I finished off 2017 by confronting one of my oldest fears. I joined Toastmasters!
The first speech is officially named the Icebreaker, because it’s about introducing yourself to the group.
But I also found out there’s another good reason to call it the Icebreaker. You guessed it. I froze! (More on that later.)
But apart from that, 2017 has been a great year. Here’s why.
I did what made me happy
Does that make me selfish? Before you judge, please let me explain.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll have heard about Danielle Laporte. She’s author of The Desire Map. Her premise is that we should decide how we want to feel, before we decide what we do. I agree.
What that means in practice is that once I’ve decided how I want to feel, it’s simply a matter of doing the activities that help me maintain those feelings.
Here’s an example. If my core desire is to feel connected and calm – that influences my choice of activities for the day. Turns out it’s a win-win. I satisfy my needs and those around me benefit from my good intentions.
I survived the mid-winter SADs
I really don’t like the short days and cold nights. So much so, that I’m exploring the idea for how we can live 3 months every winter somewhere warm.
In the meantime I make do. This past winter I did this by cutting out the things that sapped my energy, and replaced them with healthier habits.
By generally taking better care of myself I was able to turn around what could have been my worst nightmare; a slippery slide into depression.
As you’ve probably worked out, managing my mental health means I am hugely careful how I use my time and energy.
What I’ve managed to do this year was create, and stick to, a self care schedule that really worked. (I wrote about it here.)
I lost 9 kgs!
I hate dieting and have previously found losing weight damned near impossible.
I love being able to fit a pair of jeans I’d hung onto, along with the seemingly unattainable goal of fitting back into them one day. Sound familiar?
But more importantly I’m healthier, and I’ve got the energy to keep up with my 1 year old grand-daughter. This brings me to the next thing.
I got a new job!
My Thursday ‘job’ is to hang out with Arna, my wee grand-daughter.
It’s a fun day but it’s taken a bit of discipline to stop doing all the other things that I would routinely try to squeeze in around her needs, like checking emails and doing housework.
But since my one job for that day is to be present for Arna, I use the time when she’s napping to rest, read or meditate.
It means that between the full-on fun, we both benefit from the quiet moments. There is no more precious job than this.
Back to Toastmasters
My Icebreaker speech was going fine – until I got to the bit about my 2013 mental health meltdown.
That’s when I froze, solid! The words dried up and there was a huge pause as the ghost of those months of depression and darkness returned to haunt me.
But you know what, I didn’t die, and the ground didn’t swallow me up. And now I’m over that, I can actually see I’m going to enjoy Toastmasters.
If you’d asked me a year ago if I thought 2017 was going to be about overcoming so many fears, I’d have said “No way”.
But as it turns out, it’s been a great year for redefining my purpose, redesigning my life and building new skills, including public speaking.
As for 2018 – bring it on!