When I first made the decision that I was going to change my life, I had no idea how much change needed to happen. It's kind of strange to me that so many of the people that I am around on a daily basis have trouble imagining me the way I was a year ago because they didn't know me. There's just a couple of friends and, of course, my family that look at me and just can't believe the person I've become. In a long overdue conversation with my cousin, it was so fun to hear that even though we don't see each other much, she could even see through texts, this blog and facebook posts how happy I am. She has definitely been there for me when I've been at my lowest points (trust me, there have been a lot of them) and I love that she is so excited for me as I continue to live this new life I am creating for myself every day.
People ask me all the time, 'How does it feel?'. The best answer I can come up with is one word - UNBELIEVABLE. If you haven't experienced significant struggles in your life at one time or another, I'm not sure I can describe what it feels like when the weight of the world feels like it is finally lifted off of your shoulders. Do I still have concerns, problems and times where I struggle? Absolutely. It's what makes me human. But, I think the biggest difference for me now when describing "how it feels" is it feels like I am finally free. I am in control of myself, my emotions and everything else in my life. I honestly can't describe what that feels like. For so long I always felt like I was spinning in circles without ever finding a place to land. Now, I don't have that struggle. And that has made a world of difference in so many other aspects of my life.
Sometimes I have difficulty looking back at my life and realizing how much time I spent being so unhappy. For anyone who knows me, you know I love pictures in more ways than I could ever describe. They capture moments that we tend to forget and allow us to reflect back on things we've long forgotten when we see the images or people again. So, when I saw this quote, it kinda spoke to me.
Focus on what's important -
I've decided that I can't focus on what I can't change. That includes the past. Instead, I have to, and I want to, focus on what's important in my life. The short list includes my family, the amazing friendships I've rediscovered or been lucky enough to find in the last year, doing my best at my job every day, enjoying being active and healthy, finding ways to improve every day and so much more that I can't think of off the top of my head.
Capture the good times -
For me, so much of this revolves around a camera or another way of documenting important events in my life. This blog is a great example. I have a scary ability to recall things. I remember things no one has business remembering. With that memory, I try every day to focus on all the good times in my life. The amount of time I get to spend with my family, friendships that just continue to be more fun as every day goes by, the job I am lucky enough to do every day, every time I'm successful making something new to eat and, of course, when I find York peppermint patties in the shape of hearts and Easter eggs at the store. Hey, it's the simple things, right?
Develop from the negatives -
Wow, I have done more of this in the last year than I could have ever imagined! I have Renee' to thank for that even though I'm not allowed to say thank you :) When we first met, I was so focused on everything that was bad in my life. I couldn't find anything positive about myself. When she told me my heart is my best asset, I'll be honest, I smiled and it made me feel good but I wasn't sure what would make her think or say that. But, as I slowly started to climb out of the deep dark hole I was in, I began to see that I am an amazing person. Every day I see how much all of those negative experiences and people have taught me throughout my life. They are a part of who I am, inside and out. And they've taught me more lessons than I ever thought I would learn as an adult. And, although I still have days or moments where I struggle with my self-esteem and confidence, knowing that there are people in my life who are there to catch me if I start to fall gives me the confidence I need to start every day on a positive note and bring happiness to others.
Unlike the person I was a year ago, I am so willing to give things another shot. Actually, I'm willing to try them for the first time, well, once I get used to the idea....It's the only way life will get better. So, if things don't work out the first time, give it another shot. You never know what you might find. I found happiness, friendships and so much more. And I discover more and more every day. Take a chance. You won't regret it. I don't.