. I look at my husband in a totally different way. I look at my house, my family, my job, my body, and my mind with general curiosity but also with happiness because I am grateful for it all. Changing the shape of your body, buying new cars, new houses, new clothes, or changing your permanent residence or your serious relationship is not going to fix your problems. It is not going to give you satisfaction (unless you have worked very hard at your relationship and have realized that it just will not work). It will keep you happy for a few minutes, maybe a few weeks or months, but then you’ll be right back where you started – searching for something new because social media or some outside perspective told you that you SHOULD.
– – – – –
My intention for 2017 is simply this; I am living a meaningful life.
I am content with the present moment. I am not seeking the future, nor am I muddling in the past. I am not dreading work, or a party, or an events that I have to go to. I am enjoying my life as it unfolds in front of me – good or bad. I am seeing emotions and thoughts as they are and letting them go when they do not serve a purpose for my happiness.
It is hard work to be present and conscious all of the time – but it’s worth it. The sense of ease, the acceptance, the peace, and the love I have for my life is unbelievable. So even though awareness is a never ending road, with no ending in sight, riddled with trials and tribulations, I will continue to work hard each day to accept what is and to be OK with what is. Life is so much easier when you let go of all that you think you SHOULD be carrying and immerse yourself in everything that is.