I made it.
Today is the final day of 2013, and… I made it. There were more than a few times during the course of the year when I wasn’t so certain I would. But, here I am.
Sure, I realize the only thing that actually changes tomorrow is the last digit of a four-digit number. However, there’s a great deal of symbolism associated with that minor change. Though I already began making changes to my life months ago, the metaphorical “clean slate” that comes with the start of a new calendar year can be powerful, and cathartic.
A great deal of loss occurred this year, over which I had no control, and couldn’t have prevented regardless of how much I wanted. But there were also a great many things I could affect, and I began doing so. I occasionally gave myself the affirmation, #OwnIt, as a reminder to seize control and make the most of the opportunities at hand. I began making a conscious effort to at least *try* and be more positive. Especially on Mondays, when everyone (myself included) are accustomed to grousing about the start of a new week, I began giving myself a positive outlook to which I could strive.
In addition to an increased determination to give support to others, I am equally determined to increase focus on myself. Someone once referred to me as a “caretaker.” While they were absolutely correct in that assessment, I eventually realized I was doing so, sometimes, at the expense of my own well-being. This summer I was exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I was serving as a listening ear to several whom were going through very tough times, and I was happy to do so. After a while this role, along with dealing with my own depression, began to take its toll. So I started focussing more on myself, dealing head-on with my depression, and trying to find a happier self. This, of course, gave way to feelings of guilt.
I was talking about this guilt with my new friend, Raven, when she said something so elegant in its simplicity, it struck home immediately. She said, “Enrique, you can’t pour from an empty vessel.” So simple. So obvious. Yet, in my state of depression and guilt it had never once occurred to me to look at it from that perspective. I couldn’t expect to be able to make others happy if I was not happy. I couldn’t hope to bring others joy if I had none. I couldn’t be a source of support for someone else, if I was without support myself. Her words were both a sweet release and a turning point. I had been given the “permission” needed to move forward in helping myself first, before trying to be of help to others.
As the new year dawns, and I prepare to step onto the stage that is 2014, I intend to resurrect the “Enrique Effect” – not the words, not the phrase – rather, the concept behind them. Doing good. Giving back. Being a positive influence, and encouraging others to do so as well. And I will remind myself to do this with a new affirmation: #MakeItMatter.
By focussing on the future, and relinquishing the past, I look to have a more harmonious, peaceful life. By starting within – by rejuvenating my inner peace – my goal is to no longer simply exist, but to live a life that is happy. I will continue to write – both here on the blog, and through poetry. I will continue to draw when inspired. Simply put: whatever it is I do, I plan to #MakeItMatter. In the end, I hope to make those around me happy, as well.