Readers, I'm about to get personal. You've been warned. We're all friends here and have been for years, and we're all on the same journey to a happier, healthier self, so I feel comfortable opening up to thousands of my closest confidantes here.
2010 was a great year.
In March, I moved into a new house.
In May, I ran my first half marathon.
Later that month, I adopted a kitten to keep my 2-year-old cat company.
This summer, I went to Turkey with two of my best gal pals, Jennie and Bri.
Throughout much of the year, I co-wrote a cookbook with Chef Meg.
2010 was also an awful year.
In July, I was in a car accident with Jennie. Though we weren't injured, we're both still dealing with the shock of walking away unscathed.
I gained 10 pounds as I dealt with the stress of the accident.
In September, my grandfather had a massive heart attack, followed by open-heart surgery. He's healing, but his health was touch-and-go for awhile. I spent a week in Wyoming helping my family.
This fall, I moved out of that house and ended a long-term relationship. My two cats and I are settling into a smaller place just around the corner from the SparkPeople offices.
Just before Thanksgiving, my family lost a close friend--a teenager--to suicide.
In early December, I learned that my other grandfather was having trouble with his health.
And then six days before Christmas I cut off part of my left ring finger while chopping vegetables for dinner.
If you're a regular reader of the dailySpark, you know that I take inventory of my life each year. As I sat down to reflect on the events of 2010, the year cleaved itself cleanly into two parts: the first was full of highs, the latter dominated by lows. I felt slightly dejected. I took a break from the inventory.
I reread old blog posts, journal entries and emails to friends. I meditated. I pushed it out of my mind.
I fought negative thoughts: I'm 29. I'll be 30 in May. What am I doing with my life? What do I want to do with my life? Am I happy? What defines happy? Am I who I want to be?
I sat down in the middle of my new, cozy living room and stretched my legs out in front of me. My cats wandered over and snuggled up. I let my mind and eyes wander. I gazed at the objects that surrounded me--the books, the trinkets, the photos. They reflect places I've been, the person I was, and woman I've become: the hand-woven tapestry from my trip to Guatemala with a local nonprofit, the rice-paper coasters I bought just before moving home from South Korea, the tiny, jewel-colored ceramic bowls I bargained for in Turkey. The rows of French books, travel guides, and various editions of "The Spark." Framed photos of friends and family over the last two decades.
In that instant, I felt so grateful for life. My life. This life.
I have a roof over my head and a place to call my own; two kitties, plenty of friends, and a family who love me; a job I love, a body that lets me move freely in the world, and most of my fingers. Life isn't so bad. In fact, it's quite amazing.
I reflected on a quote that a dear friend had shared with me:
"We don’t have to make such a big deal about ourselves, our enemies, our lovers, and the whole show."--Pema Chödrön
"So what if my life wasn't going as planned, if things were a little rough," I thought. "That's life. No need to be overly dramatic."
I canceled the pity party and started to plan for 2011.
In 2010, I aimed to:
I did all of those--and more. I achieved a life's goal of becoming an author. I lost the weight I'd gained, plus my last few "vanity pounds." (More on how I did that in a future post.) I ran a half marathon. I grew stronger than I ever imagined--inside and out.
My grandparents' health has improved, the post-traumatic stress of the wreck has subsided, and my finger is healing. I'm leading with my heart, and there's a smile on my face.
I made what some might consider to be mistakes, but I lived and I learned.
This year, I have big plans. I'll be 30, and I feel better than I ever have. I look better than I ever have. More importantly, I'm healthier and happier.
So what's in store for me in 2011?
What are you focusing on in 2011?
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