13 Things I Learned In 2013 {www.boldlytanya.com}

  1. Life is short. Our days are numbered, and we don’t have a say. Most likely, what we have left will not be enough. Time is such a precious, precious commodity that I frivolously exhaust.
  2. I dwell in the past.  I replay endless loops of regret and remorse over the things I did or didn’t do. I anguish over the stupid things I have said at the worst possible moments. I add up all the ways I have lacked and didn’t measure up to various standards of others and myself… It is a sad way to spend my valuable time.
  3. I want to write. I don’t care if I am good. I don’t care if no one reads it. I don’t care if everyone knows it. Okay, that last one is a lie. My words are a snapshot of my soul. Sharing them makes me feel vulnerable. Still, the need to turn letters into words into phrases into sentences into paragraphs into chapters into stories is one that courses through my veins like life-sustaining blood. I have to do this for my sanity.
  4. I can’t love people like they are going to leave me and expect them to stay. I can’t keep people at a distance while asking them to open their doors wide and let me come crashing in. I can’t erect impenetrable walls and become enraged when someone can’t infiltrate them.  I can’t censor my thoughts and feeling and expect full and honest disclosure in return. The people I love deserve my vulnerability. They can’t love what I refuse to share, no matter how earnestly I ask it of them.
  5. Emotions are indicators, not dictators. That one is thanks to Lysa TerKeurst. Unglued. I highly recommend it.
  6. My brain tells lies. Vicious lies. I wish I could turn it off. I am seeking God and praying for the gift of discernment. Not every thought is bathed in truth, and the act of scurrying through my brain does not magically birth it into verity. I am learning to take the fabrications captive.
  7. JK Rowling actually can write adult fiction. I hated The Casual Vacancy. I didn’t even finish it. So, when news broke that  The Cuckoo’s Calling was by JKR, but published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, I was torn. Behind The Bible and Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Harry Potter is my all time favorite book(s).  I desperately needed to love a new book by her, but my bibliophilic heart could not handle another monstrosity like Vacancy. In the end, love conquered fear. The verdict: Cuckoo is amazing. It is clearly for adults, but not overtly so. Hopefully, it is the first in another series of excellent books. (I now think of Vacancy as JKR’s brief foray into vulgarity just to prove that she is writing adult fiction; like a literary Miley Cyrus, only much less extreme.)
  8. Some bridges need to burn to the ground. I am not talking about taking someone for granted to the point they don’t want to help anymore, or saying something you can’t take back, or doing something unforgivable. This is bigger than that. I am talking about letting go of unhealthy things – dousing it in gasoline, lighting the match, and walking away. I want to call the fire department to quench the flames before any permanent damage is done. I may even sneak downstream to build another ramshackle bridge to shimmy back across a time or two before it also falls victim to the inferno. Sometimes, it is for me. Sometimes, it is for someone else. Regardless, I have to turn my back on things (or people) that are lethal and burn those bridges down.
  9. My friends are the very best friends. They have relentlessly answered my calls with grace, understanding, kindness, generosity, long-suffering, and camaraderie. Events of this year have mercilessly put them to the test. I haven’t been the easiest person to love or support, yet their fealty is unwavering. They proved they are mine, whether I like it or not, regardless of what I have to give back. They are rare and exquisite, and I love them.
  10. Assumptions do make an ass out of me. Not you. Just me. I am the Queen of Conjecture – just ask my husband. I just conclude he is down with something because it is what I want. Bad assumption. I never purposefully communicate or get concise answers. I casually throw things out there or mention them in passing, but I never actually discuss anything to completion. Terrible things usually result.
  11. I am in control of what comes out of my mouth. I am not in control of what other’s do with it once it leaves. I have a responsibility to speak good things. My words should not be virulent. I should not gossip, bring people down, spread intolerance and negativity, or use my words for malicious purposes. I must also use discretion to determine if what I want to say adds to the conversation and is appropriate for my audience. However, I do have a voice. I can use it. (for something other than yelling at my children.) I can say when I don’t like something. I can disagree. I can stand for what I believe. I can speak up for justice. That isn’t being malicious. It is being honest and respecting myself. I don’t have to stand idly by, subject to the wind or circumstance. I can speak.
  12. Other people do not define me. God made me. He defined me. He is the only one with the power to change that definition.
  13. Worry does nothing for me. The cost of my anxiety is unfathomable, and the reward is nil. While I have not learned to conquer all of my fears, I have learned that it serves no purpose. It is a start.