Fear. It cripples us, blinds us, and holds our hands behind our backs. Fear paralyzes us into thinking we cannot do something before we have even begun, and it is the voice in our heads saying “No” when our hearts are saying “Yes!”. We retaliate against it, we push and we try to fight it with all of our power and might, and yet no matter what amount of energy or force we put behind resisting this idea of “Fear”, we continually succumb to its power. How do you fight in a battle that seems to be already lost? How do you muster the courage to halt the racings thoughts of “I can’t” and “I won’t”, and instead change your thoughts to “I can” and “I will”? Fear is a funny thing. It consumes us to the point where we truly believe we are not capable of doing something although everyone who ever accomplished anything started in the exact same spot. Fear belittles us, strips us of our confidence and courage, and ultimately has us wanting to hide under a rock, afraid and terrified of coming out from beneath.
But what if I told you that this can end? What if I said that there was a light at the end of this very dark tunnel , and that you are approaching that light right now? That “light”, is something I like to call “The New Year”, 2014. The beginning of a new story, the start of a new chapter. Make 2014 the year you Get Gutsy about the things that scare you, for the things that scare you are the things that will open your eyes to the world. Remove the word “Fear” from your vocabulary, remove the feeling of “Fear” from your heart, and replace it with the words “Getting Gutsy”. Through this, no goal will be too extreme, because you have the next 365 days to figure it out. The New Year is the open door inviting you inside to get gutsy about your life and to look fear straight dead in the eye.
Before I walk through that doorway though, I do need to pay my respects to the past year. 2013 was a year full of changes and much, MUCH self-reflection, both in a good and a not so good way. I discovered, the hard way of course (but isn’t it always the hard way), the price you pay for not listening to your gut instinct and for not listening to what your heart is really telling you. Don’t ignore that feeling, people! You feel that way for a reason, so act on it! However, on the flip side of things, I learned how to create my own happiness (let me tell you, easier said than done), and I put the pressure on myself to make things happen. I knew that the things I wanted weren’t just going to fall into my lap, so I made the decision to take matters into my own hands and actively pursue whatever it was that I wanted. In 2013, I became the creator of my own life (FINALLY!).
Boiled down, 2013 was all about me, in a more fearless form:) I traveled to Europe all on my own for a week filled with adventures and amazing new friends. I landed my first “big girl” job, I started blogging (and have LOVED it!) and volunteered with the Make A Wish foundation in which I have been afforded the opportunity to meet some truly amazing children who have touched my life in insurmountable ways. I traveled to New York City with one of my very best friends, went on a fabulous family reunion to the Caribbean, and learned how to dance the Argentina tango. I also really wanted to get into running, and as I have always been the leisurely running type (AKA I did a lot of the run/walk), I decided to push myself and to start running some races. I ran my first 10k in May, and then did three more before the end of the year (The Christmas Story race being my favorite!).
One of the most important lessons I learned in 2013 was that it is OK to grow apart from people. Sure, it’s not easy and it is certainly not what anyone wishes for, but in reality, it’s just life. And I think once you accept that, things kind of get easier. Because then the people you have in your life are the ones that you really want to hold on to and care about. As they say, quality over quantity, and that phrase could not hold more truth to it. The friends I have made this past year are people I know will be in my life for a long, long time (whether they want to be or not, haha just kidding), and I could not be more grateful that, if anything, 2013 has given me some absolutely terrific friends.
What’s in store for me in 2014? One word: TRAVEL. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am awkwardly obsessed with traveling, and taking the idea of resolutions to a larger scale, my life goal is to travel all over the world. But one step at a time I suppose, and since I cannot take off a year (or five) off of work to travel, I know that I’ll have to do it a little bit at a time. That said, I do have a pretty extraordinary trip planned in the summer, as well as some other travel plans up my sleeve that are currently top secret, but that will be another blog post for another day:)
All of my goals for 2014 can be summed up in the phrase Carpe Diem. I will seize every opportunity I can, in a most fearless and gutsy fashion. Nothing will slip by me unnoticed, and my life in 2014 will be lived with much laughter, dancing, and adventure. WITHOUT FEAR.
Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. I’m participating in Jessica Lawlor’s #GetGutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details.