For me, 2015 was a year of loss.
I said goodbye to possessions, jobs, people and expectations.
Don’t be fooled–none of it was easy, Friend.
Most of these difficult changes were intentional. My family took the concept of ‘downsizing’ to go beyond our living space, and into the uncomfortable nooks and crannies of our very souls.
To begin, we intentionally examined each and every thing we owned–from the very building we lived in to the minute things we found randomly rattling around in drawers–and actively decided whether they were bringing us joy or not. If not–we sent them on to a different owner, either through sale or donation. You can read more about that difficult process here.
Next, I examined the job that I was in. I brutally examined how I was being treated, and decided that I was worth more. Not financially–I was well compensated in the eyes of the world. Not everything can be measured through dollars and cents though, and I walked away from a place that was, for me, very unhealthy. While bold, and empowering, and the right thing to do, it was a move that has caused me to feel, at times, very unwanted by the world, because I have struggled to find a new job ever since. My age has been a major barrier in the workforce, because I am over fifty, and our hyper-kinetic world values youth and beauty over experience. I have settled for a variety of menial jobs since, but have yet to land in a place that utilizes all of my skills, talents and passions. Unfortunately, I am not alone in this struggle, which you can read more about here.
I then looked at the people around me. I quietly and privately examined each relationship in my life, and decided whether that person was lifting me up, or tearing me down. I began to ‘unfriend’ people on social media. I began to block posts from my feed. I deleted phone numbers from my telephone. I removed the influence of people who made me feel bad about myself, and stopped tuning in to other people’s dramas, because I found that many of those dramas were self-generated and unnecessary. Sadly, I realized that many of my ‘friends’ were not really friends. They were just people I had connected with at a certain time or place in my life, but they weren’t people who really made me feel good about myself, or would be there for me in a pinch. I realized that many people were unhealthy for me, because my life has been extraordinarily difficult, and I have had to overcome things others could never imagine. So comparing myself, and my journey was a very bad thing for me to do. You can read more about that struggle here.
Next, I had to let go of expectations. I had to forgive myself for the way my life has turned out, because to be brutally honest–I am not where I thought I would be. I had to accept responsibility for the decisions I made in my life, both the good and the bad, because they have all led me here. Where I am is not a bad place at all, it just doesn’t match the invisible map for success I have carried around in my head for all of these years. So I had to stare that discovery down, find peace in my existence, and then forgive myself for becoming who I now am. That process of discovery and forgiveness was very difficult, and you can read more about it here.
So now, at this very tricky moment, I stand at the doorway to 2016. I look behind me, at all of the loss that came with 2015. I think of the hundreds of things I gave away. I think of the job that I walked away from, in hopes of finding my true purpose in a world that defines you by title. I think of the people I said goodbye to, either by design or even through death. I think of the dreams that I have let die, in order to embrace the reality of my ‘now’.
And I am afraid.
To be brutally honest, I hesitate to step into 2016, because it is such an unknown. All I am leaving behind, while toxic to me, is familiar. While bad, it all feels somewhat safe, because the taste of its poison is so well understood. As I hesitate at this threshold, I wonder if I will allow myself to embrace the ‘new’ that is awaiting me, or if I will turn away in doubt and fear. I wonder if I will allow myself to recognize the good, as I seek to refill the empty bits and pieces of me that have been intentionally hollowed out.
My only answer to this is hope. I hope I am wise enough, brave enough, and will love myself enough to accept the good I must now start to seek out.
I willingly extend that hope to all of us, in this world gone mad, that we will all allow ourselves to seek only the good. I hope for all of us that we will focus, really focus, on that which is good for us, instead of buying in to the fear and hysteria that our media and leaders seem to be intent on spreading across our planet. I pray that we will each seek to be vessels of peace, compassion and forgiveness. I pray that every one of us, no matter our place or purpose, will seek to be a source of kindness, because our world is both frightened and unsure of what is ahead.
I thank you for riding along with me in 2015, Friend. I thank you for sharing your insights, struggles, and encouragement with me, as I try to give voice to the difficulties and fears we all share.
Join me ahead, in 2016, as I strive to continue the messages of TeamJeffers. Rest beside me and hear the voice of optimism, encouragement and inspiration that I offer to this weary world. Please feel free to subscribe, so that we may stay connected in the months ahead. I value you as a reader, and wish only good things for you going forward.
Blessings in 2016, Friend. May we each find our own sense of peace.
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**Chanler Jeffers is a woman who has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent, was a single parent for many years, has survived cancer and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.