When one year ends it has been my habit to create a theme and goals for the approaching new year. Since my birthday is January 4th, I tend to view the start of my year as my birthday. It just makes sense. But I have been chomping at the bit for the past week or so as I have given thought to my 2018 theme. Having herniated a disc at the beginning of November, I wasn’t feeling up to theme creating and was teetering on the edge of depression, but then a friend made a comment that managed to pull me back from the ledge and helped me find my balance once again. (Thanks Ben!) That comment also got me thinking forward and my 2018 theme was born.
This is what he said:
“Accumulate enough lemons, and one can get really good at making lemonade…even learn to see the value in lemons before the lemonade is made.”
Can you guess the direction of my theme? Lemons. Making lemonade. It is a subject I have been twisting around in my head ever since my friend’s comment, and so I have decided to look at 2018 as my year to make lemonade. Maybe I will even learn to appreciate the lemons before the lemonade is made.
“She was powerful, not because she wasn’t scared but because she went on so strongly, despite the fear.” ~Atticus
“Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.” ~C.S. Lewis
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
“My attitude is that if you push me towards a weakness, I will turn that weakness into a strength.” ~Michael Jordan
“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” ~Jeremiah 17:7-8
Those quotes and the passage of scripture speak to me and my theme of making lemonade. The quotes talk to me about persevering and making the most of whatever situation you might find yourself in. This is what I want to strive for…accepting life’s challenges and lemons and making something beautiful and tasty out of them. Whether I am treated like crap by someone I considered a friend, struggling with ongoing herniated disc related issues or dealing with another of life’s little pitfalls or snares, I have the power to accept those lemons with open arms and to use them to create something beautiful in my life. Sounds easy, right? Ha! I expect that some lemons will be easier to accept than others, but I am willing to accept the challenge.
As is always my habit with the start of a new year, I also have a list of goals. I don’t like to call them resolutions, because I think there is often a negative connotation attached to that word. Resolutions tend to be things that people make and seldom see through to completion, but I am not interested in shallow resolutions. I am not always focused on a specific time-frame for completion, nor is a deadline always beneficial or necessary; however, I do like to have goals on which to focus my energies. Sometimes the most valuable lessons are learned in the striving for a goal more than in the achievement, which compliments my making lemonade theme rather well.
So what do I want to strive for in 2018?
- In a practical sense, I want to use lemons to my advantage. This is a vague but broad goal. Using lemons to my advantage could mean finding ways to use lemons while cooking or baking. It might mean finding splashes of bright yellow in my day-to-day life. It could even mean something that I haven’t yet considered. Regardless, I want to incorporate lemons into my daily life, and I want to document it to the best of my abilities. I am not an expert in photography, but I can take photos of what I create in the kitchen or the wonders that I see. I can definitely blog about it.
- Heal my disc. As I am typing I am desperately trying not to writhe from the pain that is coursing through my left leg. It’s been about 8 weeks since I herniated my disc, and most days I feel doubtful and uncertain about the healing process. I know discs will eventually heal, but I am weary of permanent numbness in my left leg, weary of pain in both legs and the back. I am bored with being off work for weeks on end and unable to do much of anything exciting. I have been doing my rehab work and listening to my medical professionals, but this healing process is moving slowly. I am prepared to do whatever it takes to heal.
- Get back on the powerlifting platform. This could be a big goal…probably the big one of the year, if I can even achieve it in 2018. This is a perfect example of a goal without a deadline. I’d really love to compete at Provincials in June or a local meet in August. Of course, I’d love to compete at Westerns, too, so I can check off the boxes necessary for going to Nationals in 2019. But…I do not have a timeline for healing my disc, which means I have no timeline for picking up a barbell, for training like a powerlifter, for stepping onto a platform to compete. This is a goal that I am striving for, hopeful for, and yet wholly aware that I cannot attach a deadline to it. And I should be okay with the process, regardless of how long it takes to reach the goal…it’s all part of the lemonade theme.
- Walk on the wild side now and then! I want to take chances, get messy, and make mistakes. Over the past few years I have learned to enjoy trying new things, but it still so easy to become comfortable and complacent. I know my limitations. There are things that I will never wish to attempt or do, but I don’t need to do everything to walk on the wild side. All I need is to step outside of my comfort zone now and then and as I am inspired and challenged. I don’t know what this one will look like over the course of a year, but I am interested to see what transpires. Who knows? I might even start the year off with a polar bear dip.
- Simplify! This is something that I include in my list of goals every year. The reason for that is because I view the act of simplifying one’s life as a lifelong challenge and process. Simplifying can take many forms. It might mean reducing one’s possessions, the amount of time wasted on social media/TV/idling in traffic. Simplifying could mean eliminating junk emails, Tupperware with missing lids, and clothing that has gone unworn for months. Perhaps simplifying means reducing financial waste or contact with toxic people. Even my own perspective on simplifying will likely change as the year progresses, and that’s okay. I am always on a quest of removing excess clutter from my life. Just last week, I donated more than half a dozen boxes or garbage bags full of clothing and household items, and I could easily repeat this process every month. Clutter is overwhelming and constricting, and I am always looking for clarity and peace in my little world.
- Expand! In a way, this goal goes hand in hand with the goal of simplicity, which seems odd, I know. I want to expand in ways that have the most impact and matter the most. I want to grow my relationships. I’ve always been someone who treasures relationships. In 2017, I saw the end of a treasured relationship, and that end blindsided me with it’s suddenness and ferocity. While I don’t know that I could have done anything differently in that situation, I do not want to take my other friendships for granted. As much as I often have grand intentions of investing in relationships, sometimes I give myself reason to opt out. That is not the kind of friend I want to be, and so I strive to be better. Expanding can also mean setting and protecting my boundaries. I am a big believer in having boundaries or margins in life, but it isn’t always easy to maintain them. Expanding can also apply to my spiritual life and growing my faith.
So that is my list of big, generic goals for the new year. Undoubtedly, I will create more goals as time goes by and more specific ones. I am always adding layers to my goals. In fact, the other day I picked up a little notebook that I haven’t opened for several months. This notebook contains goals, most of which are connected to the gym, training, and powerlifting. I was able to check off a few goals that I had achieved between then and the last time I had glanced inside the book, but I also began a new list of gym goals, some of which are carried over from before. Like doing 25 consecutive pushups or bench pressing my body weight. I don’t know when I will achieve those goals, but that’s perfectly fine. Real growth is in the process.
The hardest part of this theme has been in deciding on an actual title. Obviously, it needed to include lemons but how. Should I go for the alliteration? Loving Lemons? Or should I settle on the more realistic? Making Lemonade? The simple? Lemonade! Lemons! So many lemony choices and not enough clear, sharp brain cells to think. (The pain killers I am taking can make one drowsy. While I am not drowsy enough to fall asleep while driving or to take a nap, I do feel tired and I do feel as if my brain is stuck in dense fog.) So, which one should I choose? I feel as if I should be wittier in my title-making, but I just can’t force it to happen. Since I need to learn to make lemonade, Making Lemonade it is.