22 is my lucky number. I am not sure how many 40 year olds have a lucky number, but it has been this little part of my identity for so long now, I still hold a special attachment to this symbol. It started in high school, I was a 14 year old freshman, trying out for a new sport, living in a new town, at a new high school, still in the throes of accepting a new autoimmune disease. On the first day of field hockey tryouts, we were given numbers to place on our pinnies. I ended up with #22 – and after enduring those days of running and squatting and pulls and drives and jabs, I made the team! It felt like an auspicious sign as I started this new stage of life, it gave me instant friends in my teammates, and a sense of belonging. I fell in love with this sport, it carried me through high school and college, with it that sense of being part of something bigger than myself – I adored being on a team, I loved the highs and lows of sports, and I know that being an athlete allowed me to see my body as strong and capable, which was a lifeline of sorts as I grappled with a body that felt different, that was fighting itself. So, I guess it is no surprise that I got a little attached to this number 22.
New Year, Same Me…
Here I am, 26 years later, on the last day of 2022, at home with my husband, my 9 and 11 year old daughters, and our 2 year old dog Rudy. I turned 40 this year, which, for those of you who are into numbers will realize, is full of 22s – 2+2=4, 2×2=4… you get the idea. I had big plans, this year of 2022, as a 40 year old. As the year began, I decided I clearly would have to accomplish something huge. I set my sights on writing a book – a goal I have had for a long time- but has always felt daunting as I have felt both unworthy and terrified of sharing my memoir with the world. The thing about me is, I hold myself back when I don’t think I can do something perfectly. Given that perfection is pretty unattainable, I hold myself back a lot. This whole month, I had this self-deprecating thought in my head that I didn’t end up accomplishing much at all in this year that I began with all these grand plans. I certainly did not write a memoir. I didn’t lead a yoga retreat (all that love and meaning I found in my field hockey days lead me to a career in sport psychology, mental health, and finally teaching yoga). I also didn’t go on the writer’s retreat (yet!) that my husband gifted me for my birthday. Essentially – I spent the month of December focused on all I DIDN’T get done in 2022.
Yesterday, my daughters Grace and Ana were working on a project as I practiced yoga. As I sat up from my savasana, in that sweet afterglow of my practice – they called me over to see their creation. Following some end-of-year online trend, they each compiled a group of photos set to music, to showcase moments from their past year. As these pictures flashed by, I saw memories as a family on the beach in our beautiful oceanside town, I saw cousins together, cuddles and chaos captured with our mischievous dog… I witnessed myself and my husband, Alex coaching our daughters’ teams. I saw Grace and Ana surrounded by their friends and remembered trips taken with family friends. I watched my girls being adored by their grandparents. I saw the two dogs we lost in our family this year, my parent’s Lily and my in-law’s Maggie. I remembered all of these little and big moments that show my family living life this year.
And I realized, I did MORE than enough in 2022. I mothered. I taught. I loved. I felt. I made mistakes. I asked forgiveness. I stood in that yoga studio countless times offering my full heart to my students. I finally trusted myself to be a teacher of teachers, leading modules in the 300hr teacher training at my studio. I felt the joy of coaching youth sports. I cared for myself in the unique ways it requires to live with rheumatoid arthritis. I was present for my children. I lived a million beautiful, ordinary, everyday moments.
I hope, if you are pausing to read this today, you can offer yourself the space to acknowledge all the ways you lived this year. You can worry less about what you accomplished, and sit instead with how you showed up. Some days, some years, hold more struggle, more loss, more hard – some years more success, more adventure, more joy. It is so easy to hold on to what didn’t go well, what we didn’t do, what we wished hadn’t happened. Maybe this year instead, we can notice the abundance of little and big things we did do. As simple as the smile we shared with a stranger that may have momentarily brightened their day. Those moments matter. They remind us that we make a difference. I hope you can trust the impact you made this year.
This blog is my first step in allowing myself to share more of my journey, with a trust that my words may touch even one person. I have a strong belief that when we share vulnerably and openly, we create connection with one another, we get the opportunity to see and remember that we aren’t alone in this human experience. Just as those early days of making the field hockey team in a new town at a new school showed me the importance of having a sense of belonging, I have always been drawn to help others feel this shared belonging. I don’t think my story is the hardest or has any particular need to be written down, but I do know that writing has been a way I have forged connection with others for many years now. I hope my journey, through the challenges and insights of life with autoimmune illnesses, to the hard and miraculous path of motherhood, to the healing I receive from teaching and practicing yoga, can offer some connection with you, my readers. And I guess, when all is said and done this year, choosing to get this blog out on the very last day of 2022 is my ode to this year, this number, and this calling to share courageously.