I did a lot this year. I read 100 books (as of December 29th). I *officially* chose a career and started saving money to pay for university, (No collections agencies for me!) and I got it through my thick skull that my arms are too short to box with God, so I may as well be quiet and do things His way.
I also started another blog so I can ramble on about what I’ve learned, mostly by making tons of mistakes.
2012 was the year that I came into my own. I chose to be authentic rather than pandering. I can honestly say that every compliment, and encouraging word I paid this year was genuine. (Unfortunately, so were the insults! I suffer fools badly)
In reading 100 books, (25,225 total pages to be exact) I learned to ‘Resist not evil’ (Leo Tolstoy, My Religion). I learned “Manuscripts do not burn”, (Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita), “Depression is a damned liar”, (Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened), and, “We degrade God when we attribute our own ideas to Him, out of annoyance that we cannot fathom His ways” (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot)
I also learned that it is okay to be a quiet introvert, (from both The Introvert’s Way by Sophia Dembling, and Quiet by Susan Cain). And love gives you more power than hatred, manipulation, or control (from every single Christian book I’ve read).
One of the most valuable things I’ve learned this year is how to be still. I’m the type of person who is always trying to fix things. If something is wrong, I feel duty-bound to intervene–whether it is my business or not. This year I found out that I can’t control everything.
I can’t change what people do, what they say, or how they feel. What I can change is how I react, and then make a mental note of everything that was said, done and felt, and write about it later. (At first I was angry, but then I was like, “This is a story.”)
We have all had those situations that temporarily knock us off our feet, but when you communicate mostly through writing as I do, and have a neat little forum to express yourself, you can publish some of those situations online and receive the input of tens of strangers. (Whether you want it or not)
Besides, I’m the progeny of fighters, so you can’t keep me down for long.
There are some years that are remembered for how traumatic they were. (2008-2010 immediately spring to mind for me. There were accidents, births, deaths, court dates, renovations, murder. OK. I’m kidding about the last one) Yet even through the hard times there were moments of joy.
That’s another thing I learned this year: Joy cannot be changed by circumstance. I’m not a bubbly person, and when I’m not smiling I look as though I am angry, so my joy is not apparent to the casual viewer.
Even though, it isn’t obvious, joy is what carried me through the loss of several relatives this year. It is what kept me calm during the busy Christmas season, and it helped me to laugh in the face of tests and trials. Joy keeps me grounded, and it makes me strong. After all, it’s easy to give in to anger, but keeping your composure takes a lot more work.
Then again, I always enjoy a challenge.
I can look back on 2012 and say that I will remember it affectionately. I wasn’t as nice as I could have been (really, who was?). I had more than my fair share of open-mouth-insert-foot moments, and I didn’t give as much as I thought I would have, but I also spent time encouraging people. I have said prayers on behalf of complete strangers, and even though I wasn’t as philanthropic as I wanted to be, I still took the time to give to people who have less than I do.
Yesterday I read a quote that I really liked: “Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” Every time I have been broken down, I’ve been reinforced. What broke me in 2011 couldn’t break me in 2012, and what broke me in 2012, won’t break me in 2013 because I know where my strength is found.
In 2013, I am leaving the past in the past, and moving onward and upward into the life I was born to live.
Settling for average is so five years ago.
Happy New Year!
P.S. The title was shamelessly lifted from an episode of Community (The one where Troy is prepping Jeff for his fight with Anthony Michael Hall). I am not that clever.