Last year, I wrote this post to summarize 2015: A Year of Waiting.
Looking back at what I wrote at the end of 2015 brings to light just how much has changed in the past 365 days. If that was my year of waiting, it can only mean that 2016 was my year of doing.
Almost everywhere I look on the internet, everyone is rejoicing in the fact that 2016 is over – and I will agree that it was a really really weird year for the world. But for me personally, it was the best I have ever had. This was the year I stopped doubting myself. I practiced thinking less, and doing more. This might not make sense for many people, but as a chronic over-thinker and over-analyzer, it was exactly the adjustment I needed in order to move forward from where I was.
One of the biggest light-bulb moments in 2016 for me came from my father. In early 2016, Al and I were still going back and forth about making the leap to go on this life changing trip around the world. We hadn’t fully committed to a concrete plan, and we were still considering alternative, less extreme options. We were even tossing around the idea of pushing the trip off for another year. I was still agonizing over all the ‘what ifs’ of quitting our lives in Chicago, and just could not bring myself to pull the trigger. One evening in late April, I decided to FaceTime with my Dad for advice. After listening patiently to my worries for what was probably the dozenth time, he just said simply,
“You need to make a decision and move on. What you are doing right now is not working for you, so you need to either accept it, or change it. Make the decision and stick with it, but don’t keep questioning yourself once you do. If it is not working out, you’ll know, and you’ll adjust your path again. The important thing is that you try, but when you do, make sure you fully commit to it.”
I don’t know what it was about this specific advice, but it was the exact thing I needed to hear. It was like an immediate weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I realized I already knew the answer, but I was making things so much harder than they needed to be. After I got off FaceTime with my dad, Al and I booked our first hotel stay abroad, and the following day we booked our first flight to Ljubljana, Slovenia. I have not looked back or doubted our decision since that day.
I have used this thought process for almost everything we have done this year. From choosing what countries to go to, to what activities we do, to where we go for dinner. I allow myself to think about it briefly, and then make a decision based on what feels right. I do not let myself go back and forth any longer than is necessary, and it has been the catalyst I needed to let go of all of the fear and doubt, and move into my year of doing. Because my dad is right. If it is not working out, I can always change it.
It feels rewarding to look back on that post from last year, and realize that I have made some strides towards accomplishing the goal I set: to start enjoying and appreciating life now, and stop waiting for things to happen. I know 2017 is going to present a whole new crop of challenges to overcome and lessons to learn, but I have 2016 (and wise words from my Dad) to thank for giving me the strength to go into it head-first.
I will end with my favorite picture from 2016; the one that I feel best sums it all up:
Wishing everyone a happy 2017 full of growth and happiness!