Onwards to 2018 and Finding Joy

I'm in San Diego for the winter, and in an attempt to defrost from Boston, I've made time to sit in the sun and soak up those soul-warming rays. Taking the time to cater to my endorphins and just BE in that moment--without a phone, without even speaking--got me thinking: Why don't I do this more often?

Here's the Ashley of 2017: a woman coming back to life, but not quite there yet. 

Well, 2018 is almost here and I really like the act of assigning a resolution/theme to the new year--so here we go: I want 2018 to be the year that I start to find joy again.

The past few years, post London, I feel like I've been chasing a really good dream I had. Boston is the closest I've come to loving a city again the way I loved London; however, I have developed some behaviors from my depressed years that I'm now hoping to shed. I am a deeeeeeep thinker by nature, a worry wart, and a lady who lives in her head most of the time (hello, I'm a pisces, nice to meet you).  All of these things got amplified during my times of sadness, and anxiety has become my unwelcome best friend. Anxiety, as we all know, is the stealer of joy.

Humans are the most interesting beings, in that we can live a whole life in our heads without actually living at all! Sometimes all I can see is the road I could take, rather than the road I am currently taking. All this obsession, all this worry has not served me well. So how can I change my behaviors? A few changes I will be implementing this year:

*In the morning when I first wake, resisting the urge to dive into social media. Instead, writing (setting an intention for the day or getting out my thoughts on paper), and/or doing yoga. When I commit myself to either one first thing in the morning, I notice a big difference in the day. 

*Planning group events and creating joy myself. Not waiting for joy to come to me, but being the creator of the good times.

*Continuing my love affair with taking pictures of the world, which turns my eye towards the beauty around me (I've always been good at this one). 

*Allowing myself to laugh, joke, be silly, and remembering the good in life. Letting go of the need to be right, and instead surrendering to the need to be loved. 

*Reading books that touch on reprogramming the brain, such as Daring Greatly (my current read). 

I've been putting this into practice already, and I feel tension releasing from my jaw. The political climate the past year has had us all in a tizzy. I'm placing down my arms and choosing to still find the goodness in life (this doesn't mean I'm apathetic. It just means I'm not going to be in battle mode all the goddamned time).

No matter where I roam, life is seriously beautiful. I choose to contribute to that beauty. Not only do I choose to find joy, I choose to be the creator of joy. Cheers to you, 2018! I come to you with an open heart, ready to be filled to the brim. 

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