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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bennett

2023…. It’s been real.

This last week I’ve gotten all the notifications for my year in review.  Spotify showed me all the music that I’ve listened to.  My Strava app showed me how many miles I ran and a whole lot of nerdy analytics.  And this morning, on my rest day, I started to think about my year in review.  As I write this, we have less than two weeks left in 2023 and I started to go back and ask myself, “What do I have to show for it?” I guess I should go all the way back to the beginning of the year and look at my vision board.  And I can’t help but look at it because I literally have it plastered on every electronic device I own!  

Vision board you say?  Yes… a vision board.  I do one every year.  And I’m usually the crafty type that gets all the pictures and glue and makes it super fancy, but one thing I know right now is that this gal ain’t got no time for that mess.  The last two years I’ve made electronic versions.  I figured why not.  All I need is my computer and I can save the final product and look at it anytime on my phone or my computer.  It’s a great reminder of what I thought was important to me at the start of the year. 

Here's what I love about a vision board.  It’s not just about setting goals.  It’s about setting a vision for what you want to create in the next year.  And at the end of the year, I get to evaluate how I did.  Did I check off boxes?  Did I at least make progress?  Or did I just not even start?  Now you might think that this would send anyone in a tailspin of self-criticism.  In my opinion, that’s not the point.  Here’s what I mean.  For the things that I completed will, I know that they were a priority for me, and I was able to easily make space for them (or it was a challenge, and I was damned determined to make it happen).  If I made progress, then it tells me that it’s also important and I’ve probably learned a lot this year and those things will probably go back on my board for the next year.  If I didn’t even start on something I’d planned to work on, then I get to ask the question “why”?  Was it that I didn’t have time?  Was it that important to me? 

Note that nowhere in there did I ask myself it I failed.  It’s not about pass or fail.  It’s about managing my life around what matters most to me.  So, here’s my year in review.

My word of the year was “Connection”.  I wanted to make more time for my friends and my family and really connect to what I was doing and how I was spending my time with people.  I desperately needed to get away from focusing on my relationships virtually and start getting face to face.  And I’m so glad that I did.  I attended more in person sorority events and got to revisit those relationships.  Monthly dinners with old friends started becoming a priority in my calendar and I didn’t realize how much I needed them until we started making them happen.  There’s nothing like getting together, face to face, breaking bread and just sharing air.  It also doesn’t hurt to put on a full outfit to leave the house instead of just getting dressed up from the waist up for a zoom call.  Even if it did mean realizing that my jeans didn’t fit as well.  That’s a different story.

My vision board also included areas of focus in my health, business, home, personal finances, and relationships.  It included things I needed to do like lose some of the added weight I’d found and reduce my debt.  Some things on the board were some that I just really wanted to do for myself like start to journal and paint more.    And it’s not shocking to see that I started out the gate pretty strong in all areas and y’all…. By the fall I was exhausted.  I used to journal every day and then it went by the wayside.  I think I may have picked my paints up twice this year.  And it doesn’t shock me.  I’m a textbook overachiever, and enneagram 3 and a Virgo to boot. I start strong and then realize I bit off more that I can chew… and well, frankly just thinking about it makes me want a nap. 

Just a little side note… if you’re wondering what an enneagram is go search the interwebs.  If it’s interesting to you, go spend some time taking an evaluation to see where you land in the enneagram.  It can really help you understand your motivations and how you operate.  I find it helpful, and you might as well.

But back to taking a nap…. I really want one.  The end of the year just felt like so much.  So many decisions to make.  So many things to get control of.  So many things.  Why are there so many things?  And the only answer I can think of is because there just are.  And its not stopping.  As a manager at FedEx during the holidays, work is incredibly demanding.  And the holidays in general are just full of activities that could be done, but don’t have to be.  I could start running down the list, but I won’t.  BUT what I’ve learned is that it’s ok to not do them all.  It’s ok to give myself permission to leave some things for someone else to do or leave it to not be done at all.   

And that leads me to my real point today.  It’s ok to not be perfect.  It’s ok to not have achieved all the things you set out to be.  It’s ok to not know everything about everything.  It’s ok to say, “I don’t know”.  As an achiever this is a tough one for me to sit with. But I’m learning.  And more importantly I’m leveling up.  Most importantly, as I learn more, I have a responsibility to do better. 

Even more important than being aware that perfection is a joke, it’s important to celebrate the wins from the year.  That’s where the gold is.  Because this year I’ve done some pretty amazing things.  I ran two half marathons and a 15-mile relay race…. And a whole lot of miles in-between.  I’ve learned way more about how to support my new hormonally challenged body by seeing a menopause specialist and consulting a nutrition coach.  And as I’ve learned I’ve implemented some solutions that have improved my quality of life by leaps and bounds.  I’ve purged a lot of unneeded junk in my house and found that I definitely have a lot more to do.  I’ve read more and have spent more time being kinder to my mental health.  I’ve found a love for my career more than I’ve ever felt in the 18 years that I’ve worked for this company.  And more than that, I’ve become a better communicator for what I’m feeling and what I need in the moment. 

At the end of this year, I feel surer of myself and what I can achieve.  What I used to see as limits, I now see as boundaries.  As I’ve connected with people more, I’ve re-awakened to what means most to me.  And that’s my connection to what drives me.  My God, my health, my family, and my relationships.  My career comes later.  All the to-do lists and events come later.  Sometimes even putting on make-up and washing my hair had to come later.  And all of that is ok. 

Although the end of this year isn’t what I’d totally envisioned, that’s ok.  What I have now is way more than what I had when I started out.  That’s the win.  And the year isn’t over, but I’m not going to try and fit all the things into two weeks just so I can achieve more.  I’m also not going to say it was a bust and just eat and drink my way through the holidays.  I’m going to keep moving, keep working out, keep drinking my water, and keep loving my people the best way I know how. 

Cheers to 2023. See you next year.

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