Here’s to a New Year.

I love the excitement that comes at the end of the year. It feels like we’ve canned magic in a jar all year long, watching it closely ready to release it. And then in December, the magic settles like dust over each and every crevice of my life, making it glimmer with the possibility of new beginnings.

I’m ready for new beginnings. Bad things have happened this year, so have good things. I don’t have to recount or relive them all, but I can say this has been one of the hardest years I’ve had so far. It doesn’t top 7th grade (thank you Lord that I never have to relive middle school), but it’s been a tough one.

The past few weeks the temperatures have been freezing, but much of 2022 has felt like one long, cold freeze to me. Much of what I expected to stay the same has died out. Out with the old and in with the new, except I wasn’t responsible for this clean out, God was. And I really wasn’t too thrilled with Him about it.

The best way I know how to communicate with God is through writing. I journal my prayers; I write down the thoughts I have. My journal looks like one long letter written to God telling Him about my days, the monotonous and the not so monotonous.

This is the first year in a long time (maybe ever?) that I haven’t finished off at least one full journal in a year. Dozens and dozens of pages still sit empty at the end of my journal. I haven’t felt inspired by much the last half of this year, it’s been one of those moments where hanging on felt like good enough to me.

And it was good enough. At the end of every year, I see all of these pretty recap videos of people having the best time of their lives, and I had plenty of incredible moments this year. But watching those videos and seeing those pictures makes me wonder what’s going on behind the scenes for that person.

We see everyone’s highlight reel and try to compare that to our behind the scenes. Your relationship doesn’t feel as perfect as the one you see online? You’re comparing it to somebody’s best moments. Your job doesn’t seem as fun or rewarding as someone else’s? You’re getting the highlights but missing the days they struggle to get out of bed and go to work.

Doing my best was good enough for me the past several months with all that has been going on in my life. It hasn’t been pretty, but rarely is God’s story for our lives pretty and tied up with red ribbon. It’s messy and hard and unpredictable and I’ve found myself questioning the difference between what God wants for me and what I want for me. Why can’t I hear Him?

His voice gets drowned out by all the other things in my life. A busy schedule, scrolling through social media, excess of everything.

We’re on the cusp of 2023, and I’m hoping it’s a year where I leave the excess behind and hone in on what God is saying. People love to hate and hate to love New Year’s resolutions, but I don’t care what you say I will be setting yearly goals until my last breath.

I had 12 lofty goals for 2022. Some I wasn’t sure I would accomplish, others I knew I could with a bit of effort. Here’s what I did do:

  1. Take Financial Peace University – Money sometimes scares me and stresses me out, so I wanted to learn more about how to feel confident in my money-making decisions. I took this class in the spring once a week for 9 weeks. I learned so much!
  2. Learn more about investments – I learned more about investments in FPU, but I also signed up for a Kiplinger magazine subscription and have started reading that and learning from them. I invested in some new stocks this year and felt very educated in my decisions (although what a year to try and get more involved in the stock market, am I right?)
  3. I wanted to save 20% of my salary and I ended up saving 25%!
  4. Be published in a magazine or website – 2 articles in Raised Southern.
  5. Plan 1 fun trip to a new place with friends – I went with some of my best friends to Portugal, and it was AWESOME.
  6. Achieve some type of certification – I became certified in Revenue Development and Fundraising through CNM.

But here’s what I didn’t accomplish:

  1. Take ice skating lessons – this didn’t happen BUT I am signed up to start ice skating lessons starting on Thursday!
  2. Take hip hop dance classes – I love to dance, not sure I’m actually good at it but this is getting moved to 2023’s list too.
  3. 30 minutes of exercise every day – this was a total hit or miss depending on the month.
  4. Cook a dinner for myself 1x a week – y’all, I hate to cook. I hate to admit it. It’s not even the cooking, it’s the time it takes and the CLEAN UP. This was a hit or miss depending on the week, but I don’t even care.
  5. 15 minutes of writing each week – didn’t even come close to doing this.
  6. Read 2 books a month – I bet I read maybe 15 books total this year which I’m sad about, but in my defense I read so many mediocre books that put me in a reading funk, so I can’t take full responsibility. Some of this is on those who write cheesy average books.

I’m proud of what I accomplished, and I’m also proud of what I didn’t accomplish. I did what I could, and I’m learning that even when things don’t go perfectly that doesn’t mean I can’t count them as a win.

So if you’re disappointed in how your year went or didn’t have the year you envisioned, it’s okay. You don’t have to be the best Instagram version of yourself at all times. You’re human. You’re going through life with hurdles placed in your path that you don’t even realize you’re supposed to jump over. You know how many times I’ve crashed and burned into the pavement this year? I’ve got a skinned up heart to prove it.

I have a quote that hangs in my room and it says this, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Finish each day and then be done with it. Finish this year and be done with it. A new day has come, and God’s mercies are new each morning too. Take those mercies and do something with your one unbelievably incredible life. You’ll surprise yourself with what you’re capable of.

PS, it drives me crazy not to finish things completely, but I’m closing this year’s journal and starting a new one tomorrow. Sometimes it’s okay to leave things incomplete and move on. Something left unfinished is sometimes the best way for it to be.

All my love,

Mary Spencer

6 thoughts on “Here’s to a New Year.

  1. Such truth in all of this. Thx for sharing. I have a lot of the same characteristics and you gave me a lot to think about as always.
    Close this chapter and be excited about new beginnings!!! I am concentrating on that! Love you, Aunt Nancy


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