Don’t let others take your shine away. Happiness depends on you. The first couple of steps might be the most difficult (and uncomfortable) but before you know it, those heels will glide on its own.

As each year comes to an end I like to stop and reflect.  Some years I’m saddened by saying goodbye to what appeared to be an incredible year.   Other years I’m a little afraid because I don’t know what’s yet to come.   Last year I was thankful for the struggles but very optimistic for 2012.

Now it’s the 31st and only hours away from welcoming 2013, and I have to say 2012 was a rough year.  It tested my strengths.  Some days I felt so defeated and completely shattered.  Financially I was mess and emotionally I was a train wreck.   To some, these two aspects could seem miniscule in comparison to other problems, but to me, these were my toughest battles.

I realize that every passing year I am my toughest critic.  The nagging voice in my head is constantly asking why this, why that?

It all goes back to having this internal clock, ticking away like a bomb.  It’s almost like I’m about to disintegrate for not reaching my goals on “time.”

Where’s that dream career?  Where’s my soul mate? Where’s my dream proposal?  Where’s my white picket fence?

However, as much as I’ve wanted to just mute all those thoughts away, they have become louder each passing year.

Yesterday, I spent about three hours cleaning out my sanctuary.  My goal: Begin the New Year with a clean and organized room.

What began as such a simple goal turned out to be the starting point for the new me.  See, two weeks ago, I realized some people won’t change.   Some people will repeatedly make the same mistakes, acknowledge them, and not do one damn thing about it.  The cycle continues, and people get hurt by those mistakes.    I know I don’t want to be that person.

So as I stood there surrounded by my mess, I realized what I needed to do.  I needed to take control of my life and decide, “What do I need?”    Do I really need this straightener that only heats up from one side? This shirt, why is it still in my closet? It doesn’t fit me, and I don’t really like it.  Some items were easy to just dump away, while others were placed on the “it-might-be-useful-to-someone-else-pile.”

Then came the dreadful part, the darkest and hardest to reach corner of my closet, it hid a tied up bag.  I knew what it contained and I knew it was time, time to let go of the past.

I know I’m not alone, I know someone out there has a box underneath their bed, maybe something in the furthest corner of their drawer or on a top shelf collecting dust.  Perhaps it’s not even a physical item but a thought or a feeling you’ve held on to for way too long.  Whatever it is, let it go.

I decided 2013 is my year of happiness.  And as far as that extra baggage, I decided to dump it.