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  • Writer's pictureChante Jero

New Year's Resolutions

It's weird that we sit back after a challenging year and pick apart where we failed just to set next year's resolutions as a way to better ourselves. We sit back and nitpick every success we might have had so we can make ourselves better? This tradition doesn't make sense to me. I don't know about other people, but I'm hard enough on myself every day of the year; why should I make a tradition out of doing it on purpose?

This year I have decided to reflect on what has made my life incredible until 2021. And focus on carrying that into 2022 instead of looking at life through a critical lens. I'm going to reflect on enjoyment areas and maybe a little bit of skill I've learned along the way. I'm going to take the time to reflect on where I grew to become a better person.

2021 was one hell of a year for me, to which most people probably can relate. I was living with Dylan and going through the motions of what a life that society deems desirable should be. But I was also learning new things I found enjoyable. I helped Dylan rebuild his retaining wall, and *enjoyed* manual labor. Me!! I realized I liked the thrill of riding a motorcycle which helped me know that I could find things that I wanted to do if I stopped letting my fears and anxieties hold me back. I was still holding onto my "dressy" work clothes with the hopes we'd be back in the office one day soon - even though they always make me feel like I'm pretending to be somebody else. And the affirmations from that lifestyle made me happy. But it was a robotic lifestyle for me. I wasn't unhappy. But I wasn't living a life that brought me any joy or excitement. The thing I looked most forward to each day was bedtime time so that I could wake up for my delicious coffee the following day.

I got promoted in April, an accomplishment I'm incredibly grateful for and proud of myself for achieving. Being promoted is a massive reflection of my personal growth for someone "raised by wolves" with little grooming for the "corporate" role. There are so many people that I will forever be grateful for that have helped me become who I am today. If you are reading this close to the publication date, chances are you are one of those people. Or, perhaps you are bored and clicked a lot of links and dug a long path into the rabbit hole to find me; as for you guys, don't worry, I've been there too (I'm looking at you, I Prevail), no judgment, I promise, I appreciate you just the same!

After Dylan and I ended our dating relationship and began our friendship and roommate relationship, I reflected on who I might become and what a life that would make me happy might involve. It was kind of frustrating. I could picture myself as a social butterfly, going to corporate events in high-rise towers, and while it would be fun, I don't know how to get there. I didn't know the steps to accomplish that lifestyle goal. So I rethought it, and then I could see myself living off the grid, in a tiny house, maybe a boxcar, living off the land! Then I remembered I'm kind of lazy, and that sounds like a lot of work. I would dream up hundreds of scenarios. Maybe I'd become a waitress at a fancy restaurant, part-time for fun. Or find somewhere to volunteer if the pandemic ever ended, and we could be around people again. I envisioned being a business professional. Or someone that traveled and explored new places. Maybe I would finish my degree focusing on psychology. Or become a baker. Or writer. Or I could find a way to be creative and sell my creations. If only I could narrow my focus down to one thing!! As the thoughts of what life could look like grew and morphed, I became overwhelmed with the endless possibilities. So I decided to narrow down my focus.

I'd start with a hobby! I've always wanted to be more active!! I started by taking my girl Moo to the dog park a couple of times a week. She LOVED to bounce around, leaping like a gazelle, exploring through the trees, sniffing all the things there to sniff. It still makes me happy to see her enjoying her best life!

For me, being in the wilderness, feeling the world's energy swirling around me, was what my soul needed. I could feel it in the green grass growing around me. In the leaves of the trees that have probably been growing in those exact locations my entire life, watching as the world around them changes from uninhabited forests to a thriving suburban development. In the dogs that joyously greeted each other. Happy just to be seeing others of their species, not caring who had spots, or dots, three legs, or one ear. They were briefly analyzing by scent alone before happily wagging their tails and moving along as their humans politely nodded at each other or shared a quick smile and pleasant "hello" before chasing after their furry friends. It's the perfect place for an everyday city person living the "9-5" that values the natural parks and tries to leave them as uninterrupted as possible.

It was the perfect mix of the country for this city girl's soul. I have found what I believe to be the ideal balance of working the Monday - Friday 9-5 kind of job and nature for my soul. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I had found a tiny bit of peace within my soul and maybe even a glimmer of true happiness.

Next, it seemed logical to find a friend to share these experiences with who might enjoy them. Someone that could appreciate that I liked nature, but not *too much*, cause eww. Someone who might like being in nature but not be so attached to it that we have to spend every free moment hunting or fishing or hiking or biking. Someone who would realize that I'm really out of shape, and while the idea of a 10-mile hike sounds beautiful, it also sounds like my worst nightmares come true. Someone who would enjoy my love for the outdoors and realize I am excited about it. Still, if you introduce me too much, too quickly, I'm going to run in the opposite direction to my Xbox One, PS4, and 65" 4K UHD with surround sound and go into a Mountain Dew and Doritos induced hibernation.

After a few disasters in failed attempts at online dating and I stumbled upon Matt.

Matt is the first person that helped all of the things I thought were contradictory of each other, the newly established corporate girl I became, the inner nature enthusiast who wanted to bake, craft, and write with purpose, make sense. He is the person who helps me ease into a world of activity slowly by taking me along to his disc golf tournaments, where the dogs get to be happy doing their thing, and I get to enjoy the beauty the world has to offer. Matt listens to me babble incessantly, asking questions out of genuine interest instead of silencing me because I don't stop talking, which can be annoying. He's able to take my incoherent ramblings that most people would be left scratching their heads in bewilderment and turn them into a shaped reality. I would say he balances me, but it's more than that; he helps me find balance within myself.

For 2021, I am most grateful and appreciative of my girl, Moo, Matt, and his boy, Aspen.

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