As you enter into the new year, what would you like to do/make/have/be more often? How will you bear witness and celebrate the tiny milestones? How will you respond on the occasions when your intentions do not come to pass?
In 2014, I did a better job of celebrating the small, great moments that happened, better than I ever had before in my life. I still held myself to high standards, but I understood that reaching the big goal was not the only milestone worth recognizing. When a good review came over email for Confessions of a Teacher Recruiter: How to Create an Extraordinary Resume and Hook Your Dream Job– even just a “Thank you!”- I made a point to get up and do a specific happy dance. And when I was doing something I wanted to remember, like performing my first same-sex marriage, I took a selfie. If I realized something uniquely positive about myself and my work, I would grab my husband by the elbow and say it out loud at that very moment so it wasn’t just self-talk.
One of the things I realized that I was not as comfortable with this year is grieving and mourning the negative milestones that come with being an adult. This September, a dear friend of mine, Perry Medina, passed away unexpectedly just a few weeks short of 50 years of age and left a wife and two young daughters. We worked together and he was my softball manager at the company I worked at in 2004. From day one, he became the big brother I never had, always watching out for me and the bad boys I insisted on dating, accompanying me to Giants and Yankees games and inviting me to corporate parties long after I left the company.
A few years later when he was between jobs, I helped him land a consulting gig with my new office in 2008 and when he left, we talked less. He was not a big Facebook user, which made it hard to stay touch when I moved 900 miles away, but we’d connect on his birthday every year via text. This is what the last year’s few text exchanges looked like.
Me: “I met a boy- and I think he might be a keeper?!”
Me: “I moved in with the guy I told you about!” :)
Perry: “Whaaaaatt? I’m knew you’d figure it out.” :)
And how I imagined the 2014 texts that were never placed.
Me: “Duuuuude- I GOT MARRIED! TO THAT GUY!!”
Perry: “I am so happy for you, kid. He’s a lucky man.”
I found out that Perry had passed on my Facebook news feed while I was waiting in my parked car, early by 20 minutes for a meeting. I let out a ginormous sob and my next emotion was guilt, that I would probably not be able to pull myself together to attend my meeting that I had committed to. I emailed the people I was meeting and went home, put on my old softball hat and cried into a big goblet of wine that night… And felt again guilt, that I was so upset about someone I only talked to once a year now, something that “should” feel tiny.
But Perry was special to me and all of my emotions were the right ones to have. I still check his Facebook page now and then. I need to let go of the guilt that it is creepy behavior, and realize that it is okay to take a minute of my day and remember my friend with peace and love.
In 2015, I want to be secure in my feelings and not label them. I reject expectations of my emotions that are not authentic to my reality. I can’t always “be myself” when the world demands and that is alright with me. I can be the second best, or even 20th best, version of myself if that is what is needed. The world will still function.
How will you “be” in 2015?