About a month ago, I realized how quickly the year was ending, and so I did what I usually do when that realization happens: panic. How did I do on my resolutions? Did I even get close to keeping any of them, or did I fail? I thought frantically back to the word I had chosen as 2015’s word of the year, but I couldn’t even remember what my word was.
I thought about all my hopes and dreams for the year to come, and about how so many of my goals – eating better, getting back into running after my injury, and having more realistic expectations for myself – were like these mile markers along the road of my year. Rather than getting smaller and closer to my goals, the numbers were bigger, higher, and the goals further away like flickering lights on the horizon.
On the other side of things, my year has been filled with an amazing amount of changes and growing edges and movements. We’ve moved and begun ministry in a new place – grief, loss, and so much gain. We bought a home – something we worried we’d never be able to do with all of our students loans. Our kids have thrived, and shown us how truly resilient and remarkable they are.
When I look back on 2015 and realize that I didn’t meet a single one of my resolutions – I ate worse, I ran less, I forgot my One Word commitment (the word was “present,” if you wondered), and I still don’t make my bed in the mornings – I feel like I failed. I feel like my whole year was a failure.
But, it hasn’t been at all.
For a perfectionist like me, making resolutions is like thinking there’s a litmus test for perfection. If I can just do this certain thing, or just keep up with that goal this year, I can prove to others – and mostly myself – that I’m good enough.
Too often, I look to my resolutions to be the solutions to what’s going on in my life. But, far too often for me, all they become are distractions from what’s real, and from what matters.
Perhaps I can’t check off the “amazing” box next to “How well did you do on your resolutions this year?” But, here’s what I can tell you about my imperfect 2015:
There were skinned knuckles from working in the garden.
Ouchies that needed kisses and bandages.
Walks to the popcorn stand, and bike rides around the neighborhood.
Hearts that hurt from missing people.
Eyes that saw every day miracles.
Annoyances that reminded me that it’s not all under my control.
Bellies that hurt from laughing.
Fantastic meals, and nights of boxed mac and cheese.
Too many trips to the doctor.
A house that looked lived in.
Snuggles and storybooks at the end of each day.
Germs picked up from who knows where.
Sick days, snow days, and “let’s get out of town” days.
We collected fossils, walnut shells, pretty rocks, and memories.
Milestones, sweet and bitter.
New scars, new joys, new love.
This year has been perfectly imperfect because we lived it.
When I look back on my imperfect year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. It may not all be perfect – heavens, it is far from it – but a perfect life wouldn’t be a life lived; it’d be one out of a storybook.
Perfect, no. But, my how my life has grown.
Here’s to another imperfect year!