If there is one thing nearly everyone can agree on, it's that beginnings are almost always tough. Big beginnings, like moving to new cities. Or small beginnings, like choosing to walk to work instead of taking the bus. No matter how exciting the new beginning might be, or how much we planned and prepped for it, starting afresh gives most people some sense of dread. Will I do it correctly? Will I have enough energy to make this change stick? Will people support me in this new venture? Am I making the right decision in the first place?
The start of a new year often brings about these feelings. While New Year's Eve can be filled with parties and cocktails and grand plans for the upcoming year, settling into January can feel heavy with the weighted 'what ifs'. What if I can't do all the things I want to do this year? What if I fail? What if I never have the energy to start?
We totally understand this fear. We have also made grand plans for 2018, and are starting to wonder if we can really bite off all the wonderful things we want to 'chew'. It's daunting, this creating-a-life thing. But tucked behind all the anxieties around making a new year happen is the silent reminder - we are not in this alone. And neither are you.
We have named 2018 our Year of Connectedness, and are so excited to have you join us in this journey toward more passion, more purpose, and more connections. But we know that for a lot of us, this will require some big changes. And those big changes can feel scary - particulary if you haven't felt especially passionate or purposeful or connected in quite a while. Just know - we hear you. And we understand.
January is a great time to start new things, as the slate feels somewhat clean. So we urge you to hop on board with us now with some baby steps in moving toward a 2018 that feels meaningful and deeply connected - and you have us a resource for every step along the way. This month we are going to focus on what you can do right now to take a couple of those very first beginning steps - not too big, not too scary, but just right to help quell some of the loneliness feelings and begin to build a foundation for a happier 2018.
Perhaps the easiest beginning for this journey towards a lessened sense of loneliness is just to take stock of where you are, what you have, and what you want. No massive changes to any lifestyle yet (that's what February is for, right??) - instead, just take a few minutes and truly ask yourself a few questions:
- How are my relationships feeling these days?
- How many close friends do I have right now?
- How do I feel about the quality of these friendships? The quantity of these friendships?
- How many close friends would feel good to me?
- What would we do together that would feel good to me?
That's it right now! All you have to do right now is step one - just think about these few questions (and you don't have to do it perfectly, so don't let that fear stop you!). Loneliness often sets in when what we have, and what we want, do not align. But the only way to KNOW if that is happening is to think honestly about what we currently have, and what we would currently WANT to have. Today, we challenge you to think openly about what the current state of the connections in your life looks and feels like, and then to imagine what a world would look like for you that felt even MORE connected, if that is something you would like.
The beginning is often the hardest part. And this beginning exercise is deceptively simple - but it can be hard to be honest with ourselves. There is no shame in wanting more connections in our lives - for it is these very connections that make us our best human selves. Relationships let us laugh, and share, and grow, and stretch. We need these desperately - so do not beat yourself up if you want more connections than you currently have. That does not make you anything other than human ;)
2018 will allow for all sorts of self-exploration. Hopefully it will bring you a deeper awareness of what you need, and hopefully it will draw you closer to old, and new, friends. But today is only January 10th. So let's start at the very beginning, and just begin by understanding where we are today, and to start imagining where we could be that would feel even less lonely as the year moves forward. We will be right here with you - giving you ideas, connecting you with organizations, and sharing inspirational stories with you - one new beginning at a time.