Alright, reader. Bear with me here. This is going to be word vomit at its finest.
As are you, I am beginning not just a new year but a new decade. Yesterday was filled with a furious flee from work to get off the snow and ice frosted roads. It was new faces, old stories, wonderful conversation, and delicious food. It was both busy and restful.
All that being said, I hadn’t really had a moment to sit and hear my heart. I began my two hour trek back down south to my little small town and made a couple phone calls, since the time to make phone calls is obviously while driving. After I hung up the phone, I sat in the quiet. I peered up in my rearview mirror to check on Rocky and make sure he looked content. Then the thoughts began to pour in.
First it was amazement that this year was over. It was quite the year, but for the most part you have been filled in on that so I shall spare you the 2019 recap tonight. Reflection on the year quickly became reflection on the decade. Then came the laughing and crying like a psycho in the car by herself.
Oh, 18-year-old Dani. She was a hot mess, man but relatively unscathed. She had graduated high school. She was going to marry her high school boyfriend, of course. She stepped onto the volleyball court with some of the best athletes in the nation under the guidance of a stellar coaching staff. She had her first few drunken college nights. She lived at home, desperately counting down the days until she’d be out of the house for forever, even though that didn’t happen until the following year.
Gosh, that puts the past decade into perspective. I mean, let’s look at Dani’s last decade. In the past ten years I: graduated high school and started college, moved out of the house, played in a national championship, started a blog, lost my mom, went to Hawaii, gained two stepsisters and a stepmom, graduated college, started coaching and training, went to Europe and Mexico, went to grad school on a whim, lost a grandparent, got engaged, watched my little sister graduate high school, went to China, broke off an engagement, lost another grandparent, graduated grad school, up and moved across the country, went to China again, started CrossFit, met some lifelong friends through church and the gym, had a crummy breakup, started this blog, competed in CrossFit and Olympic liftings comps, moved to Indiana, and well you’re pretty caught up now.
In between those times are small but significant things that continued to mold 18-year-old Dani into 27-year-old Dani. There were some tattoos, some car accidents, some stupid decisions, some great decisions. There was anger with God, finding myself in God again, and now an ever-evolving and always complicated relationship with God. There were familial trials and friendships that ended, as well as some that thrived. Countless people met and endless memories made. There was a shoulder surgery thrown in there and a sprained knee one spring season.
Weird, man. Even as I’m ugly crying right now, I don’t quite know what it is I’m crying about. Sadness? Hope? Joy? Fear? Everything? Amazes me how the things we thought we wanted ten years ago aren’t even on our radar now. I don’t think 18-year-old me would believe that I have traveled around as an SLP. I don’t think she’d believe she wasn’t married at this age or had the amount of tattoos I do. I don’t think she’d believe the ways in which she’d surprise herself as the years tested her. Hell, I don’t know if 27-year-old Dani at the beginning of this year would believe some of those things. I think that’s a reason I love reflecting as much as I do. Sometimes it’s painful and you ask yourself, What in the hell was I thinking? Oh, but sometimes we surprise ourselves. Wow, look how you got here. That’s one of the most incredible things about life, if you ask me.
Last year, my word was intentional. I was tired of reacting, which I realize I do a lot of. I wanted this year to be intentional on my part. Whatever I did, I tried to ensure it was something I wanted and not simply a reaction to things not panning out. Cliche alert: It was creating my own circumstances. Looking back, I think there are some ways in which I didn’t live out that word, however, I feel like this was definitely a year of being intentional for me.
This year? I maintain my word is brave. I thought about it on my drive down. If you’re caught up on the blog, I think I mentioned it a few posts ago. The word brave has been popping into my head quite often. It has actually been quite frustrating for me because I haven’t understood what it meant. Then I dove into Love Does by Bob Goff. Read it. Just do it. It will change your life over and over again. Bob beautifully explains how we just simply need to do. Quit thinking, panicking, fearing, and just freaking do.
Love does, bravely. We do, bravely. We all have fears. We all have reasons we are terrified of what’s behind the door we’re standing in front of. Is it heartbreak on the other side? Is it everything we’ve ever wanted? Is it a failed project? Is it the success we’ve always known we were capable of? Despite the chance of something I don’t want being behind that door, I’m going to bravely swing that door open. That’s what Bob Goff would do, so why won’t I?
Last year was about swinging open doors, intentionally. Not great if you’re swinging open a door then turning and wincing in anticipation of what’s to come. The intent is there but this year will be the year I do so bravely. Are you picturing a Disney princess, valiantly swinging open a heavy door with her chest puffed out and hair flowing in the wind? No? Just me? Alright, moving on.
Once again, I find myself at the end of a word vomit post, unsure of how to wrap it up. So I’ll wrap it up with words from the great Gina Beeman who tells her kids to “Be you bravely.” Seems fitting.
Happy 2020 and here’s to another decade of learning, messing up a little less, and swinging open all the damn doors.