It’s 3:30 in the morning and I am awake. I decided instead of tossing and turning, I would get up and write my A-Z Challenge post. I have been up for at least an hour and it just dawned on me that today is my birthday. When I went to bed I knew it would be my birthday but somehow today I just forgot. Every year I pick a word, one word that will define the 365 days to come. Last year I never got around to doing it. As I reflect back, the year was filled with some great moments but those great moments were quietly snuffed out and the flames of sadness were all that remained. My word is insignificant. As sad as it sounds, that is how I felt for most of the year. Sometimes to heal, we have to feel and boy do I feel the sting. I’ve been hiding for a long time and this year I asked myself the questions I have long been avoiding. Have you heard that quote; You can’t get to the next chapter if you keep re- reading the same page? Sometimes it’s time to let go and move on. The past will drain the life out of our future if we let it. And what gets left behind are the moments you miss fighting the constant pull of the two. I have learned that to truly love yourself and others you must first accept them exactly the way they are. That means accepting and loving yourself as well. It took revisiting some painful times to be honest with myself about who I am and who I want to become. I’ve been numb, lost, removed and it’s time to get back to living and feeling. I want to wake up excited and look forward to how life will unfold. For now, I am working hard to practice forgiveness. As I work through my own issues, I realize I have been carrying guilt for so long. Not living up to people’s expectations, not living up to my own expectations became one in the same. I became lost in the ideal of what I thought others expected me to be. I expected me to be perfect. Crazy huh? I think so too. I had to grab myself and shake myself and ask, who are YOU? And the answer became clear. I am starting to remember and the healing has begun. I have a new word for this year, actually two. Forgiveness and happiness. I will send those intentions out to the Universe and like a boomerang they will find their way back. Here’s to a new year, a new start and a healed heart. What word will choose?