I guess I’m a little bit late on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon. I suppose they are kind of silly, New Year’s resolutions that is. I am the definition of a romantic, however, so I love the idea of starting as a fresh, new person unattached to the people, places, or things that once held me back. Just like I love the sound of rain in the morning and when you can smell pancakes cooking in a house nearby while you walk your dog. I love the late afternoon breeze that comes in slowly on a hot day, reminding me that there is relief in all things. I love the way the little kids I nanny run to me with giddy smiles and laughs when I walk through the door some days, and the way they never can seem to sit still at a dinner table. I love when my sister wants to have sleepover nights and do face masks and watch Harry Potter. I love when my boyfriend plays his guitar, he swears he could always play better but I think he’s always perfect. I love the things that are easy to forget, the moments that are fleeting and fall away like leaves on late autumn trees on the East Coast. I’m a romantic.

But New Year’s resolutions are silly to me only because this year I was proud of the person I would have otherwise had to “leave behind” in the last exhale of December. I grew in faith, met beautiful people, was in love (& still am), and decided I want to live my life doing and seeing rather than watching and wishing. These things might be small and few for some, but for me they are boulders I have been trying to climb for as long as I can remember. I learned to ask for help when I need it and that its okay to admit I’m not strong enough for everything on my own. You see, I don’t want to abandon the beautiful parts of the year even if I might not be happy with the parts that weren’t quite so wonderful.

I admit, last year was a challenge to my patience. I have never struggled with missing someone so much in my life. It wasn’t a challenge in that I was questioning my choice, but more of a challenge in that my heart has never felt heavier and my mind has never been more of a magnet for happy memories and future plans. Loving someone so much and being so far away from him/her is something I was not expecting to be so taxing on the heart. The beautiful part in all of this is that we’re one year closer to being able to explore those future plans. I’m more hopeful and less sad now, my heart just needs a hug from time to time.

I’ve learned that its important to really make time for myself. Last semester (fall 2016) I constructed my schedule so piled-high that even one hour of freedom would be spent worrying about my idle hands. I packed myself in so tightly to the week, that my lack of time to sit and breathe was only added to my habit of saying “yes” to everyone and everything. I’ve found that “No” is not a foul word and, to my surprise, does not make people hate me nor does it taste bad coming out of my mouth. For so long I have been so afraid of letting anybody down, and while I still am probably too attentive to the way others perceive me, I have learned a little more about self-care and that in order to attain it, saying yes to every single sweet face and hopeful request is just not possible. I need time for myself to rest, travel, laugh, cry, love, pray, reflect, and breathe. I don’t need to be hanging on to the bullet train that is my life, by my fingernails. Heck, my life doesn’t need to be a bullet train. I like boats, maybe my life could be a boat (a speedboat, though, I still need a little craziness), or a hot air balloon. I hope that 2017 looks more like a hot air balloon.

I know I’ll probably get caught in a few storms and things might get windy, but that’s just life. I know that I’m still going to miss him more than anything, but I know there will be a day I won’t have to anymore. I know that I’m still probably going to say yes a little bit too much, but I will realize it this time and not let my fear of letting anyone trap me in a place where I’m not longer able to say yes to myself. I know that with faith comes challenge, but its faith that you need to get through those challenges and I’m going to keep it this time.

— and I hope that when December reaches its end this year, that I will have many reasons to want to hold on to 2017 and the people, places, and things that made it worth holding on to.

Aysia Norris