I think The Year of More had a huge amount to do with that because other than embarking on That Particular Little Adventure, life was pretty much the same as it usually is.
The Year of More made me focus on what I was spending my money, time, energy, thoughts and emotions on, and best of all, it gave me the opportunity to shift that focus in order to feel more joyful, more balanced (which is always my No. 1 Goal in Life) and more content. And having more money in my bank account at the end of the year was a particularly lovely bonus!
Nothing major happened in my life in Twenty-Fourteen – I didn’t experience any fabulously wonderful major life events or reach any important milestones. I didn't do anything terribly exciting and I thankfully didn’t have any major challenges but I grew in so many small ways.
I let go of a lot of 'stuff' - both in my emotional and physical worlds.
Even more important than that, I had a very peaceful year.
And being peaceful of mind, peaceful of spirit and peaceful of heart is about as good as it gets isn’t it?
I felt quite different at the end of the year than I usually do. The high level of contentment I felt on 31 December 2014 has often eluded me as other years have come to a close.
Previously, I’ve felt as though I hadn’t achieved enough.
There can be a lot of pressure on us sometimes to Become Better People the following year, as though we’re not already Good Enough.
But I didn’t feel like that at all this time. Which was most lovely.
And I didn’t feel as though the end of the year was a big deal or anything. I felt as though Twenty-Fifteen is simply going to be a lovely continuation of last year. Which of course it will be. That’s how life works. One minute at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time, one year at a time.
But we tend to put so much emphasis on A New Year as though it wipes the slate clean and we get to start over again.
Some years we want to rush through in order to open a Brand New One to see if it’s going to be kinder to us. To see if good things will happen, rather than bad. But it’s a shame when we write off a whole year even when there may have been some pretty major challenges for us during those 365 days.
The year my Mum died or the year I got divorced weren't the worst years of my life. They were huge life changing experiences which challenged me significantly, but as difficult as those experiences were, they were wrapped in so many moments of love and growth and gratitude.
I have never had to search for inner strength and guidance the way I did after my marriage failed and I have never felt so loved as I did when Mum was diagnosed with cancer and passed away just three weeks later. My beautiful family and friends – both near and far - were incredible in their heartfelt support and their love literally kept me going as I sat by Mum’s bedside and watched her body and spirit fight to stay here with us.
I was surprised at the time that I could actually see and feel the blessings along the way. And I am forever grateful I could recognise and acknowledge them for what they were. Because sometimes we miss them – we expect blessings to be Grand and Mighty but they can be disguised as a hug, a flower, a sunny day, a good night’s sleep or a simple word or two.
Blessings are the Little Things we often don’t value enough.
So as the New Year rolled around, I didn’t feel any desire whatsoever to make New Year’s resolutions or set any goals for this year – I am simply going to continue doing what I did last year – spend less money on ‘things’ and find the joy in My Every Days.
Anything else that comes along will be a delightful bonus.
Usually there would be at least one major goal I would set for the next twelve months – to be healthier, to find a partner, to be more adventurous, to eat less sugar or to finally fix the towel rail in my bathroom. If any or all of these things happen to take place, great! But if not, I’m sure my year won’t be any less fulfilling.
I hope you’ve taken the time to reflect on your blessings from Twenty-Fourteen, even if they were a little bit hard to find at times. But I promise you they will have been there. And they will be there again this year. I hope you notice them as they reach out to embrace you during those tough moments.
And please peel back each day of Twenty-Fifteen knowing You Are Enough just as you are.
‘May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.’ Neil Gaiman