I took a walk yesterday.
See, I was all alone for New Year's Eve. My kids were with their Dad, and my father (who's been visiting for a week) had to get back on the road yesterday.
So I did some writing, some cleaning, some more writing…
Then I watched a movie and folded some laundry and ah, hell….I was just bored. Seriously bored.
It was cold out, but not wretchedly so, and I have a gorgeous place not fifteen minutes from my house with hiking trails, a big gurgling stream, nice flat boulders to climb on and over, and I really could use the fresh air.
I slipped on my hiking shoes, zipped up a fleecy hoodie, grabbed a bottle of water, and off I went.
After forty minutes of solid cardio-hiking, climbing uphill and over boulders, I realized a few things:
First, I probably shouldn't have gone hiking alone, especially without leaving a note behind or something. It was New Year's Eve and I hadn't seen a soul on any of the trails. If I'd fallen or twisted an ankle, they'd be finding my frozen body in the morning, since my cellphone wasn't getting any reception.
And what if I had seen someone? And he was a lot bigger than me and lived in a cave or something, and he only ate food that he strangled himself?
I know, I know….but your mind goes there in the middle of the woods.
Eventually, I sat my butt on a really cold rock and cracked open my bottle of water, mentally patting myself on the back for my workout and for all the writing I'd done, and then I finally decided that none of this crap running through my mind was what I really hiked out there for.
I put down the water bottle, and I sat in the stillness, and I just listened.
The trees were rustling. The stream was rushing. There was a skittering sound every so often. And I was breathing.
And so it occurred to me that this was what I was meant to be there for. The message I was to take away.
Peace. And along with that – Progress.
My two enduring words for 2015.
If it doesn't bring me peace, if it doesn't bring me progress, I need to change it or let it go. It's that simple.
I can apply this concept all over my life.
When I argue with my daughter – and she's thirteen, folks, we argue plenty – I can ask myself, will there be a resolution to this that will bring me peace? Or give us progress? Held under that lens, it's a little easier to pick my battles.
When I start dating, my relationships can be measured with that yardstick, as well. Does being with him bring me a sense of peace? Are we making progress? Or just spinning our wheels?
When I take on a new writing job – does it feed my soul? Further my career? Hopefully both? I will choose only those things that do and let the others go.
And here's my personal logo to sum it all up. Simple, yet effective.
So here's to 2015 – my year of peace and progress. I wish you the same for your new year, as well.