Whether or not you believe in horoscopes, I still think you can glean some valuable lessons from reading about your sign. One such lesson came to me recently when I was reading Susan Miller's Astrology Zone. Susan wrote (I'm paraphrasing here) that the new year doesn't necessarily begin on January 1st, but rather on your birthday. With each new year of your life you can choose to see your birthday as a fresh start and make plans and set goals for the 365 days ahead.
I hadn't really taken this approach in recent years, probably because my last three birthdays were pretty terrible. In September of 2011, I lost my grandmother. The following September, my cousin passed away. Last year on my birthday, September 30th, I woke up to news that that cousin's twin brother had gone missing, and a few days later we received word that he too had passed. With these losses on my mind, I've spent much of the last three years trying to cope but still feeling bogged down by the heaviness of it all.
And really, 2014 hasn't been easy either. I could spend paragraphs describing to you all why it's been tough, but that's one of the things I'm attempting to work on from here on out, taking it back to what I was talking about earlier. Reading Susan Miller's advice, she mentioned that in the month leading up to your birthday it's important to take time to set goals for yourself and decide what changes you want to make. I purchased a new notebook for myself and began writing a list of the things I wanted to accomplish, from career goals to silly, personal things and serious self-improvement steps.
Since my birthday is next week I decided to share some of these goals with you guys. Even if your birthday isn't coming up anytime soon, the ideas below might inspire you, or maybe you'll have some advice to offer. Either way, I'd like to hear your thoughts. Here we go.
Let It Out And Let It Go
I know it seems like I'm a pretty open book when it comes to my writing, but in reality I'm not much for sharing. Writing helps, obviously. It's much easier to put feelings down in text without having to face someone's eye contact or immediate reaction.
There's a distance with writing that makes it comfortable, but I still have my boundaries. And those boundaries, outside of writing, become more like giant stone walls. When bad things happen I tend to file them away and try not to think about them, which is obviously not very healthy. As you probably know, bottling things up tends to result in emotional explosions.
I've finally reached a point in my adulthood where I've realized that I need to let these things out, but not necessarily through writing. Instead I can choose to talk to my friends, my family, a counsellor -- whomever. The point is that I need to get better at clearing out my head, and even better at letting it go. Once it's out there, it's time to move on and make way for new thoughts and feelings.
Focus On The Joy
Lately I've been pretty productive creatively, and it feels really good. It's nice to have plenty of outlets through which I can express myself. However, with any sort of creative expression comes self doubt. I mean, how many people are 100% confident in their creative output? Kanye West, and I think that's about it.
In the past I've let myself get really bogged down by criticisms towards my work. Whether it was in high school and I was being graded on a painting, or now when there's a less-than-glowing comment on an article, I have taken hits to my ego and let them temporarily take me out of the game.
Now though, I've started to take notice of those moments of joy I get while creating. The rush of excitement I get when I'm hit with a new idea is a hundred times more powerful than the hurt I feel when it's criticized. My goal for the next year (and life, in general) is to make sure I keep noticing that glee. I get a buzz from making things. If some people don't like the end product, who cares? Because if I enjoyed the process, and I'm comfortable with the result, nothing else matters.
Get Out There
This is less of an internal goal and more of something that I have been meaning to do but have always put off, and that's to travel more, and to travel alone. In the past I have always talked myself out of it. It would be too expensive, too stressful, too this, too that. I dreamed about changes of scenery but never bothered to make those dreams a reality.
This year that changes, since I'll be spending my birthday in London. I've never been outside of North America, let alone for such an extended period of time (two weeks). I'm nervous, but I'm so excited to finally be doing something instead of just talking about it. I'm proud of myself for saving my money and putting in the work to be able to afford the trip. I hope to keep up the trend in 2015 with trips to Cuba, New York and who knows where else.
Well, these are just three out of many, many goals. What do you think? Is this idea of starting anew on your birthday a bunch of BS or am I on to something here? I want to hear your input, and I also obviously want some sightseeing suggestions for London if you've got 'em.
Here's to the new year. The September 30, 2014 -- September 30, 2015 new year, that is.