Last January, I christened 2013 The Year of Sexy.
Because after the first four months of travel in 2012, I asked myself who I wanted to be. And the answer, which surprised me at the time, was I want to be sexy.
Just in case you haven’t read that original post, here’s a key clarification: For me, sexy doesn’t mean objectified. It doesn’t mean prettier. It definitely doesn’t mean that I need more random strangers caressing my feet on a first date.
When I say sexy, I mean exciting. I mean magnetic. I mean the kind of person who makes you feel like you could do anything, reach any height.
This is what I said in my original post. And this is what stuck with me as I was mulling over what I wanted from 2013.
Which is why this year sexy became my mission, my theme, my battle cry.
And I must say, as the year winds to a close, that it has been a beautiful and unexpected success.
When I first wrote about sexiness, I said fitness is sexy.
So, this year I chose to take the stairs instead of the elevator. I walked across town with my backpack instead of taking the bus. I went to mountain towns and hiked in my spare time. I chose fresh foods instead of processed. And, at the end of the year, I am the smallest and strongest I’ve ever been.
I said getting outdoors is sexy.
So, I spent my September in the Alps, hiking almost every day. And since then I’ve made it a point to go outside almost every day, if only to breathe in some wintery air or soak up a little sunshine. I feel connected to nature and vibrantly alive.
I said independence is sexy.
So, I continued to travel the world on my own. I learned to make more definitive decisions. I stopped apologizing for myself so much, stopped worrying about making the wrong choice so much. And I just moved forward, propelling my life in the direction that I felt was right.
I said going for it is sexy.
So, I applied for my Swiss long-stay visa, even though I kept hearing how hard it is to get one. I listened to my heart and quit my business to pursue travel and inspirational writing full-time. I also gathered the courage to make the first move once or twice. Because life is too short to wait for guys to catch on and kiss me first.
I said spontaneity is sexy.
And so I started to relax, to let things unfold, to appreciate the mystery, the magic, of taking things as they come. I let opportunities come to me and I jumped when they came: petsitting in Paris, heading to Northern Croatia, visiting friends in Germany.
I said cleverness is sexy.
And I did my best to make people laugh and think.
I also learned that a huge part of making people think is simply continuing to live the way I do – intentionally facing my fears, listening to my heart, making the hard choices, loving with abandon, and sharing the crap out of my story.
I said vulnerability is sexy.
So, I told the hard, beautiful, important stories. I talked about my depression and anxiety. I told my story even when I knew it would gain me a few haters.
And I didn’t just do it in my writing. I started to be more open and honest with the people around me day-to-day. I wrote thank-you notes to people who changed my life in big and small ways. And I told them I loved them even when I was afraid to.
I chose to love with abandon. And the resulting freedom and confidence was breathtaking.
I said confidence is sexy.
So, I reframed how I was thinking about myself and my life, and I got my mojo back. I reminded myself over and over again that life isn’t pass-fail and that if I fail at something, I am smart and capable enough to make it right.
Finally, I listed a few other goals for my year, all turning around the idea that love, including self-love, is sexy.
(Though I didn’t know to call it self-love at the time.)
I committed to staying in beautiful spaces because I knew that’s what I needed in order to be healthy, well, creative, and happy. I kept traveling because I felt so good, so right, so me.
I decided to fill my schedule with ongoing contracts because I wanted to reduce and/or eliminate my stress, which is often around money. (Of course, everything shifted in a massive way when I decided to change careers and, instead, I learned to change my perspective on money and decrease my stress that way.)
And I said I wanted to do something big and charitable and inspiring because I always want to be the kind of person, every year of my life, who loves people. Period. (Though, like the ongoing contract goal, this one looked very different than I originally thought. I didn’t come up with something big to do, but I did, with all my small steps and slow life changes, inspire a few people in a big way. I learned that by loving myself, I am able to love those around me even better.)
In that original post, I said that I wanted to feel like anything is possible. I wanted to feel magnetic, exciting, like the kind of person who makes you believe that you can do anything, reach any height. I wanted to feel strong, confident, and bold.
Today, I do.
And holy crap am I grateful.
So, today I pause from my travelogues to look back on a beautiful year, quite possibly the best of my life. And to ask you to do the same. What big wins has your year brought? What have you learned?
What was your sexy?