There's no doubt about it. I am burnt to a bloody crisp on several levels. Birthdays are always a good time for me to evaluate where I've been and where I'm headed. This year I had the added bonus of getting out of Vermont for my birthday and the distance provides extra perspective.
Hot flashes and panic attacks followed me to Asia. Darn. I sat still, breathed, slept, drank tea brews that tasted like motor oil and promised relief. And the message that has echoed for months in the darkest corner of the loneliest panic as well as in the deepest calm after morning meditation is "move inward, venture outward."
The time has come for me to spend more time alone. Quiet. Discovering new places both inside me and in the world, on my own terms, in my own slow motion way. Not to spend more time at home, oh no, home isn't the place in Vermont where I live, but to spend more time in the home of my own thoughts, in observing and recording via words.
So, in this personal new year, I will be saying no to many more social activities - the after work drinks, the lunches, the opportunities to be on boards of directors and to perform volunteer work. Not all, but some. The constant extroversion has worn me out. The desire to say yes to others because I so want to liked and don't want to offend - it burns a hole in my stomach. It is not who I am.
Simultaneously, I will be venturing outward in new ways. More travel is in the works as my daughter heads off to university next year and I will be freer. I used to travel a lot prior to her birth and now the time has come to do it again.
Going to graduate school is a 28-year old dream that must be pursued now. Not for professional development, but for me. Just because I want to.
A trusted intuitive reader told me last year that I would attract more opportunities to speak, present and teach in this year. She was right. They came out of nowhere, it seemed. Most of the time they terrified me, but I know this is also part of the venturing outward I can only do well when I simultaneously turn inward.
Finally, and most importantly, it's time to venture outward with more writing. Boldly. I am quite sure that anxiety that has eaten holes in my insides for 49 years is the result of not speaking my piece. And I realize that speaking my piece will not always be met with enthusiasm by everyone. Communication is funny that way. No matter what you say or how benignly you believe you say it, everyone experiences it through their own lens of experience.
So be it.
Here we go, my perfectly square 49th year.