2014 Year in Review: Part I – Let It Go

“It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small, and the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all. It’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through.”

Do those words sound familiar?

If so you’re one of millions, upon millions, of people that heard what Spotify called my “Song of the Year” based on the number of times it was played on my Spotify player in 2014.

I can’t and won’t deny it. “Let It Go” resonated with me, and much like Elsa’s braid, the song consistently weaved in and out of my 2014.  Now as I sit back and think about the wacky and extremely busy year that was, I can’t help but think of how this silly song (Ah, who am I kidding?  It was actually pretty good) became my 2014 anthem.

Some chose to believe that Frozen was Elsa’s coming out of the closet party. She was letting go of what everyone thought she should be, and was finally becoming who she knew she was – a lesbian. Um, sure. If you don’t believe what I just wrote Google it, yes, people read way too much into everything.

Sure it works, but I look at it as a girl who was unable to be who she really was, and once people were aware of her powers, she was free. Finally able to come out of the castle, to “turn away and slam the door,” to “test the limits and break through,” to be who she really is and not what people think she should be. Hmm…does kind of sound like she’s coming out doesn’t it?

Great what does Elsa coming out have to do with your 2014 Kevin? Unless …

Whatever!

I think we all have a little bit of Elsa in us. I think we all have had that “Let It Go” moment, where it’s time for us to create some distance, to fight our fears, to test the limits, to break through, and I think in 2014 I actually did that.

Photo courtesy eonline.com.

Have to admit, felt a little like Elsa in 2014. (Photo courtesy eonline.com.)

I was newly-minted Queen Elsa, letting my hair go atop a snow-capped mountain, with a swirling storm inside of me, keeping it in, until finally … that’s right. I let it go!

Bear with me here, I actually have a way to segue into my next Year in Review.

Let’s get back to that “swirling storm inside of me” line.

Three years ago I wrote that 2011 was the “calm before the storm.”

In 2012 the storm occurred.

I opened my own Nationwide Insurance office from scratch. I co-chaired the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Sky Valley. I took on the Youth Leader role at my church. I did numerous other volunteer activities that I no longer remember what I did, other than I was incredibly busy, and quite stressed.

In comes 2013 and the aftermath of the storm I created in 2012.

Still trying to get my business running consistently, I once again took on the duties of the RFL co-chair, Youth Leader, and added even more community events to my plate that by the end of last year I was crushed. I was absolutely wiped out, and though I wanted 2014 to be a success, my energy, confidence, and passion bucket were so low. I had no idea what to expect.

NOTE: I say “I”, but don’t let that fool you. I don’t do things on my own. I had my wife and three kids in tow, and that’s not easy. Thankfully I married an amazing person that sticks by me. But more importantly, one that will help me think realistically about every situation I’m about to walk in or out of. I may say “I…” but it’s never an “I” decision. It’s we, and frankly that’s what marriage should be about. Too bad there is an “I” in marriage and no “We.” Where was I?

If 2011 was the calm, 2012 was the storm, and 2013 was the aftermath, well then 2014 was the culmination of all of those emotions causing one giant KABOOM!

We (there’s the “We” I talked about!) had enough! Tired of exchanging black hairs for grey hairs, Lis was ready for a change. Tired of spending every day with what felt like a tight ball of knotted rubber bands in my chest, I was ready for a change.

And change we did.

But I can’t ruin the whole thing, not just yet.

Nope, I’ll be breaking my review into two pieces. Unlike past years I won’t be listing my top-whatever highlights of the year. There were too many high- and lowlights that we’ll instead just call them “moments” and just list everything in chronological order instead. And since nearly every month had a “moment”, and everyone can only read 140-characters in one sitting, I’ve decided to split it up a bit.

But before I begin I will say that 2014 was rough. Rough all over. I had stress coming at me from every angle of my life. It was kind of amazing actually. Work, family, church, basketball, community activities, they all sucked the fun out of who I am. It was rough on me and the people I was close with.

In the past I may have written things I shouldn’t have written. I started this blog to be a personal journal for myself. However, when you write things and post them on the Internet, they are no longer personal and people will take everything that you say – whether aimed at them or not – personal, which only causes more issues. I will try to stop doing that.

So even though family drama played a HUGE part in my stress and in our eventual KABOOM! I won’t be airing my complaints out via my not-that-personal blog. No chatter about so-called “tainted” relationships, or relationships that seemed to have been fractured for parts of the year. It’s all part of that “Let It Go” process.

I did more self-reflection and examination in 2014 then I ever had. I spent a good part of 2014 in devotionals, in prayer, in long, drawn out talks with God. And though those around me may not have seen my emotional and spiritual growth, I’ve felt it, and I know the man upstairs has felt it.

It’s a slow work in progress. I’ve realized I care too much. I care too much about what people think. I care too much in wanting people to be involved. I care too much about people’s actions. Sounds silly, but I shouldn’t care that much.

I also worry too much. I worry about big things, I worry about little things, and I especially worry about things that are completely out of my control.

All this leads to more stress, more pain in my chest, more nights of restless sleep, more pain in my body, or nightmares at night. My body took a toll in 2014, and that started to concern me. If I continue to allow stress, worry and anxiety to control my body, how long will I have?

So we made a change. We created distance and everything felt small.

And darnit, “I’m never going back; the past is in the past.”

Wow, looks like this may be a three-parter!

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