I wrote a version of today’s column just a few days before New Year’s. In it, I wrote about my resolutions for the year ahead, and also how I wanted to feel. Then January 1 arrived, and I tossed everything aside. Why? Well, after doing some reflecting that day (as I do every year), it became clear to me that New Year’s resolutions wouldn’t be enough this time around.
After all, this isn’t just the start of a new year. It’s the start of a great new decade. And a lot can happen in 10 years. I spent some time on New Year’s Day thinking back on the decades of my past, and how many big, life-altering things had happened in my life. That’s when I realized that I wanted to set intentions for my entire decade ahead.
Once I decided that, bam! My “decade descriptor” appeared.
I want this to be the decade where I take my own breath away, I said to myself. I want to take myself aback with everything I do. I want to surprise myself, challenge myself, and push myself. I want to enter this new year and this new decade with absolutely no script.
I have no plan for my life, and that is both exhilarating and terrifying. I have accomplished many of the goals I set for myself as a young woman, and yet, here I stand on the precipice of a new decade with a wide, open field of possibilities staring me in the face. I feel like this open field is calling me to dream new dreams, to try new things, and to embrace the paradoxes that exist within me and all around me.
I have no idea what life has in store for me, but I feel confident in a way that I didn’t in the decades of the past. I feel confident now that I have everything within me that I need to make this decade spectacular.
I know I want to be both strong and vulnerable in the decade ahead. I want to be fierce and feminine. Daring and dutiful. Creative and curious. Monastic and social. Quiet and wild. I want to be free. I want to belong. But, most of all, I want to be open—not closed.
I want to be open to new opportunities, new experiences, new ideas, new dreams, and new people. I’ve already started to surprise myself lately by using my voice in ways I didn’t dare to before. In the past, I admired certain qualities in others that I didn’t think existed within me, only to discover that, lo and behold, they did and they do. That realization alone took my own breath away.
So, know this: all those positive attributes you admire in others? Well, guess what? They live within you as well. All those things you marvel at others for doing...you can do them too, if you want. You are the artist of your life, and there is no other life like yours. That is your super power. That is what makes you unique. You don’t need a script. You are free to write and live out whatever you choose. Yes, you can.
So gasp at the sunrise and the sunset. Gasp when you see a rainbow and a newborn baby. Look with awe and wonder at new love and old enduring love. Let life take your breath away.
I took the picture above because the scene and the moment took my breath away. I encourage you to stand on your own proverbial dock and imagine yourself jumping into life in a way you haven’t before. Ask yourself what you need in love and in life. Trust me, you can survive whatever the answer is. In fact, you can survive anything and everything. How do I know that? Because you are extraordinary.
Look at yourself in the mirror. Allow yourself to be awed and amazed at the creation of you. Don’t look at your flaws, your wrinkles, or anything else you don’t like. Be amazed that you are staring back at yourself. Love that image. Be gentle with it. Let your eyes smile at yourself. See yourself through God’s eyes, and then surround yourself with others who look at you that way, too.
This decade, I’m going to continue on the path of self empowerment, self actualization, and self amazement. I’m going to do it while continuing to serve others and do whatever I can to move humanity forward. This is a big important year, and the truth is that we can all move humanity forward with our thoughts, words, and actions. In fact, we must.
We must speak up. We must stand up. We must vote, vote, vote. (I was reminded yet again this week that the stakes have never been higher for our country after we witnessed the beginning of another foreign disupte with Iran.) And we must dare to surprise ourselves. I hope those all seem like good intentions for what will certainly be a good—actually, a great— new year. And an amazing new decade.
I hope you feel the same. I hope you feel the possibility and the wonder of all that lies ahead for you. I hope you dare to take your own breath away.