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It’s often difficult to sum up a year’s worth of events into one word, but this year’s word was as obvious as could be: tension. I was mentally and emotionally stretched and strained for the entirety of 2017, held taut between the best and the worst times of my life.

The year was marked by death, by longing, relational conflict, and overwhelming anxiety. 24 was also the year that I formalized my partnership with Matthew through marriage. I deepened friendships. I was offered opportunities that I didn’t feel qualified for, and I rose to the occasion. There was always a hint of joy underlying my sorrow, and my worst times were tinged with gladness.Tension.

I thought that 25 would be about accepting tension as my lifelong reality, but just one day of being 25 showed me the opposite. My birthday started with me being 5 minutes late to a meeting even though I was in the area 30 minutes before. One way streets and traffic and lack of parking triple-teamed me. I paid almost $30 to put my car in a lot, then hustled in heels to a meeting.

After a surprise birthday lunch, I realized that I had no idea where I parked. This was evidenced by the fact that I said I was at the intersection of two parallel streets. In my panic to get to my meeting, the only detail I remembered about the lot is that I could see the library where I was engaged from my parking spot. That wasn’t helpful.

We finally found the car after looking at my online banking statement, and I drove back to the office with my colleague riding along. We made it to the office and saw a spot right in front of our building that seemed like a gift from heaven. I’d just mentioned over lunch that I finally learned how to parallel park. Then it took me three tries (!) to get into a luxuriously large spot. One try included me going onto the curb. To be fair it was a low curb, and I am a short person who drives a fairly low car–but still. I wasn’t looking that great.

After all of this, my first response was to laugh. That never happens. The Type 3 in me cares about image above all else. Laughing at myself and opening myself up to having people laugh with me is a counterintuitive concept.

Through what some would describe as a rough start to my birthday, I learned that this year wouldn’t be about accepting tension, my year would be about balancing tension with release.

Releasing unrealistic expectations for myself and for others.
Releasing hearty laughs from the depths of my belly
Releasing fears about how people will view me
Releasing relationships and commitments that aren’t in alignment with the person I’m becoming
Releasing emotions instead of trying to appear strong

My chest tightened as I wrote those words. My pulse sped up. I don’t want to let things go, but I need to in order to have room to grasp onto greater things.

25. You’re gonna be a wild one. You’re gonna be worth the work.

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