I am a capital C, capital F, Control Freak. I love labels, label makers, colored pencils and all the tools of organization that the Container Store has to offer. When I was in high school, my friends called me ‘MOM’ because of the enormous day planner that was my constant companion. Yes, you know the one… with all the colored tabs, the numbered weeks with lines for every fifteen minute increment of every day, the attached address book, and all the different colored sticky flags … ahhh, so glorious. But, I digress.
I didn’t realize that all that organization stressed me out, until I went to college and met Mark.
You see, I lived and died by my watch. It was the metronome that kept my life from falling apart. I could parcel my life into incremental bite size moments that I could control, measure, file away and admire after their completion, but when I was with Mark, I had to take the watch off. It was his rule. Because when I was with him, I was off the clock.
Without my watch, I felt so naked. So vulnerable. So scared. He knew that my watch was my Linus blanket, the single thing without which, I felt like I could not breathe. He made me trust him. I freaked out. A lot. And I fell in love.
The romance ended with the summer, but I learned a valuable lesson. Life is unpredictable, but it’s in that chaos where we grow. I grew more from that experience than from any college lecture course that year, because I learned that I could be brave. The heartbreak made me stronger, because he taught me that in my most vulnerable, naked state, I was beautiful, worthy, and strong.
So, for the New Year, I want you to remind yourself to be brave. Be vulnerable. Take off that proverbial watch every once in a while and lose control. Yup, that’s me in that picture, jumping off a bridge in New Zealand. But hey, you don’t even have to take my word for it. You can listen to smarty pants researcher/storyteller Brene Brown and she’ll tell you a little something about vulnerability:
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” ― Neil Gaiman
This month, we’re serving up bite-sized advice from experts in different fields to help us all make life a little brighter, more creative and more efficient for 2013. Think of this month as a chance to connect with yourself on a deeper level, get closer to what makes you happy, and take control of the balance in ‘work-life balance’ for yourself this year.