Confession: I’m not comfortable sitting alone with myself.

In small ways, I’ve tried to push at this internal struggle, but ultimately failed until 2018, when I had to take myself to lunch, alone (my sweet friend came down ill toward the end of our adventure and was resting in our room), in Florence, Italy, barely knowing the language. What a “throw myself in the deep end” way of doing things. But that’s kinda how I do things.

After what happened in September 2020 (I still cringe and recoil at calling it was it was), I sought help in dealing with all the things that come with trauma and assault. And I’m finding small pieces of peace and healing. One of the things I’ve taken out and examined is this intense uncomfortableness I have with sitting alone in public spaces – be it the library, park, restaurant, or some other setting. Doing this turns my cheeks and neck hot. I get weirdly shaky and fumble with my purse, phone, lip balm – whatever I’m carrying or holding. I stumble through ordering a coffee or lunch, even at places where I have no issues when with friends. I fidget with EVERYTHING in sight. I even struggle with hearing what people are saying to me (more so than usual).

I’ve not been comfortable with me. I’ve not been comfortable with what’s in my head, my view of who I am verses how my family and friends view me, or what value I hold in life (others’ or my own). And sitting alone, just existing with no distraction against all the thoughts and ideas, which bombard my mind on any given day, has caused some ridiculously intense anxiety attacks.

Let me just say: I’ve had an amazing counselor. I know others who have struggled to connect with the right therapist for them, but I’m so thankful the first one I met with was the right one for me. She has encouraged and challenged me. She’s asked hard questions and helped me shift my perspectives. She has not be easy on me, but she has been God-given and been able to meet me where I’m at to guide me to becoming more whole.

I still have SO MUCH work to do, but one thing I’m doing better at is sitting alone with myself. A couple weeks ago I actually took myself to lunch as a reward – a REWARD – for doing something irrelevant to this story. Last year (pandemic aside), sitting alone at lunch would have been the epitome of punishment and isolation. Now I can sit alone, listening to an audiobook – so I can PUT THE PHONE DOWN – and just breathe. Breathe through the stress, breathe through the obligations, breathe through the jumbled thoughts until they make a little sense, and breathe through all the lies playing on repeat in my head until they quiet down and I can take a bite of my sandwich or sip my coffee with a little more peace than when I sat down. I’m finally finding calm in these moments where I used to see only chaos and rejection.

Confession: I’m not comfortable sitting alone with myself, but it’s getting easier and I’m learning to appreciate the company.

I’m Adopted

Posted: June 5, 2021 in Uncategorized
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Well, based on the title, I’m sure you’ve guessed I am, indeed, adopted. And THRILLED about it. I even made my own adoption shirt, and wear it at least once a week (true story). At 38, I was finally adopted by my dad. Weird, right? Backstory time!

A long time ago, in this galaxy, not far from where I type this, my mom was a single mother, raising five children on her own. This was not the plan or design, but it’s the life we were dealt. Mom was doing her thing, the best she could – keeping us alive and in school – when along came a blind date, set up by mutual friends of my parents. Boom, the rest was not history. Okay, it is actually history now, but it was more than just “meet, fall in love, marry.” There were a total of six children in the mix, at that time – seven or eight now, depending on how you’re counting children- and more issues and tragic backstory than any one family should ever have. But dad kept coming back for us. He kept being there for us. He kept showing up. Even when mom rejected him as a suitor (but not as a friend), he was there for us.

True story: I wanted to boycott the wedding. I was wholly against their marriage. Period. I told him I would never call him “dad” and he would never be my dad. They did get married (obviously) and dad and I FOUGHT. Hard. For years. We would stand literally (correct usage of the word here) toe-to-toe, screaming at each other, neither budging on their point until mom stepped in. So how did we go from me boycotting their wedding to being adopted? Whew! That’s more to unpack than space available here. We did have a turning point, where I finally say dad as an ally instead of an enemy.

Dad and I were, once again, in a heated yelling match (no one remembers about what), standing toe-to-toe, mom to the side of us, trying to out-yell the two of us combined.

Side note: my mom is a hero, with more strength than I’ll ever be able to fully appreciate.

Okay, back to our screaming trio. As I type this, I can see exactly where we were standing. Dad stops yelling, looks me straight in the eyes, and says,

“You are just like your father.”

All the fight went out of me. I deflated in a way I have only done one other time – when dad told me I could no longer disappoint him, because he no longer held any expectations for my life. That was my rock bottom, but it helped me come back to myself and my family. We BAWLED together when he told me I could disappoint him again. ANYWAY (so many side notes going on here, I know!), all three of us went silent. I was speechless, mom was in shock, dad – flabbergasted. Mom or I said something about him going too far with that comment, and dad’s body language dissolved. He understood he had been misunderstood. He looked me in the eyes again and said,

“No, you’re like me. You’re just like me. I’m your father.”

I still tear up remembering this (pause for ugly cry).

My genetic contributor (bio-father, who was never a father to me) didn’t want to give up custody, even though we had no relationship, and I had made it abundantly clear my life had no place for him. So mom, dad, and I talked about an adult adoption for when I turned 18. Finances stopped that. Over the subsequent 20 years since turning 18, we’ve thrown the idea out, but it’s expensive and my parents were still raising children (there’s an almost 20 year gap between the oldest and youngest of my siblings). And I convinced myself I didn’t need to be adopted to know I belong to a man who has never stopped proving he is my father.

October of 2020, I was over at my parents’ (and trying to cope post-assault, if you’ve read my previous post), and dad said he wanted to talk to me. I go see what’s up and he asks, with tears in his eyes, if he can still adopt me. No hesitation on my part: YES. We look into it, they talk to their lawyer, we wait for the judge to decide which parts of the adoption process he wants to impose – in Indiana, even adult adoptions can be subject to home studies, background checks, and notifications to the biological parent – and on Thursday, January 28, 2021, my dad called me at work, saying over and over,

“My daughter. My daughter,”

to tell me I was adopted. I rushed out of the office, crying, freaking out several coworkers. It was finally legal. At 38, my dad can finally be put on my birth certificate and I can take his name.

Fun side story into my family’s humor: dad’s way of telling me I was going to be adopted (meaning the lawyer had all the paperwork needed to file the petition with the court), was by calling me and, with no introduction, telling me, “I can legally pull the plug on you now.” I laughed way too hard and told him I could legally pull the plug on him now, too.

We threw an adoption party and I have firmly requested my family and friends engage in all the adoption jokes. ALL OF THEM. Being adopted had changed something inside me. I feel a belonging in a way I have never experienced. I have an identity within the adoption that I AM my father’s daughter. I am still getting used to my new signature and being called by a new last name, but I love it. All of it. And I’m here for it.

I’m here for all the weird things that come with being adopted as a full-grown human adult. I’m here for the weird way I am now related to each of my siblings (it’s so fun to explain). I’m here for my dad sitting me down, looking at me with his most serious expression, then telling me it’s time I knew the truth *dramatic pause*, “You’re adopted.” I’m here for the weird looks in the grocery store when I wear my adoption shirt. I’m here for other people telling me their adoption stories. I’m here for the way I want to be sensitive to my brothers and sisters and how it shifts our dynamic in ways none of us were prepared for. I’m here for each joke. I’m here for the love.

I’m here for the way I feel more connected to my family and my family’s history, in a way I can’t fully explain.

I love being adopted.

As of tomorrow, October 11, 2020, it will be four weeks since an incident happened to me, which stopped my world. Because I’m pursuing this through legal channels, I don’t know exactly how much detail is publicly allowed. But I will say I was deeply betrayed (not even the right word for what happened) by someone who should have been safe.

It’s brought my world to a halt. I feel like a shadow in my own life these days. I feel guilty if I laugh or smile or enjoy a moment of life, and so isolated from who I was just four tiny weeks ago. I’m afraid to wear my own clothes if they’re not baggy enough. I want someone to reach out, but also feel smothered when they do. I feel pressure to be okay while those who know what’s going on insist I don’t have to hurry up and “be okay.” I feel and think so many conflicting things. I know the truth and logical realities. And they fight the false whispers and irrationalities inside my head. And the war is exhausting. I’m exhausted.

I don’t blame God. I really don’t. It was a human being who did what they did and that’s not on God. Period. Ya know, during this pandemic I stopped singing, yet since this happened, I found I sing to God most days. If only as a reminder of who I was before that day. If only as a reminder of who God still is.

This most likely reads as a jumble – that’s what it’s been like in my head. I’ve almost ghosted on social media. It’s lost it’s flair and flare. People name calling because they don’t agree on one aspect or another or because they assume they know the hearts and minds of others. People hating their closest humans and the most anonymous strangers. All for what?

What has hating someone ever done to make something better? How is hate and name calling and making fun of others going to help those privately hurting? How is all of that going to help heal another human being of some trauma or injury or wound? How is any of this wicked, disgusting, base, gross behavior going to turn anyone to do anything worth something of value?

How does it honor the God so many of them – us – profess to love and follow?

I’m standing still; the world is rushing on. And I want no part of the world I see. This world rushing on is what created the illusion I wasn’t valuable enough to be seen as a precious human to be protected and not used up. This world rushing on is what created the mindset of differences = less worthy. This world rushing on is what created the divisiveness so ugly there isn’t a word for it.

I’m standing still; the world rushes on. And I haven’t really cried yet; I hope the cleansing tears will come soon. I don’t hold much faith the justice system will bring me any justice. But I will keep singing to the God of my salvation.

I’m tired and hurting and just want to sleep in the arms of someone safe so I can finally – FINALLY – sleep.

I haven’t really slept since I started standing still while the world rushed on.

Not too long ago I was over at my parents’ house, spending time with my mother, as she recovers from surgery. The majority of our conversations have always been in the context of faith and our walks with God. This particular conversation is one we’ve had many times, in various forms: not giving up hope in God’s plan. I made a statement which has been heavy on my heart and mind ever since.

Faith is exhausting.

No one ever warned me about this. I’ve never heard anyone speak to the subject, even though the Bible has many scriptures which point exactly to this. Jesus says, in Matthew 11:28 (KJV), “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Why would Jesus provide a place of rest if He didn’t know we would become exhausted – that this world would burden us down and make us want to give up?

Isaiah 40:28 – 31 (KJV) is possibly one of the clearest passages on how much our Faith-walk can take out of us and the importance of staying connected to God. “28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Strength cannot be renewed and rest is not found without a relationship with Jesus. “For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul,” Jeremiah 31:25 (KJV).

“But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing,” 2 Thessalonians 3:13 (KJV). Doing well can easily tire us out, otherwise the admonishment wouldn’t be necessary.

Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Weariness = exhaustion.

These are just a few of the scriptures, which span the Old and New Testaments, pointing to the reality of Faith exhaustion. And each one gives a way to be replenished and renewed.

My frustration in thinking this all over is, it wasn’t until I put to words the struggle going on inside me that I was finally able to glean the scriptural help I’ve desperately needed, while dragging myself through the weariness and exhaustion, in shame. I – and others I’ve spoken to – have (wrongfully) seen the Faith exhaustion as something to hide, like a dirty secret. But – BUT – God KNEW we would become weary. He KNEW we would get tired and exhausted and run low. And He made a way of renewal, rest, and strengthening. It’s not shameful or wrong when these times come on us; it’s actually quite human of us. “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved,” Matthew 24:13 (KJV). To endure means to “remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding.” What we do when the weariness and exhaustion hit is what matters.

Psalm 61:2 has carried me through many difficult times the last several years. When I’ve been at my most exhausted and feeling beyond empty and unable to go on, I’ve quoted this verse back to myself and back to God, seeking shelter and renewal. It reminds me it’s okay to cry and cry out. It tells me where I can find refuge. And it points me back to my Creator, when I’m too overwhelmed and worn out to find my way. “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Merriam-Webster defines a standard as, “something set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality”.

On my way to church yesterday morning I was thinking about some events transpiring in my life and how I couldn’t justify them, because I live by a Standard. I began thanking God for a standard I didn’t create, for having a “box” to know my limitations and what is expected of me; to know, clearly, the best way to live and love and thrive. I had just told a friend earlier in the week, I needed to know the boundaries and expectations clearly, if our working together is to be successful. I don’t thrive in an infinite expanse of freedom – I’ll actually freeze up and become mentally paralyzed by the vast options and directions. And in that drive to church, mulling through my choices, seeing clearly the Standard set before me, I was grateful to have a clear direction.

In so many ways we talk about our personal standards and I’ve noticed how fluid they are. We raise our standards, lower our standards, throw them out the window, and change them. But a standard, by definition is a form of measurement. We don’t change what a foot or meter or mile measures, because we don’t like the length or distance of them, we adjust our plans and decisions to accommodate the measured length/distance required.

And yet…

This isn’t about bashing and beating people up. This is more a personal light bulb which lit up on a drive to church, on a Sunday morning. As a Christian, I claim I follow a Standard set up by God for His creation. In this context, God is the authority who set the Standard; the Bible is the guidebook to measure my life against and make sure I’m living accordingly. For some (many?) this may sound incredibly oppressive, however we live every day following others’ standards without question – jobs, banking, school, stores, driving, etc. All those things have standards attached to them and we, predominantly, function within them accordingly.

I love living by a rule of measurement that was designed by the Designer and Creator of everything. I have lived outside this Standard and within it, and walking holy is the most freeing, liberating, refreshing way to live. I don’t have a perfect life. I battle issues and worries and chronic illness and depression and I still say confidently: Holiness is right. The Standard is right.

The Standard doesn’t move, because I’m having an “off” day. The Standard doesn’t lower, because I’m lonely. The Standard doesn’t shift, because I want or don’t want to do something. The Standard doesn’t change for a virus. The Standard doesn’t change for racism. The Standard doesn’t change for wealth or lack of wealth. The Standard doesn’t change. It stands. We – people – are the ones who move away from the Standard.

Welcome to a new chapter in this crazy journey we call “life.”

I quietly took up painting about years ago to help sort through my thoughts and emotions. What’s come out of it has been… interesting. Several people have asked when I’m going to start selling and taking commissions.

Here is my official jump into that crazy world. Welcome. Check out my Instagram (@MissRuth1021) for paintings, designs, and random travel and food pictures. I’ll be posting paintings and projects there first and showcasing them here.

I am currently designing three suitcases and will post them when completed. I also paint unconventional items such as assistive devices (canes and walkers), flower pots, small tables (shipping may be restricted to local area codes depending on the size of the project), etc.

Contact me at MissRuth1021@gmail.com for commission and special project pricing or questions.

BeautyInTheBrokenPieces

Beauty in the Broken Pieces – SOLD

BlueLine

Blue Line – SOLD

Comino

Comino

Enterprise

SOLD

FlowerPot

Flower Pot – SOLD

It’s been a while since I’ve come to my little corner of the internet to find solace and space to work out what’s going on in my head.

Today social media is plastered with the news Chris Cornell of Soundgarden committed suicide. Some people are rushing to condemn him and all who take their own life. Many are reaching out to the people they care about with a plea they seek help if they’re contemplating suicide. And so many are having the same reaction people have any time a celebrity takes their own life: shock.

And I’m over here just trying to make it to Friday evening when I can hide away from obligations for a few hours and try not to think about death again. May 12, 2010 a man I loved hung himself. He was 28.

We were estranged, but I kept in close contact with his mother, sending her cards for different holidays and special occasions, calling regularly, and visiting when my schedule permitted. When I found out he died I was driving to the store for my mother, in her van. I almost hit a school bus. I didn’t make it to the store. One of my sisters had to come pick me up in a parking lot. My hands were numb. My lips were numb. My feet were numb. My ears were lying to me. I’ve had hearing problems since I was a little girl; I didn’t hear her right. Mama meant her other son. She meant her ex-husband or a cousin or the neighbor or her dog. Somebody else. Anybody else.

Every year I think it’ll be fine. I’ve prayed countless times to be less effected by it; I continue to pray. I take a personal day off work May 12 and spend it with friends or family and make it a day about love and being with people who are important to me. Without fail, each year the dreams come back, I hear his voice again, I see him walking through a crowd, the smell of his cologne hits me from an unknown source – I’ve been woken up by it in the middle of the night with no windows open in my apartment- and I break. Again.

This year I really thought things were going to be different. May 12 I spent chilling on the couch, eating junk food and watching Netflix with a friend of mine. We just hung out in our pajamas and laughed and talked for three days straight. The day passed and I was okay. Until last night.

It’s hard to explain why dreams in general mess with me so much. Many of them are vivid to the point I have trouble separating them from reality sometimes. The ones of him shake me to my core and it’s like he dies all over again. Each dream starts out with the same theme: he’s been dead, but, in some perfectly logical and plausible way, he comes back. From there they vary; some are happy, many are dark and violent, and some are purely macabre. All of them hurt. Last night’s was violent. I woke gasping for breath. Today after work I drove past a small indie music venue near my house. I don’t normally go near it, but I had an errand to run nearby. One of his favorite bands is playing tonight. They’re onstage as I type. Just a couple miles from my house. All I can ask myself is, “Why tonight?” May 19, 2010 we buried him.

Seven years later and it still hurts. And I hate it. I wish there were a stronger word than ‘hate’, but that word wouldn’t be enough either. I hate hurting. I hate missing being able to pray for him. I hate missing hoping he’ll get his act together and come home. I hate still caring. And I’m tired. I’m tired of the dreams and seeing him and smelling him and hearing him.

I’m tired of hurting, because of his decision to die.

St. Louis ComicCon is fast becoming a yearly tradition for me. My good friend,Ginny Kruta, gets a booth out there to sell her chain maille nerdery and I help her out and get to spend time with her and mingle with all things geek for a few days. This time David Tennant (10th Doctor), Matt Smith (11th Doctor), and James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) were top on my list to meet at ComicCon. And oh yes I did thanks to Ginny. This year my pilgrimage was darkened by some situations at home. I’d been doubting myself for months, trying to reshape the very core of who I am to fit into an image others insisted was better. I became terrified to speak up, laugh, get excited, or even share what was on my mind. I was so consumed with worrying about how I was being perceived, I quietly spiraled into the Dark Place (I’ve delved into that place in several posts here). Going to ComicCon was to be a break from holding my mental breath, but even there I fidgeted constantly and was on edge. My state of mind wasn’t helped by a giant stye (EWWW GROSS) that made an appearance just for the weekend, sat directly under my eyelid, hurt like fire, and was bad enough to almost fully close my eye at one point (I should have bought a black eye patch and run with it, but that’s hindsight for you).  That was until Saturday.

Saturday Ginny and I met The Doctors and I danced with Deadpool.

On our way to find protective sleeves for our pictures with The Doctors an upbeat song began playing; I don’t even remember the song, but I remember it made me want to drop everything and dance. And then there was a Deadpool cosplayer strolling up the aisle. I admit to not having seen the movie. My fellow nerds praised it, but knowing I’m not one to favor vulgarity, nudity, and sexually explicit material, they warned me to steer clear and take their word it was a well-done film. Anyway, there I was – with my hands chaotic with disorganized items – and I began to sway to the music. And there was a Deadpool, walking toward me, swaying as well. He began to dance, something ridiculously old-fashioned and goofy. In that moment I had a choice: walk on or dance.

I danced. Clumsy, goofy, awkward me danced with Deadpool in the middle of ComicCon. And my friend (who has the patience of a saint when dealing with me) didn’t balk or ridicule. The freedom in ignoring the crowd that built up around us to be in the moment was exhilarating. In those few minutes I soared. I soared above my thoughts, above my worries, above all the people who were telling me I was wrong for being me. And it was spectacular. When I came to my senses, I turned to Ginny and asked if I did, indeed, see cameras out in the circle that had gather around us. Yes, yes I had. Somewhere on the internet there’s video of me dancing a ridiculous dance with a cosplayer. And that’s fine. It’s probably the least flattering angle ever and I probably look like I’m having a seizure more than actually dancing, but for once, I don’t care. It was necessary. In that moment it was completely necessary.

Because in that brief span of time I thumbed my nose at the naysayers and those who’re far too critical in the short life we live. I defied my own hangups and self-doubt and did something “just because”. And in that goofy event I learned a simple, but profound lesson: it’s okay to be unabashedly you.

Sometimes you have to dance with Deadpool.

Touching the Sacred

Posted: January 23, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I haven’t slept well lately. Maybe it’s because of the anticipation of what today meant, maybe it’s because of all the stress. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Whatever the reason, I’m tired more than usual and only want to crawl into bed until Monday (okay, let’s be honest, I’d stay in bed on Monday if I didn’t have to work). Last night was an especially sleepless night for a couple reasons- 1. I stayed at my parents’ and stayed up late to spend time with my mom and 2. all the noises that creep into their loft where I “slept” are magnified and strange to my ears, which are accustomed to less indoor noise and more muffled, distant city noises. I spent the night at my parents’ house, because a couple of the brotherhood from my church were meeting me there early this morning to move a bed frame across town to my place.

A bed frame. Heavy, solid wood, simple, beautiful. Four posts, light colored wood (I have no idea what kind of wood). It’s nothing like anything I would pick out for myself, yet here I sit with this bed frame set up in my bedroom, almost in tears, again. Over a bed frame.

The bed frame was my grandmother’s for the past 8 – 9 years (my mother corrected my intitial time of 17 – 18 years, because that’s what moms are for) and before this one, she owned a darker version of it that dates back before my childhood. Those two nearly identical frames – four posts, a shining, polished ball at the top of each post, high headboard, and heavy – are part of my grandmother. They’re part of every memory I have of her. Until a couple days ago, I didn’t know the frame of my memories was actually two, instead of one. So, for the sake of this post, it’s The Bed Frame. When my mom asked if I wanted it, I didn’t hesitate to say, “Yes.” Gramma had to move from her beautiful The Bed Frame to a hospital bed after a fall and it was going to sit unused in my parents’ garage. I said yes to a frame I hadn’t really ever consciously thought about, but has held me in a type of embrace the past 29 years I couldn’t explain until my mom and I talked last night. As we looked at The Bed Frame in the garage – the first time I’ve ever not seen it whole – I told her my longest kept secret. The tears flowed.

My earliest memory that doesn’t involve being terrified is sneaking into my Gramma’s bedroom, in her house just outside Detroit, while everyone was somewhere else, doing other things. It was the first time in my tiny life I hadn’t felt fear. Childhood was a living nightmare and we escaped. Somehow, by the grace of God Almighty, we escaped. I closed the door just enough to leave a ray of light glimpsing through the dark of her room. I didn’t want anyone to see me. And I stood at the foot of the bed and touched the left post. Hugged the post in my tiny, frail arms, reaching my hand to that shiny ball at the top of the post to caress it like someone would caress the cheek of someone deeply loved. My mom says I was four.

Throughout the years I would sneak into Gramma’s room and stand at the foot of the bed and touch that one post. Always the same post. As time passed and I grew, holding that post and running my fingers lightly over that ball became easier, but never less necessary. And it was necessary. As if I weren’t really there, safe, wanted, and belonging until I touched that post. Never with the light on, not unless I had been sent in there by Gramma herself to get something for her, and even those errands were a chance to delicately run my fingers over that post. Walking in there was like walking on hallowed ground. It was a peaceful place of comforting smells, quiet, darkness that didn’t hurt, and a bed that held my beloved Gramma who hugged me and laughed and played jokes on us with her false teeth and fed me salami, cheese, and mustard sandwiches and taught me to play Skip-Bo. In my little girl mind I didn’t know the word ‘sacred’. But I knew the feeling of peace and love and reverence and contentment and belonging. That post was a spot where I could stand and, for a moment, breathe deep of something pure. It was the spot where I touched the sacred for the first time. And I felt as if I belonged somewhere. I felt wanted. I felt sacred.

Tonight I will pull back the covers of my bed and slide into a piece of the sacred, a piece I now own.

And I think I may actually sleep.

bedframe

All the blogs out there, I’m sure, have their own “Happy New Year! New Me, New You!” posts going on. I hope to merely impart a small bit of advice to you (and me) before the clocks strikes midnight and 2016 begins. Also, while everyone is out celebrating, I’ll be in bed (let’s be honest here, I’m in bed right now with all the lights off, typing this up). I’m tired and bed sounds nice, so this is my last official action of 2015. The new year will be around when I wake up in the morning.
For better or worse, we’ve made it through another year. Some didn’t. With mere hours left in this crazy, wild, adventurous year, some still won’t. Some will barely make it into 2016 before passing away. But, to those who make into another year, I encourage you (and me) to:

Learn. Learn from the past. Learn from the failures. Learn from the successes.

Give. Give your time. Give your talents. Give to those who have nothing to give back.

Create. Create moments. Create memories. Create connections outside of the Internet. Create adventure.

Make. Make mistakes. Make someone smile. Make cookies. Make joy.

Forgive. Forgive others. Forgive yourself.

Be. Be goofy. Be weird. Be happy. Be a misfit. Be amazing. Be you.

Remember. Remember who you are. Remember your dreams. Remember your beginnings. Remember you’re not alone.

Seek. Seek peace. Seek more. Seek help. Seek God.

Love. Love without reservation. Love those around you. Love yourself.

Live. Live wholly and completely.