When I was six years old, I took dance lessons. One day there was a challenge set out - the girl who could touch her toes the furthest down her face while laying on her stomach and bending backward would win a birthstone ring. I wanted that ring! So I lay on my stomach, arched my back, and curled my legs up and back, managing to touch my nose with my toes.
I won the ring.
I used to be flexible. But over the years, I quit dance and stopped stretching. I became inflexible.
There’s a class at BYU that everyone jokes about taking, but I don’t know anyone who has actually taken it. It’s called “Flexibility” and the rumor is that a large part of the class entails taking naps.
Although the nap was a big draw, I wanted to take the class because I was embarrassed at how inflexible I’d become. But Flexibility got lost in the shuffle of my collegiate priorities and I never signed up.
Last year I saw many of my friends and acquaintances blog about their “word” for the new year - but as described in a belated blog post, I never got around to making a real New Year’s blog post of my own.
In the past, I’ve tended to do more reflecting and goal setting around my birthday (as seen here, here, here and here) but last year I found myself making some serious plans. For weeks I had every intention of sitting down to put them on paper, or in a blog post, but I never got around to it beyond complaining that I never got around to it.
This sort of behavior is what I’m working on in 2017. I’ve chosen to deem this the year I learn to stretch.
I landed on stretch after taking some time over the holidays to write down all the different things I want to improve in myself, and the action items I need to make those changes a reality.
I gave myself permission to write down everything. I do not expect to grow exponentially in all these areas in one year. But I also don’t want to spend another year in my comfort zone, barely eeking out improvement in one or two areas. (I briefly considered uncomfortable as my word… but that just didn’t feel quite right hahaha)
I don’t expect to grow overnight by leaps and bounds in all these areas, but I do expect to stretch myself. To become more flexible. To try things I have wanted to but have been too busy, or scared, or prideful to attempt in the past. To go beyond anything I’ve done before.
Last year I started thinking about 2016 in early December… this year I started setting myself up to succeed in the early fall. And a couple weeks ago, I took the giant leap of quitting my safe, comfortable job to focus full-time on the new direction I want to take myself, personally and in my career. That was definitely the first big stretch I took leading in to 2017 - and I am banking on it being the first of many, bigger stretches in the months to come.
And if all this stretching can help me touch my nose with my toes once more, well that’s just the icing on the cake.