2017 was a good year. I look back and feel like I grew so much as a person.
There were a lot of mundane moments, a lot of big moments, a lot of heartbreaking moments, a lot of beautiful moments, a lot of sad moments, and a lot of amazing moments. And I learned a lot more about myself!
Almost all of the lessons I shared at the end of 2016 carried over to this year (thriving without coffee, continuing to discover how much better I feel when I get great sleep, I love coaching other bloggers, I’m more of a fashionista than I realized, I’m not as introverted as I always thought I was, etc.) Read the post here for all the details the surprising lessons I learned in 2016.
It was so good to reflect on 2017 and put together the top 10 lessons I learned in 2017:
1. It’s so freeing to stop worrying about the 3%.
I’ve been putting words out on the internet in some fashion since I first started a website for girls when I was 19. That’s a lot of words.
Putting words on the internet can be a scary job, at times. Because no matter what you say, no matter how you say it, if more than 10 people are reading, someone is probably going to read or interpret something incorrectly and be hurt, upset, or offended.
I’ve held back many words over the years. Some needed to be held back — they were words that were better shared face-to-face with a trusted friend.
But there are other words that needed to be shared, but I held back because I knew that 3% of the people wouldn’t like them. They’d probably misunderstand, misinterpret, or just plain miss the point. So, I held back because of the 3%… when 97% of the people probably would have been blessed or encouraged by those same words.
Near the beginning of 2017, I made a commitment to stop worrying about the 3%. And I have to tell you, it has been one of the best changes ever as a writer. It’s been so good, so freeing, so incredible to post for the 97% of you instead of holding back out of fear of the response from the 3%!
I fought against this for a long time. I wanted to be a 2 or something warm and fuzzy like that. But nope, I’m an 8 through and through.
And this year, as I spent a lot of time studying the Enneagram and talking with people who understand it well, I came to fully embrace the beauty of who I am and how I am wired. It’s really helped me to understand myself and my perspective better and it’s helped me to move in a direction of becoming healthier as a person.
3. I don’t need to rely on Jesse so much.
Jesse went to Israel for two weeks in April. It was the longest we’ve ever been apart since we were married and it was the first time he had gone on a long trip and I had stayed home and run our house. It was a BIG deal for me — because it meant I had to face a lot of insecurity and aput on my big girl pants and deal with a lot of things Jesse usually always takes care of. I had
Little did I know that my phone would get lost (or stolen?), our cars would break down, and I’d need to make lots of phone calls and interact with WAY more people as a result. Did it scare me? Yes. Did I have a few minor panic attacks? Yes. But you guys… I’m so grateful for these past two weeks because I grew up as a result of them.
I drove all over Nashville. I made phone calls. I dealt with the AT&T people, the phone insurance company, our landlords, teachers, coaches, parents, doctors, repairmen, and all sorts of situations that were brand-new to me.
I got to rely on God, not my husband. And it was good for me. And I learned that, with God’s help, I’m much more capable & competent than I believed myself to be! Ever since he’s been back home, I’ve been so much more self-sufficient and confident and it’s been really good for our marriage!
4. I am no longer a big fan of early rising.
In April, I decided to try getting up at 4:30 a.m. every morning again. I thought it would be a really helpful thing and that I’d fall in love with early rising again — something I used to be a big fan of.
Instead, I discovered that It’s hard for me to consistently get to bed before 10 to 10:30 pm in the season of life I’m in. I can do it, but it kind of makes the whole evening feel stressful instead of calm.
I also found out that when I wake up really early and jump straight into my to-do list for the day, I feel like I want to make the most of every minute. Which means that I can’t give myself permission to relax much at all and end up feeling like I’m rushing through the day trying to cram as much into each hour as I can.
By not giving myself permission to rest and refuel, I ended up running on fumes very quickly. Which meant that I was less productive, much more on edge, and was generally a not-so-nice person to be around.
Ultimately, I was surprised to discover that I am a lot less calmer, a lot more anxious, and a lot more prone to fall prey to “the hustle” when I get up really, really early. I can tell you this is not at all what I expected from this experiment. In fact, I wanted to just fall in love with early rising again and be able to profess that it was the best thing ever for me.
But the results don’t lie. So I’m going to go with what I know is best for me and my family right now — even if it flies in the face of what I thought would be the case.
5. I like tent camping.
I always thought I didn’t like camping… but that was because I’ve never actually been camping since I was 6 or 7 years old!
So I was nervous how our tent camping weekend with our Community Group would go. But you guys, I totally surprised myself and genuinely LOVED the tent camping experience!! It was incredible to be out in nature and be serenaded to sleep by the frogs. It was so fun to see our kids having a blast without any sort of screen for entertainment.
And I savored the opportunity to be unplugged, to soak up the sun, to sit around the campfire, to read in the hammock, and to laugh and talk and make so many memories with our Community Group.
Yes, it was a lot of work to plan and prep for. Yes, there were a lot of bugs. Yes, the bathrooms and showers weren’t as clean as a hotel. Yes, it’s not as comfortable to sleep in a tent as it is to sleep in my own bed.
A big part of our camping success was you all and your helpful advice when I asked for advice and suggestions of what we should bring. I may have gotten teased for being over-prepared, but we couldn’t believe that there wasn’t anything we wished we would have brought that we didn’t. And I owe it to you all for sharing your experience and wise advice.
I would have never thought to bring some of the items you suggested or to pack like you advised, but it really made a difference and made the trip so much smoother and more enjoyable. And next time, it will be so much easier to pack and prepare since I have my trusty To Bring On A Camping Trip list now. 😉
(Oh and we are planning another Community Group Camping Weekend in a few months!)