2015: My Year of Yes.
“Part of me just wants to pick up my life and shake it up. Like a snow globe. Or one of those silly sand art jars. I want to turn it upside down and shake. Where lines are crossed and colors are mixed and it looks entirely different but it’s still made of all of the same stuff.
Radical. I wish I was. Oh how I want to be.”
Those are words from my journal, from about a year ago.
Those feelings are nothing new. I’ve struggled with it for years, craving a life that looks different. I’ve been wishing for exotic places and a new city and new people and a fulfilling job and freedom to do what I love.
I’ve been fighting everything around me and constantly reaching for more, different, better.
So, my word for last year was DWELL. (I wrote about it here.)
I decided to stop striving and just dwell in God, in where He had me, in who He is and who I am in Him. To do the best I could with what I had. To not put my identity in foolish titles or careers, but to truly live in the heart that He gave me.
And something crazy happened.
The things I’d always dreamed. But better.
It started with New York City.
A trip. Four friends gathering. And my first time flying by myself.
Even though I’ve flown many times, I’d always been scared to go alone. As crazy as it sounds, I’ve always had this fear of doing things by myself, going places by myself. Traveling by myself.
But I got on the plane. I wandered city streets. I felt the buzz of New York. I connected with people. And something was awakened in me.
A big fat YES.
I felt it in my pulse, a tiny whisper.
Yes, go. Yes, do. Yes, be.
An urge to just do something instead of try to be something.
I was tired of striving to make myself into something, to be a laundry list of accomplishments.
I was tired of wishing for a different life but staying the same.
I wanted everything but was scared to do anything.
So, instead of trying to become, I just allowed myself to be.
Instead of wishing, I starting creating. Moments. Opportunities. Adventures.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
One after another.
I hosted more friends. I took the most random trip to Michigan. I booked a flight within 24 hours of its departure. I rebuilt and launched a new brand and website. I went to not only one but three conferences for creatives. I opened an online print shop. I said yes to a new relationship. I saw my favorite bands and photographed beautiful people in beautiful cities. I took ten trips, visited tons of friends, and made so many new ones.
Not because anyone told me to do these things. Not because they were on a list of Things to Do to be Fill-in-the-Blank. But because that was what overflowed out of a heart committed to herself and committed to Yes.
And I felt so alive.
Something happens in the doing. Something changes in the unknown. I realized that all of the things I always wanted, all the things I was too afraid to go after, they’re on the other side of one little yes.
In the Yes, I stopped being sorry for who I really am.
In the Yes, I stopped apologizing for the things I wanted, even if they looked different.
All of the moment I'd always imagined, the visions of a free life, I found them in the Yes.
I took a last minute, and quite illogical, trip in June. I booked a flight 24 hours before I had to be on it. I struggled against it. I felt like I should go, but it made absolutely no sense to take off days of work to go on a trip for no reason.
When I got there, I wrote this.
It’s so weird, the release that happened, as soon as I got on the plane. Like, you’re here. You’re doing this. You can do this. You’ve got this.
I said yes to this trip because I honestly just felt led to, like something deep inside of me said, go. Like something was waiting for me on the other side. And honestly, I think it was this…
A taste of freedom. A space to just think and ponder and dream without the confines of guilt and expectation and pressure. A place to separate myself from everything I know in order to truly see where my heart wants to fall.
My friends have been telling me that for a while. Give yourself permission.
Maybe this time was just meant to show me that it’s possible. That I can. That when I leave the confines of all I’ve ever known, the freedom comes. In an instant.
Maybe there was nothing huge that happened. No life-changing revelations. No big a-ha moment, like I was expecting.
Maybe life doesn’t really happen that way. Maybe it’s those small moments of affirmations. Those quiet moments when your heart settles in the the place it’s meant to be, like a puzzle piece sliding into place, and something in you just sighs in relief. I knew it all along. This makes sense.
That puzzle-piece moment? My year was full of that.
It wasn’t so much about what I was doing but how I felt when I was doing it.
I am still unclear of what exactly I want my life to look like. But goodness, I definitely know what it feels like.
And more importantly, I understand what this heart is made of because I sat with it instead of trying to mold it or make it fit a standard I didn't create. It doesn’t fit into those labeled words I’d chosen, and that’s okay. Because it feels so much better since it’s been set free.
Free, I hope that’s where this year takes you.
I hope you put yourself in the way of opportunities and adventures and experiences. I don’t even mean adventure in a grand sense. I mean, seek new things. Do the things your heart tells you to do, not what the internet says to do.
If you feel a little lost in the identities you’ve created, dare to shatter them. Dare to be the you only you can be. If nothing seems to be happening, then make something happen. Anything. Create the moments you dream of. Learn to fully take advantage of the opportunities right in front of you.
Stop asking yourself what you’d like to do and what you'd like to be and start imagining how you’d like to feel.
Then chase the moments that take you there.
P.S. Do me a favor.