Wandering Amylessly: Into 2023, “The year to Be!”

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By Amy Larsen
Wyo4News feature writer
Photos submitted by Amy Larsen

I think, like most people, this is the time of year when I spend a considerable amount of time reflecting on the past year. Memories made, moments shared, and even more important lessons learned. Also, like most people, I spend a lot of time thinking about next year, what the future holds, and what I’ll be reflecting on 365 days from now. This year, however, I have found myself in a limbo of sorts. I am closing the pages on an epic year. There really is no other way to describe it and heading into a year with mostly blank pages and no idea or plan on how to fill them.

Over the last few days, I have spent some time pondering 2023 resolutions. There is something about the word “resolution” that seems to bother me this year more than in years past. A resolution seems so firm, so defined, and permanent. Yet, I keep wondering what happens after the resolution has been accomplished. Do you still grow? Experience change? Feel different? I am not sure in my 40+ years, I have ever actually kept a resolution, so I honestly don’t know the answer.

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I reached out to friends while pondering resolutions to get their thoughts on them as well. I discovered that most of them set more goals, priorities, and plan through hopes and dreams. It seems much like me; they want to take lessons learned and carry them into the new year, continue to grow, and create a better future, but with flexibility as experience has taught all of us that life is still going to happen along the way.

I have written about this a couple of times already this year, but the most important lesson I learned in 2022 was to just be in the moment. This is something I still struggle with, so I have decided that in 2023 instead of setting unrealistic resolutions, I will instead carry important lessons learned in my epic year forward, with the theme of “2023, the year to Be!” To make an intentional effort to truly exist as is.

I am choosing not to create a check-off list for the next year or even a game plan. I am choosing to challenge myself, a challenge that I know will not be easy but will make me a better person in the long run. I know this because “2023, the year to Be!” is based on experience.  

As with any challenge, there have to be some parameters and a clear idea of what it entails. This is how we know we succeed, although in this case, I have no doubt the success of the challenge will present itself.

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As I sit here writing this out, I know I need to define what I mean by “to Be” as I think it is more than to truly exist “as is.” I’ll admit I am not entirely sure what it means. Thankfully, I have 365 days to figure it out. I do know, however, that it contains a series of other lessons I am carrying into 2023 from this year, lessons I learned from being out there wandering through life. These are lessons I am still challenging myself with every day, continuing to learn from and grow from, and truly setting the parameters for “2023, the year to Be!”

  • Be present. This will forever be a struggle for me, to just put down the phone, the worry about what’s next, the need to do everything, the fear or missing out and just embrace the moment I am in, the people around me. To live more of an authentic life and not just posts on social media. There are so many stories all around us, stories I know I have missed out on, stories that contain lessons I need to learn. It goes back to the quote I shared a few months ago by Omar Khayyam; “Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” You can never get that moment back, so don’t miss out on it. Life is already too short!
  • Be you. I have spent most of my life trying to make my curls be anything but my curls. I never just embraced them but always pulled them back or styled them into something they weren’t. This was the year I finally decided to just let them do their thing, to be them, and it has made a huge difference. It turns out they are easier to manage, they have a great yet quirky personality, and once I let them be them, people started noticing them. I have had more compliments on my hair this year, more conversations started because of them, and more people play with my hair (which was almost always a very awkward thing!). Ironically, I learned a valuable lesson from them in learning to be authentically me too. This year somewhere along the way I gave myself permission to just do my thing, let my quirky personality come out, realizing there will be good and bad hair days, but that is a part of life too. It has given me confidence in myself I didn’t know I had.
  • Be forgiving. Of ourselves and of others. This is such a tough lesson to learn, one that I am sure will not be completed in one year. Of course, I only share the good things people want to read about on social media and other avenues; the life people want to see. What I don’t share are the mistakes made, the broken hearts and tears, the occasional poor decisions, and even some scars from the past that needed to heal. I have experienced the reality that forgiveness isn’t easy, especially for ourselves, but carrying the hurt and anger is even harder. Bruce Lee once said, “Mistakes are always forgivable if one has the courage to admit them.” Admit them and leave them in 2022. My heart is already thankful for the extra space in 2023!
  • Be intentional. Make time to visit with friends and family. Take the time for the trip or adventure. Don’t just squeeze people and places in. Life gets so busy, and it is so easy to get caught up in everything I have to do that I fail to make time for the things that make my soul laugh and my heart happy. I can’t count how often I said, “we should meet for a drink” or “I should go on that hike” throughout the year and never followed up, then time passed, and life moved on. I know relationships have changed because of it, which is unfortunate, as those relationships and adventures matter, and I found those intentional moments were what my heart needed the most.
  • Be open. Step out of your comfort zone, embrace new experiences, and be open to what life has right in front of you. Challenge yourself, and see life from a different perspective. Remember, things don’t have to make sense to happen. The most random moments can truly change you. Enjoy life for what it is, not what everyone else thinks it is supposed to be. When given the option, always Kiss the Moose! This is my life mission statement that created itself for me this year and one I will continue to strive to live up to.
  • Believe. Believe in who you are and what you can give the world around you. I encountered some incredible people this year who reminded me of the power of believing in yourself and others and finding what you are passionate about. They lived this by performing simple acts, sharing their talents, speaking out about what they are passionate about, volunteering their time, pursuing their dreams, taking chances, and being authentically themselves. They believe in what they are doing, they enjoy their lives, and by doing that make the world a little better. It is incredible to watch as their belief spreads to others through a simple word or action, and they have changed someone’s day or path. Believe that dreams and wishes do come true, as the hope in those is incredibly powerful. To believe is the core of 2023.

Now that the parameters are set let the challenge begin. Welcome to 2023, “The year to Be!”

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