Was I Fearless? A Look Back on 2016
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Thanks to thredUP for partnering with me today to style this pretty green dress for the holidays! Even though it’s past Christmas, this holiday outfit is still perfect for New Year’s Eve!
I kind of wish there was more than one week between Christmas and the New Year because I have so much I want to say and share about this past year and about this coming year. But we only have a week, and I didn’t blog yesterday because Dustin and I both had the day off and I was trying to keep a nasty cold at bay and also because I just wanted to eat discounted Christmas chocolate and snuggle. Sometimes you just have to let go of being a perfectionist and embrace the small moments that count – that’s one way I’ve learned to live more vibrantly in the past few months.
Since the new year is coming (whether we want it to, or not) I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and planning and reflecting. I’ve been working tirelessly on a lengthy and detailed 2017 business action plan for HTC. I’ve been taking some online courses and trying to budget out my money for some much needed electronic upgrades. And I’ve been taking the time to look back on the past year and think about the things I accomplished and the things I decided to let go of.
At the beginning of 2016, I decided my word of the year was going to be “Fearless.” I wanted to let go of my self-doubts and anxieties of what other people thought of me and pursue the things that set my soul on fire. I wanted to turn my back on personal fears, like my cancer coming back for me or being in an accident that would cost me my leg. I wanted to go more with the flow and not stress out so much about changes (both big and small.) I wanted to be brave and courageous and fearless and make 2016 my own. I chose this word before I knew that we would move three times across the country. I chose this word before I knew my husband would have three career changes. I chose this word before Rosie got bit at the dog park, before the transmissions in both of our cars started dropping out at the same time, before our downstairs neighbors started harassing us for walking around our apartment. I chose the word “fearless” without knowing what 2016 held and I hoped I would be able to make it my own.
So was I fearless?
Sometimes, I was. And sometimes, I was not. But I learned a lot about myself during this past year in pursuing a fearless life, and I’d like to ramble a little bit about that today.
I learned that it’s okay to be afraid of change, as long as you still pursue it. Dustin and I made THREE big moves this year and each one was terrifying. We left his stable job in Arizona to spend the summer in Louisiana while he went back to summer sales, which is a very profitable but inconsistent job. And at the end of the summer, we left the Deep South and moved to Utah to start fresh again. Each move scared me senseless because we were uprooting our lives for the unknown. However, we both knew that we HAD to pursue these changes because we were not going to settle for less. We knew that we both deserved careers that made us happy AND fulfilled our financial needs. So, as terrifying as it all was, we still made those changes and pursued vibrant lives instead of settling because we were too scared.
We’re now settled in Utah and Dustin has found a position with a company that not only treats him well but challenges and stretches him every day. And I’ve actually gone back to work part-time with a company that I feel the same way about. We are starting to put REAL roots down here in Utah and I couldn’t be more grateful that we faced our fears and made the changes that allowed us to end up here in the Wild West!
I learned that it’s okay to ask for help when it comes to your deep fears. I’ll be 110% honest with you – I still struggle with anxiety and PTSD when it comes to my past with cancer and the daily physical issues I face with my leg. And this year, I learned that it’s not my responsibility to overcome those fears all by myself. It’s okay to ask for help to deal with those fears. I had some pretty traumatic things happen to me over the last 10 years and will continue to have to deal with some of those issues for the rest of my life. That’s the truth when it comes to being a cancer survivor. I finally asked for help this year – and am in the process of going back to therapy so that I can have the tools and resources available to me to help me cope with those fears.
I learned that comparison is truly the thief of joy, and it starts with fear. When it came to my blog, I would see someone else in my blogging community have some great success and be afraid that I would never attain that same level. And that fear would start the comparison game, where I would look at someone else’s blog and drag myself down for not having their success or having their writing skills or having their followers. I constantly found myself avoiding my blog because of those feelings and HTC suffered this summer because of that. Even now, this last month, I found myself in the familiar trap of not being enough compared to others and thinking that I will never find the same kind of success.
FURTHER READING: Blog Boss: Getting Back to my Roots
However, I’ve learned to recognize those feelings and to move on from them as fast as possible. I give myself a little break from blogging to recenter myself on the things that truly matter: my little family and friends. And then I remind myself on why I started blogging in the first place: to document my second-chance life and to connect with other like-minded individuals. I may not be as successful as another blogger, but when I focus on the joy my blog brings me instead of the fear not being as good as others, I am truly successful in my own way.
I learned that facing my fears and stepping outside my comfort zone can be healing. Some of you may not know this, but when I started my blogging journey, I thought I was going to be a food and craft blogger. I had absolutely no intentions on doing style and beauty posts, mainly because I was so insecure about my body and because I was afraid of what other people might think of me. Stepping outside of my comfort zone and sharing style and beauty posts was really scary at first, but it became a huge source of personal healing for me. Taking photos of outfits that I feel good in and sharing them with the world has helped me embrace my imperfections and find some positive feelings towards a body that I once despised. It’s been empowering to “take back” my self-confidence from cancer through style and beauty posts. There are many times when I look at a photo of me and think: “I can’t see the cancer in me anymore. There is more to me than cancer.”
And to be able to share those style and beauty posts here, with all of you, has been even more of a blessing. To sit down and chat about a cute dress that I would have been afraid to wear a year ago or to share a bold lipstick color that I would have never worn because of my teeth insecurities has been indispensable to my healing. So thank you, for making this space a safe place for me and for encouraging me to pursue a vibrant life through my clothing and beauty choices!
I wasn’t always fearless this year, but I definitely was braver and more courageous than I have been in years. I did things that scared me and I survived. I made changes that kept me up at night with anxiety, but I pursued them. And I feel much more alive at the end of this year than I did at the beginning. There was a lot of things that went wrong, but there were also a lot of things that went right because I was fearless. Dustin and I were able to pay off all of our credit card debt, buy two new cars without going INTO debt, travel to Chicago, Boston, Milwaukee, New Orleans AND to the most magical place on Earth (aka Harry Potter land) and both land jobs that have significant potential for our careers. 2016 was a crazy ride and it was pretty messy at times, but it was a beautiful year and I’m grateful for the lessons I learned. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sticking around HTC and being here.
Dress: The Limited c/o thredUP (similar here and here, get $10.00 off your first order with thredUP here) | Fleece Tights: Old Navy | Black Pumps: KMart (similar here) | Necklace c/o Happiness Boutique | Watch: Kohls (similar here) | Clutch: Gifted (similar here for under $30!)
What lessons did you learn in your 2016?