Here We Go Again

Every year, I dread New Year's Eve. It's my least favorite holiday. I don't like the pressure to have fun (if you're a new reader, I'm not very good at having fun). I don't like the pressure to improve oneself that comes with a new year. I don't like the idea that the bleakest part of the year is also supposed to be a new beginning. Gross.

The past couple of years, I've made a vision board for myself in January with goals for the year. This year, I didn't accomplish many of my goals. I did not even read all the books I promised to read. I'll end the year having finished only 32 books (unless I just manage to squeeze another in during the next few days). I didn't try something new/scary each and every month. I definitely did not walk as much as I hoped. I never accomplished my goal of giving up fast food for six months in a row. Normally, I'd feel like a real failure. This year, though, I still feel successful. The most important goal on the board for 2018 was to begin my year of travel. And I did it. I also, not for nothing, finished my Young Adult novel, downsized a great deal of my stuff, and definitely smiled more.

I can't feel failure this year because more than a year ago, I said I was going to do a crazy thing: quit my job, sell my house, and start a year-long road trip around the United States. I did all of those things this year...and I still can't really believe it. As I write this, I'm in Texas. I spent Christmas with my family in Nashville. I booked a range of hotels and campsites all over Texas tonight. I'm headed into a part of the country I've never seen before.

I've spent a big chunk of my life feeling like a failure. I set myself up for it more often than not. For many years, I was a failure because I was fat and didn't lose the weight. I was a failure because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I was a failure for never finding romantic love and because I had a hard time making friends. I was a failure for not working harder at my writing and for not sending it out for publication. I could only see the failures for so, so long. Depression and loneliness and mourning made me feel I was not good enough. It is almost an unbelievable dream to be approaching this really triggering time of year and to feel...not like a failure. It's so small, but it is so affirming.

For 2019, I'm not making a vision board. Instead, I'm living a vision board.

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