This time of year always brings opportunities to reflect on the ending year and think about what went well, what didn’t, and what changes we want to make for the upcoming year. My gut reaction is to feel like 2015 wasn’t a very good year, and I’ll be glad to see it ending. Goodbye, 2015. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.
The year was full of disappointments. I’ve been seeing a therapist, and it hasn’t really helped me feel any less depressed or anxious. I feel more and more like I have very little in common with the women on the one dating site I’ve used, and the one date I had this year with someone from there was, well, weird. I dated someone briefly who I met in real life, and it didn’t work out. The events that transpired at the church I’d been going to for many years, and the mixed experiences I’ve had so far at other churches I’ve gone to, have left me feeling more alienated than ever from mainstream Christianity.
But maybe 2015 wasn’t really all that bad. One major theme stands out for this year. As I’ve written before, one of my major recent realizations is that I tend to sabotage myself. I assume that things will be a certain way, and use that as an excuse not to try something, or to stay in my comfort zone. And each of the above disappointments was the direct result of me taking a step outside of my comfort zone. I could have continued to assume that therapy wasn’t worth it, knowing that therapy alone isn’t going to solve my problems. I quit that particular online dating site a couple years ago after a string of mostly bad experiences, and I could have assumed that it wouldn’t be worth it to make a profile there again. I could have assumed that the woman I met in real life wasn’t my type, because she doesn’t fit all the stereotypes of the kind of woman I always thought I was looking for. I could have stayed at the same church because it was familiar, overlooking the facts that I don’t entirely agree with the direction things are going there and that being there often just makes me feel sad and alone.
But I didn’t. I stepped out of my comfort zone. None of those actions may have led to the perfect results I was hoping for, but at least I tried, and I don’t have to live with the regret of wondering what might have been. And that was a bunch of small steps in the right direction. The most important thing I can do for 2016 is to keep trying, to keep stepping in that direction. I also need to take time to sit down, figure out exactly what I want and what I’m looking for, make a list of goals and plans for 2016 (which are more than just resolutions), and determine which of these are and are not realistic. But leaving the comfort zone is the first step.