I was perusing the blog Reverb10 and thinking back on this year…

June sky.


You can with a bang, and though you’re not yet through, it has been a wild ride.

{{This is a bit of late introspection, I confess…but I believe that resolution-making, inner-examination and goals-setting are useful in any season, at any time of the year. So let’s talk about exfoliation.}}

Irish tea in Galway.

The purpose of Reverb10 is to provide writing prompts to encourage bloggers and writers in general to reflect purposefully on both the small moments and integral events of the past year.

December 1 was called “One Word” – Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

My “one word” – adventuresome.

Irish beach pup.

December 5 was called “Let Go” – What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

I let go of an old relationship, a dependence on things, and many ideals that weren’t conducive to my personal dreams + goals.

December 11 was my favorite, called “11 Things.”

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

I’ve been thinking a lot about downsizing and minimizing the way I live my life, by way of material things, emotional attachments and responses to difficulties. I have tons in my closet, I have plenty of books and food and material security, plus a tight-knit band of loved ones around me and the luxury to pursue an education and learn my passions. Besides those blessings, why do I have to make things so darn complicated all the time?

*     *     *     *     *

These are some things I want to get ride of in the new year:

1. Stress – What does it help? Nothing. What does it cause? Pimples and bad eating habits and nervousness and increased heart rate and poor sleeping patterns. Badbadbadbadbad.

2. Poor communication – I admit, I have picked up some bad habits from unhealthy relationships in which I have been trained to be a poor communicator. That, on top of a general assumption that people can read my mind has led to some communication errors with people I truly care about, and it is my goal to work on this to cultivate lifelong healthy communication habits and re-route my erroneous ways.

3. Laziness – This semester especially, I’ve been appalled at how lazy I have been with maintaining friendships, making good, authentic impressions on my professors, and keeping up with my exercise schedule. Granted, as far as exercise goes, it has been necessary to let it slide for a few weeks while assignments and exams piled up. But there is no excuse for the rest of this to persist into the next semester. Laziness in general is such an unsavory characteristic, and I don’t want any little bit to take root lest it grow and fester in all parts of me.

4. Over-planning – I am a planner to the max, a hyper-organizer with most all of my duties planned far ahead of time. And yet, life doesn’t always call for this. Slowly but surely, I’m learning to let go of my need to know, because it really all boils down to the desire for control. And really, although I might desire control and even think I have it, I really don’t. Someone much more capable has me in the palm of His hand, and I want to fully embrace that.

Kinsale, Ireland.

5. Over-buying – This has been a goal of mine since getting my own place and managing my own money. I am being more conscious of what I need versus what I want, and the cost versus the benefit of whatever I’m buying. This has been good so far, but I still slip up and I still want to cultivate this in the new year. As far as clothing goes, my no-shopping/dress-from-a-limited-amount-of-items-challenge will be a perfect test of this, so stay tuned!!

6. Too much sugar consumption – A problem. I have such a sweet tooth and live with sweet girls who love to bake sweet things. I need to stop before I lose all my teeth and look like a meth addict in a trailer park

(Note: I accidentally typed “math” before I changed it to “meth.” Both bad things, in my opinion.)

7. Emotional rollercoasters – My emotions have been out of control this year, partially because a great deal of emotional things have been happening, some good and some bad: breakups, traveling/jetlag blues, overwhelming and beautiful love stories, tragedies and deaths in the family, future-planning, exhausting classes…And yet, even though my environment can be out of control, that doesn’t mean that my emotions have to mimic the same pattern. I am not dictating that I become an Automaton or entirely void of feeling, but I would like to be more emotionally stable/level.

8. Underappreciation – It is so easy to fall into the habit of being unappreciative of the things and people that I am around every day. But life is so short. And so PRECIOUS. Every breath should be a prayer of thankfulness, and I want my loved ones to always be sure that I appreciate them. That I love them, yes, but that I appreciate them as people, complex and intricate and fully unique.

9. Falling out of the Word – I have completely lagged in my study of Scripture and my daily discipline of prayer. I can absolutely feel the negative effects, and this is something I want to resurrect in the coming year. Thankfully, my precious friend Rona gave my a Song of Solomon study book that I can use to jump start my studies, and I can’t wait to get into it!

Cathedral in Kinsale.

10. Bad study/focus habits – It’s so easy to be distracted by blogs or good books or new recipes of fun roommate activities or old episodes of the Gilmore Girls on in the living room. This past semester I have been a poor student…I have A’s and B’s this semester, which is fine but not acceptable for a repeat session. I will have better study habits, and I will work on my ability to focus on the task at hand. Did you know that in this age of the Internet, and especially in my generation and those below me, it has been scientifically proven that the constant stimuli of Internet browsing has conditioned our brains for a reduced ability to focus? Interesting…Now that I have a set of awesome sound-reducing headphones (thanks, Mama!), I have a feeling next semester will show a much improved performance.

11. Over-scheduling – I don’t need to be involved in everything. I am not effective when I am involved in everything. I have felt smothered and overwhelmed and worn out and just plain tired. To combat this, I’m going to practice saying no. I’m going to pare down my activities to those to which I feel called.

*      *      *      *      *

I’m going to downsize, exfoliate, if you will.

Join me?


6 thoughts on “Exfoliate

  1. This post is so inspirational and I am so so thankful to have a friend like you in my life. I want YOU to know that you are appreciated. I know I can speak for all on that one. Love you friend.

  2. 5 Minutes « an apple a day

  3. These pictures are great. The typewriter and the blue and yellow window one especially.

    I love when people who seem as perfect as you are admit their flaws. It allows me to realize that we all are pretty similiar in our struggles.

    • Agreed, and thanks, love.
      I think the first step we need to take in re-uniting humanity is to submit our flaws and recognize that we are not alone. Our mindset of super-independence is one of the many things that has fragmented our society — and really, I think everybody is just looking for a way to not feel like they’re on their own anymore.

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