what i learned in 2014

PicMonkey Collage I've never looked forward to New Years quite the way I have this year. And while I have to admit, I'm anxious to turn the page on my calendar, I also believe that reflection and closure are important parts of moving forward. So I'm settling down here long enough to punch out some of the most important things that I've learned: the ones I want to carry with me into 2015 and beyond. This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination.

1. In 2014, I learned that I am a highly sensitive personI was browsing my friend Sarah's blog when I found her post on being a highly sensitive person. It was as if she had been camping out in my brain and taking notes. So I did a bit of googling, took a self-test, and was not at all surprised by the results. I am a highly sensitive person. I tend to be easily overwhelmed as it is, but if an environment is particularly busy or requires me to pay attention to numerous things at the same time (i.e. driving in the city) I am much more prone to anxiety and I exhaust much quicker than I normally would. So I have to be conscientious of that parameter and make sure I make an effort to engage in self-care.

2. I'm hungry for adventure.  I am in no way an adrenaline junkie. But I did several things for the first time this year that I never thought I would or could do. I rode roller coasters (the highest in the south east at Six Flags over Georgia), went zip lining, shot a gun, got my hair highlighted, showed up at the lovely Dawn Camp's house for (in)RL, played church softball, and saw one of my favorite musicians. Obviously some of those things are less adrenaline inducing than others, but even the small things left their marks. Sure, I didn't want to open my eyes and see how high off the ground I was, but when I did, all I could see were the lights. There were lights for miles.

3. Just do it. Pretty simple. For crying out loud, quit whining and get on the dang roller coaster. It will be awesome (don't tell my husband I said that). Also complex, in that I learned that it is okay to reach for something, to dream, to try a lot of things without being afraid of rejection or failure -- because I will fail, probably over and over again along the way. But I will also kick some ass and figure out what it is in this world that makes my heart beat fast.

4. The Nature Noise playlist on Spotify is my jam. In the office, in the shower, in the car, in my ear buds at Starbucks. Hours and hours of rainstorms, jungle calls, and ocean surf. It is so relaxing.

5. 2014 taught me to be more gracious when things go haywire. Because I know what its like when the computer system at the office is down and when people are late and the whole schedule is thrown out the window and what its like to deal with frustrated people. So by asking how are you on the phone or by telling my hairdresser to take her time, I can actively expand the margins and create space for myself and the people around me to breathe easier.

6. I feel called to some kind of leadership. Vague, I know, but I don't have a radically clear picture of what it looks like right now. Back when I was writing the identity series, I was intentional about including reflection questions that could spark conversation centered around our stories and who we are in Christ -- and I noticed that my breath caught in my chest when I considered the idea of doing a study like that with other women in my home. I got excited by the prospect of creating an environment where honesty and authenticity could take center stage. So I decided to invite a handful of women from my church to my house in January to explore what this might grow into.

7. Home is my element. I love being at home. There was a time in my life where all I wanted to do was go go go, but now all I want to do is stay. I want to cook and clean and decorate and organize and make my home a place to enjoy. I also learned that whenever I use the term "nesting," people automatically think that I'm pregnant. I'm not pregnant.

8. Nothing encourages me like encouraging you. So much, in fact, that I am seriously considering getting a masters degree or some kind of certification in life coaching. I love sitting down and talking about goals and dreams and passions and callings and gifts and parameters and how to dig deep and make it happen.

9. I heart Grey's. Like, I actually shed tears at the end of season ten, ya'll.

10. Praying for others is much easier when I'm intentional about asking how I can pray. So, friend, how can I pray for you today?

11. To pay attention to how things make me feel, and how I want to feel. Insert shameless plug for Danielle LaPorte here. For example, I prefer the doors in my house to be open because it makes me feel open. Its incredibly simple, I know, but it makes a difference. Also, my core desired feelings are creative, spacious, gratitude, aligned, and authentic. 

12. It is totally okay to enjoy girly things. For the longest time, I have been ashamed to profess my love of makeup, nail polish and hair styling. But over the past few months, I've started watching essiebutton, and I've been thoroughly enjoying diving into the wonderful world of cosmetics.

13. How to redefine "comfort zone." Watch this.

14. I can write a book. I self-published (very informally) an e-book based on my 31 Days series from 2013, and then I wrote strong and hard for 31 days in 2014. I used outlines, and edited, and each came out to be over thirty pages. It was just a matter of actually sitting down to do the work. Related: I learned that there are roughly 250 words on the average a book page.

15. Refusing to compete with the people around me gives everyone space to breathe and freedom to be themselves. Including me, surprisingly enough.

16. Bacon Numbers. Another win for Google. You can actually search for the number of degrees a famous person is separated from Kevin Bacon. Charlie Chaplain's Bacon Number is 2. Let that sink in.

17. #idhtbptbb. Thank you, Nester.

{Linking up with Emily Freeman today.}