2014 was a big year for me. There were no huge events or celebrations; most of the year was spent at home, revising and editing PLAY ON, revising a secret YA Contemporary, and drafting the follow-up to PO. So what made this such a big year? I learned. A lot. And in true-to-me form, I’m going to share some of those things with you guys.
1) It’s Okay to Say No
I’ve always been a people-pleaser, almost to a fault. I would say “yes” first, and figure out how to make it work later. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is when you become overwhelmed with all the have-to-dos. When you agree to be everywhere at once, you stretch yourself too thin. What happens to a rubber band that’s stretched too far? It snaps.
And I snapped. More than once.
When you say yes to everything, you’re unable to truly focus on the things that matter. So about midway through the year, I made a list of priorities, and those get my “yes” first. These are my best yeses. These are the things that are right for me. These are the things that get my full attention. And then, if I have time to spare, I’ll move on to something else.
Lesson learned: it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to admit that you’re one person, and you’re only capable of so much.
2) It’s Okay to Take a Break
Life is crazy. It’s hectic. You go and go and go, non-stop for days. Maybe you’re a writer and your calendar’s full of deadlines. Maybe you’re a parent and you’re in survival mode with an infant or toddler who always needs something. Maybe it’s your brain, which just won’t slow down.
You’re tired. You’re worn. You’re looking at a blank screen or at a baby who won’t sleep. You’re looking in the mirror, at a person who’s broken and exhausted and just tired. Maybe you actually say the words “I need a break.”
Walk away from the computer. If your baby is fed and dry, place them in their crib and walk away for five minutes, or call a friend or family member and ask for help. If you’re locked inside your head and your thoughts won’t slow down for you, close your eyes. Breathe. Listen to music. Take a walk. Take a hot shower. Call a hotline. Call your therapist, if you have one. Do what you need to do keep yourself healthy.
I had more than one breakdown this year. I’ll likely have more than one in 2015 because hey, this is me we’re talking about–it happens. But this is when you need to have your safe place. And when you need a break? Run like heck until you reach that place. And remember: just breathe.
3) I Don’t Have it All Figured Out. And that’s Okay.
I’m a planner. I need a plan. I need to know what’s going to happen today, and tomorrow, and next week. But sometimes life throws a curveball, and you’re left wondering where the heck everything went wrong. Maybe you made a mistake. Maybe you completely screwed something up.
Mistakes and screw-ups suck. Feeling defeated is downright miserable. But the important thing here is to give yourself some grace, and remember that it happens to everyone. It’s part of life. Forgive yourself, tuck the lesson into your back pocket, dust yourself off, take the consequences in stride, and keep going. And honestly? Some of the best lessons in my life have come from screwing up.
4) Do What’s Right for Yourself
This one is short and sweet. Repeat after me: You will never, ever, ever please everyone. Someone, somewhere, is going to find fault in something you do. Make the choices that are right for you.
In 2014, I grew. I learned. I acknowledged that I still have a lot of growing and learning to do. And I’m looking forward to it.
I’ll see y’all in 2015. ❤