I was out walking with my dog the other night. For those of you not keeping track, I recently adopted an eleven-month old standard poodle named Teddy. Anyway, we were out walking one night. It was terribly cold. As we walked, I buried my head as far into my scarf as my slight claustrophobia would allow, pulled my hat down to just above my eyebrows, and trudged on. Teddy had decided that tonight would be a perfect night to take his sweet time, and lay down in random snowbanks, trying to find one that was going to give him the comforts of home while he was on a walk to “do his business.”
While Teddy’s sense of urgency was lacking, mine was not. I had my eye on the prized- a warm, welcoming home, where sweatpants and hoodies were the preferred attire, and no one would judge you for wearing clashing colors. I was driven, motivated, and determined to make it out of the -30° wind chill in one piece. Teddy, however, had other plans.
I watched him poking around, smelling smells, and knowing that this was most likely one of few experiences with cold and snow, seeing how he was only born last January. And while my goal was to get home and miss what was happening around me, Teddy’s main concern was being able to experience this new world. My goal was to bury my head, skip what was in front of me, and Teddy wanted to jump and pounce and prance through the new, powdery snow.
This pretty much describes what all of 2016 has been like. After losing my job last November, and fighting to find a full time position where I was going to be given room to grow and excel, I struggled with mental health issues, the feeling of having little-to-no purpose, and losing identity. My goal was to keep my head buried, share with no one, and not to let anyone in for fear that my weaknesses would show.
Instead, I buried myself in other peoples’ problems, the election, family drama, or anything else I could find to hide behind instead of facing the issues that I needed to in order to be healthy. With the new year coming, I’ve vowed to make a change in how I attack my life.
So many people I’ve known have chose the route of blocking out the world around them, and dealing with their brokenness alone. This isolates us, turns us inward, and sends us into a ridiculous tailspin of self reflection, that usually causes more harm than good. What we needed the most during these times are to be reminded of our worth by people who know it when we don’t, and people who value us when we feel like our value has been depleted.
As the year comes to a close (a long, difficult, sad, scary year), my hope for you is that you be like Teddy. Be willing to be adventurous, lay down in the snowbank, and live every day like your experiencing it for the first time (even if, as Minnesotans, we get really exhausted of days below 0°).
This is my new beginning, and I’m inviting anyone who wants to join me to do so. This year, I resolve to be open, welcoming, and accepting of people’s love because eventually I will need it, and when you need love in return, I’ll be there to give you what I have to offer. And I expect you to accept it.