Today I’m writing to you about some things I’ve learned in the past year about being present and lessons I plan to carry with me through this year. We often start New Years with resolutions for being the biggest and best versions of ourselves. We have our eyes on the prize of perfecting ourselves, to take ourselves to a place where we will be happier, thinner, where we will achieve everything we felt like we failed at last year.
I, however, want to talk about the times when it doesn’t feel good to be somewhere and still trying to find joy in that. This past year held some hurdles for me – I had some times where I really needed to lean on the support of others and it didn’t always feel like the happiest time. It was a cluster of joy, love, growth and hard moments.
Live through it
My friend Clarice is a beautiful person, through knowing her she has taught me so much about what it looks like to love others well. Last winter Clarice frequently gave me much needed pep talks. I was talking to her one day about how sometimes the hardest thing about facing struggles is that the adage “time heals everything” doesn’t help while you’re waiting for time to go by. I told her something along the lines of “I’m trying to embrace the sad days and feel it all and feel happy and sad and the whole cluster of emotions.”
She replied that it’s okay to go through hard times, and that being present in those times help you grow so much. “You need time. And to take that time and live through it. This time doesn’t have to be bad. This is life. And life is beautiful even in sadness“. In that same conversation she also told me “Resist the feeling of wanting to fast forward through your life. You are capable of finding happiness every single day. You are the sun”. You can bet I took a screen shot of that text and held on to it.
It reminds me that we can find joy in struggle, we can still be happy to be here even if the ride is sometimes uncomfortable. It also reminds me that the smallest actions and words of wisdom we have can have a bigger impact than we imagine – because Clarice probably didn’t anticipate that her words would linger as long as they have and didn’t write that text thinking “Kait will love this so much she will reference it in a blog post one day” – she was just being a great friend who knew I needed some encouragement that day.
Another friend of mine, Emilia, and I spent a lot of this past summer attached at the hip. If we were going to my cottage or her family farm or other adventures we spent a whole lot of time together. A phrase we started saying a lot was “I’m just so happy to be here”. We’d say it when we were relieved to have finally found a restaurant without a huge line when we were hungry, on Canada Day when we found a dry place to watch fireworks from after hours of standing in the rain, biting into a freshly picked peach, it was sometimes finally making it down to the beach after a long drive, it was a declaration that we were so grateful to be in that moment.
I think about it a lot, because saying it started as a bit of a joke but the truth is – I am SO happy to be here. Living the life I get to live, having the most wonderful people around me and spending time in beautiful places. It is such a privilege. Despite facing some hurdles and heartbreak I also experienced a lot of love, kindness and wonderful things this past year. Carrying with me a mindset that every day can have something happy in it and that life is beautiful when it is hard, sad, or kicking your butt changed how I look at life this year.
Yes, there will be hard times but you can still carry a mindset that you’re happy to be here.
A major theme for me this year has been developing and investing in community, and if you’re a regular reader you’ll notice I often name drop friends in posts. I was going to do a few shout outs to some people who inspired me in 2017 who I hope to channel a little more of in 2018, but there list became so long and I didn’t want to forget anyone so instead of naming names I’m going to talk about the qualities these people have that inspire me.
I have had old friends stand by my side this year, and had the pleasure of making some wonderful new friends too. From people who are willing to open their hearts and show their emotions, to friends who are exuberant and joyful, and still those who love you so much they remind you that they will help you carry the load of life – I have been so blessed. This year I hope to be more like my friends who make me feel comfortable and safe enough to share my most embarrassing feelings and who can respond with “I feel that”, “I know what you’re going through”, and “you’re not alone in feeling that”.
I want to be more like the friends who show me what it means to love people, to be wholly authentic, honest, non-judgemental, and caring. I have a friend who, when they hear about something I am struggling with, and it would be easy to say “wow that’s hard I’m sorry”, say “Lets talk this through and figure out how we can work through this”. We. The friends who take on life with you are truly priceless and I hope in 2018 when it would be easier to call someone an other I talk about us being a we.
Finally, I so value the friends who celebrate others, who make you feel so special when you walk in a room, and who invest in you and remember little details that make you tick. I also hope, along with being happy to be here and intentionally living in each moment, to be the most loving friend I can be in 2018. If you made it to the end, thank you for sticking around as I get mushy about the people I love so deeply. Cheers to you as you start of a wonderful new year!