To 2022 With Gratitude

Last year, I said “If 2020 was the year that broke me, 2021 is the year that built me.”

If 2021 was the year that built me, 2022 has been the year I stepped into a reality a past version of myself would have never believed was possible.

If I had to describe 2022, I’d say it’s been the year of “yes” – to life, in love, at work, in friendships, travel, and everything in-between.

This time last year, I couldn’t have predicted how 2022 was going to unfold in the slightest, but it’s all come together in such perfect synchronicity. Even the things that’ve gone sideways and upended to the point of frustration and tears, which there’s been no shortage of, all of those have worked out, too.

I started off 2022 dating someone who made my heart feel safe for the first time in years. He was kind, and patient, and he had this way about him that when he spoke, it felt like time stood still. The last time I saw him, I picked him up from chemotherapy and we got fries and chocolate shakes at Wendy’s. He had this rough, cough-like laughter and piercing, ice-blue eyes. He had this zest for life that was apparent in everything he did, and I’m forever grateful our paths crossed because he taught me to be more intentional with my time and to have fun with life, because it’s really not that serious . . . we’re all going to die anyway, so why not enjoy the ride?

I dated someone who broke things off because I didn’t give him butterflies (this gem). I’m grateful for him, too, because he was a much-needed kick in my ass to remind me that there is strength in learning to walk away from people who do not see your worth.

The (hard) truth I’ve realized is that with the wrong people, you will never say the right things and/or do enough. While I don’t think the reverse is necessarily true, you can definitely say shitty things to the right people, but I don’t think you have to convince the right people that you’re worth their while. I wish I’d learned this lesson years ago, but better late than never, right?

Something I’ve found helpful when navigating this concept of standing in your worth is detachment theory. That is, let what comes, come, and what goes, go. The right people will stay and the wrong ones will see themselves out every single time, without fail. I should backpedal and attach a warning – practicing this may feel wildly uncomfortable at first, but the end results are one hundred percent worth it.

When I wasn’t trying my luck in love, I did a number of other things this year that, quite frankly, scared me shitless at times, but they also pushed me to grow as a person. I navigated some health issues with my dogs, including two emergency surgeries and a couple complicated diagnoses. They’re all doing okay, and even though some days feel more chaotic than others, it’s a responsibility I feel really grateful to be able to take on.

I feel like I could write a whole chapter about all of the car drama I’ve had this year. I’ve replaced: half a dozen tires, two windshields, one drivetrain, one ignition, and a couple batteries . . . but again, I feel grateful as heck because almost ten years ago, I couldn’t even get behind the wheel of a car because of how badly it triggered panic attacks related to what happened after I graduated college. Now, ya girl not only pumps her own gas and puts air in her tires, but she also knows how to change her car’s oil and top off all the other fluids (and how to get other things fixed when they literally blowup on freeways in the middle of nowhere . . . ).

This year I started and finished a few tattoos (more on that later). What initially began as a curiosity, has proven to be quite the test of endurance. The latest piece I began a few months ago is by far the most extensive and most painful one to date, but it’s a challenge I’m excited to continue chipping away at in 2023.

This year I also dabbled in cold exposure. What started out as a three minute ice bath with EDM blaring on a beautiful beach in Mexico, quickly escalated into a Wim Hoff retreat in sub zero temperatures (we’re talking like -15 to -18°C . . . I think that’s the correct conversion from silly American measurements?) in the dead of a European winter. This experience tested my physical and mental endurance in ways very little I’ve done compares. It pushed me well past any comfort zones I had, and then some.

Up until this trip, I’d spent the better part of the last decade incredibly disconnected and distrusting of my body (for a number of reasons). This experience recalibrated and renewed a deep sense of knowing within myself that I am safe in ways I haven’t felt in many years. I will say, the first time I did a full body immersion into the frozen lake we were staying near, I cried so much and I was ready to go home immediately, but I’m glad that I didn’t. I am forever grateful for the tribe of other humans who braved the frigid temperatures alongside me. That trip truly unlocked some magic I’m excited to see take shape in the coming years. Talk about core memories to carry for a lifetime – aho!

This year I tried paddle boarding for the first time on a lake in Texas, and now I’m a regular at my local watering hole with a teal SUP that fits into a backpack that’s literally the size of my entire body. On that lake, over games of Monikers and Brazilian charades, on a rooftop across a bowl of blueberries, and one very powerful Sunday sermon, I shared stories with strangers who’ve become friends . . . all because I saw some guy’s TikTok on my FYP.

This year I broke up with alcohol, for good, and I will be celebrating one year without it a few months into 2023. This might be the single best decision I’ve made all year. It’s definitely something I want to talk more about, but for the sake of brevity, I think learning to live without it has opened up space for me to have more authentic relationships and to really be able to sit with life when it gets heavy. Like a lot of other things this year, it was definitely uncomfortable at first, but at some point it got easier and I found this immense sense of peace in its absence. And sure, this choice definitely cost me some friends who’re still all about a bottomless brunch, but it also brought some of the most incredible people into my life, and for that, I feel pretty damn lucky. Detachment, baby – if it’s meant to stay, it’ll stay, if it’s supposed to go, it’ll go.

If you’re at all curious about sobriety or the journey I took to get here, I’m more than happy to share my experiences with it. I think this might be the first time I’ve mentioned it on my socials, but it’s by far one of my proudest accomplishments to date.

This year, I took myself out on more solo adventures – brunch dates, and concerts, and book signings, and even a solo trip halfway around the world. I spent many nights having dance parties of one in my kitchen with my dogs. I built lots of legos (Van Gogh’s Starry Night, the typewriter, the Office, and several floral displays, to name a few). I assembled many a puzzle, and there was also a fair bit of crying.

Okay, there was a lot of crying this year.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

I had a kitchen fire that got a little scary . . . and a nine-foot, 300 pound piece of equipment stuck on a landing (some things aren’t a one-woman job). . . and countless other things that, looking back, are neither here nor there, but I’m grateful for each and every one of them because they pushed me to problem-solve, and when I couldn’t figure it out on my own, they provided opportunities for me to ask for help. Damn, if that isn’t a lesson unto itself . . . life isn’t meant to be lived on your own, and I think sometimes we can get caught up thinking we have to be able to do it all by ourselves. Spoiler alert, you don’t, and once you eat the frog, fuck, life gets a hell of a lot easier.

This year I learned that for every person who makes you feel like you’re hard to love, or that you’re not enough, or that you laugh too loud, or that you have weird hobbies, there are MORE people who will see tenacity and grit in your past. There are MORE people who will tell you that your laugh is infectious in the best way possible. There are MORE people who will think that your hobbies are freaking cool . . . and you might even find someone who wants to build lego figurines with you while on a date at the mall.

Not that any of this matters – because if you like (*ahem, love*) yourself, external validation won’t be the motivating reason why you do things. Sure, compliments are great, but if I took into account what every person thinks or has said about my tattoos, or how many dogs I have, or how anything I do is different from how they’d do it . . . I’d never make everyone happy.

At the end of the day, I’m the one taking care of my pack of dinosaurs . . . and sitting and paying for the hundreds of hours of ink on my body . . . among all of the other big and not so big decisions I make every single day. If I like (or even love) what I’m doing and it’s contributing towards me showing up as a better human in the world around me, then I’m calling in more of that in 2023, full stop.

It’s wild to think how I used to people please like it was my sole purpose in life. Unsurprisingly, that attracted all of the wrong people into my life, or, maybe it brought all of the right people into my life . . . people who really didn’t love or care about me, so I had to eventually learn how to love myself . . . which in turn would eventually attract people who feel less like lessons and more like love.

This year has been one of my favorite to date. In 2022, I met so many incredible people and I had so many empowering experiences. While I have a feeling it’s just the beginning of so much good to come in this next season, I am forever grateful for the contrast from the last few years. I think I’m finally ready to let go of the girl who felt broken and undeserving of happiness. I wish I could go back and hug that version of myself who had resigned to the belief that life would always feel hard and lonely, even in the company of others. The version of myself who spent every single night crying on the pavement because it was the only place that felt safe. The girl who felt so undeserving to be alive and who begged the universe for help to keep holding on.

And while that help didn’t immediately arrive, I feel like it pushed me to such a point of discomfort that I had nothing left to lose. I started to dream up a life where things were effortless – where the relationships in my life felt aligned and supportive, where the work I did had purpose, and where I trusted myself and my decision-making even when I was the only person in the room. It led me to people who emanated positivity and talked about woo woo things like manifesting and gratitude practices. I started to believe better and different was possible, and before I knew it, I was making choices where I felt the fear of doing something new and did it anyway.

I think I will always be a work in progress, but this work is now taking the time to celebrate just how far she’s come. Sure, there’s always room to do more, but gosh darn, I’ve come a long way and I think the life I’ve built in the last few years reflects that.

More than that though, I hope that sharing any or all of this inspires anyone who might be feeling lost with a bit of a roadmap to get back to a place of worthiness and hope. Just because you’re going through something that feels impossible and overwhelming and like you’re barely holding your head above water . . . you don’t have to feel like that forever.

If I’ve learned one thing, amongst the list of things I’ve already shared in this post, it’s that you have to take frequent and ruthless audits of your life. If something or someone isn’t adding to your happiness, why are you letting it continue to take up space in your life? If you’re doing something that lights you up and makes you feel alive, how can you incorporate more of that into your daily routines? Sure, easier said than done, but coming from someone who literally felt like God’s personal comedian at the rate my life felt like it was falling apart, to where I’m at now . . . it can get better. It can get so good and I’m grateful every single day I held on one more day . . . because at the end of the day, all we can do is take things one day at a time.

I don’t know how long I’ve got left on this floating rock, but I do know life is a hell of a lot sweeter and brighter when you choose to spend it with people who feel like sunshine and you like, maybe even love, the person you’re deciding to show up as each and every day.

I’m sure next year will have its fair share of challenges and difficult moments, but I’ll be damned if I don’t tell the people I love how much they mean to me. I’m going to take every opportunity to cheer on my friends as they work towards their dreams, and to ask strangers how they’re actually doing, and to continue taking the time to slow down and soak it all in instead of worrying about what’s ahead or what’s behind me.

Sending you so much love and hope as we look ahead to 2023. May this next year bring you everything you want – and maybe if you don’t get what you think you want, it might be because there’s better waiting for you.



Author: 2LWithIt

Spoonie Adventures in Books, Beauty, & Bullshit I'm a twenty-something year old recent law and business school grad living with a chronic health condition. Follow along on my shenanigans.

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