“And I’m probably just saying this because it’s January 2015,” is how I’ve ended so many text messages to close friends this month, typically in regards to some
great new idea I have about living a better life. Just go ahead and tag that on to the end of this post. There is nothing profound or new about saying that January is a time of renewal, a time to review the previous year and assess the things we didn’t like and the things we could make better. Well, this January I’ve had a lot to grieve and think through, as I feel that I wasted most of last year. And please spare me your well-intentioned validations that nothing is ever wasted, because this is my blog and my feelings and I’m allowed to feel what I feel. And, yes, without the acknowledgement that time was wasted then how am I to make changes?
In August, after returning from California, I spun into a personal winter. I have so much love and joy for my people in California and for the city of San Diego, that by contrast it illuminated everything about my life in Atlanta that wasn’t good. The past several months, I finally began to make allowances for solitude and to allow things to die in and around me that needed to die. That was a much needed place to be. However at the same time, I also sprinted towards my go-to coping strategy: I should move, this world is so big, I could go anywhere and be happier. Keep in mind I’ve permanently marked my body with a reminder that I can’t just move whenever I’m unhappy. It’s okay for me travel and see the world, but I should also be rooted somewhere and have a place to call home. So I’ve been battling my urge to leave and start over for months.
There is this phrase we use in the psych field called external locus of control. It means a person does not believe they have control over the things that happen to them; these events happen because of your environment or another person. Recently, I was able to catch up with my good friend Katie and while we were talking I realized that Atlanta was my external locus of control. I was believing that I am who I am right now and life is what it is right now because of Atlanta– though this city does not have the power to spell me to be this way. It really came down this: the four years I was in San Diego I grew so much and there was a lot I loved about myself and my life there, then upon moving back here I resorted back to the person I was years before. I hang out with the same kind of people (whom I love) and do the same things as before (things that I like)… but I’m not the same person– I am so much more. As my friend Kirk says, “coming home is really hard.” And it truly is.
I get stuck in this weird place sometimes where I always feel like I’m spinning my wheels, then I look around and see the people around me moving on– going on about their business. And you would think I’d be wishing to join them and keep moving forward just like my peers, but I don’t wish that. I secretly wish they were still stuck in the mud with me. I’m genuinely happy for them that they are living their joy, but I don’t yet want what they have– so instead of joining them, I wish they’d join me so we could all be together. I selfishly want them to be confused too, I want them to be spinning their wheels, and I want to be able to hang out with them till 3am talking it out over gluten free pizza or thai food, (depending on the day I’m having).
The truth is, I could get there, I could catch up, but I just don’t want to. I still feel lost most of the time, and I’d rather be here than there. I know that sounds backwards or weird to share but it’s the truth. I realized Atlanta is not stunting my growth because I have the power inside of me to be who I want to be or do what I want to do. So if it’s not Atlanta’s fault, and I have awareness of my power, the thing that’s left are my choices. So I’ve spent this whole month of January going over so many things in my mind: evaluating the choices I’ve made, the people I’ve let in, the people I’ve kept out, and the WHYs to all of it. The first couple of weeks, I came up with really simple solutions for all of my weak areas, but anyone who has had the honor of living with me can tell you simple solutions just aren’t my thing. Before this month ended all of those solutions were already tossed to the wayside.
The other truth I learned about this past year is that I didn’t have personhood goals. I had a goal that I wanted to maintain a 4.0 in my masters program and I wanted to be a really great therapist. And I’ve worked really hard for those things. But I never had any goals about the person I wanted to be or the personal life I wanted to be living. Because of this, I let some people in that didn’t deserve my time…. thus, leading to time wasted– because time is a currency in which I’m too poor to exchange for nothing in return (wink to MK 🙂 ).
So here’s to a new year. I still don’t have a “plan” if those are even real. And simple solutions are still lost on me. But I know that I have to power to be the person I want to be, your opinions be damned (as usual). So I’ve made a list of qualities about myself and my talents/hobbies that I want to consciously refine. As well as list of people that mean too much to me for time and location to be an issue when it comes to catching up and hanging out. That’s all I’ve got for 2015, but I think it’s gonna be a really beautiful year.
Also, you should know that I do really love Atlanta as city… just not as the personified being that I was believing it to be.
Wishing you all a beautiful new year and time not wasted!!
Speaking of change and new things… if you didn’t already know…