Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Best of 2013

I've been winding down the year, thinking about how momentous it has been.  My head is still spinning from all of it, because this year has been anything but boring.  I haven't loved all of it, but there has been a great deal to love, and here it is.

1.  The highlight of the year was taking my girl on vacation.  Boogie boarding on a warm sandy beach, with palm trees in the background, sun on our skin....oh, that was a slice of heaven.  Seeing her eyes light up at Disneyland was incredible.  Dancing with her under the stars to a live band performing "Girl You're Amazing" was an unforgettable moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life.  I made it happen, and it was proof in some ways that my divorce changed my life for the better, because it was a fantasy come true that could not and did not occur within marriage.  It was proof that my life was now on my terms, and that there was deep joy within those terms.

2.  This was the year of the bikini.  I can not believe the transformation in my own body over the last year, and I love all of it.  I've gone from being a frumpy cancer patient to being a strong, lean woman who wears a bikini with confidence.  I'm fully aware that if I was a celebrity my butt would be plastered on some awful magazine with a note that said "Look at her cellulite!" or something, but I don't care.  I'm not a celebrity, I'm a real woman, and my imperfect body is strong and healthy and this summer I grew to adore my bright blue bikini. 

3.  I may be unemployed right now, but I rocked it at work.  I utterly transformed that small business, and I did so as a single mom who was balancing so many things.  I hold my head high over all of that.

4.  My daughter has blossomed all year - each month I see her changing before my eyes, and she is becoming such a bright light.  She has adapted to our new lives alongside me, and I see the confidence growing in her, and I see her capabilities coming to the surface, and it seems like anything is possible.  She has grown physically - so tall, and the beginnings of curves! - but also academically, intellectually, and emotionally.  The world is blessed that she is in it, and watching how she operates in the world makes my heart swell each and every day.

5.  Running transformed me this year.  Not only my body (see number 2), but every part of me.  Stretching myself physically has reminded me of what I'm capable of, has reminded me that my limits are not where I thought they were (they are much, much farther away).  I feel confidence and faith in my life that I've never ever felt before, and it is awe-inspiring.  I feel reborn through all of it.  Just about a week ago I did a 14.5 mile run at my best long distance pace ever (I aim for nine minute miles, trying to stay under 9:09, which is the "sub 4:00:00" time for a marathon, but my 14.5 miler was at 8:26 pace)....and I am still on that high.  When I run, I experience so much emotionally and intellectually, and I am hooked.  (I will post this, then go running today.)

6.  I took care of more home projects this year than my ex and I were able to take care of in our entire marriage (because he did not want to prioritize it), and living in a house that is fully functional is a blessing and a gift.  The hum of the dishwasher never ceases to thrill me, because I lived without one for so long, and I don't think I'll ever lose that appreciation.

7.  My rebound was imperfect and ultimately ended abruptly and imperfectly, but still, I'm glad for all of it.  It was a reminder of what is possible, about what I'm capable of, about what I want ultimately, and I'm glad for all of it, including the ending.  (He wasn't my guy, and that is clear, and if he hadn't ended it, I would have ultimately done so.)

8.  While I can't say that I'm grateful I don't have a job (frightening), I AM grateful and really quite excited that I'm putting my career back on a path that I believe in, that I am excited about.  I don't want a "good enough" job, I want a job that changes the world and touches my core.  I've identified that path, and knowing what I want is a great part of the battle, because now I know how to go after it.  Ultimately, this is a great transition for me, and I know that.  When I talked to Katherine about how I wanted to pursue my dreams, she said, "You have to do it, Mama.  When I grow up, I'm going to pursue my dreams, too."  That sentence is proof that I'm onto something.

9.  I spent more time in nature over the past year than over the prior five years.  Camping trips and hiking, snowshoeing, running, picnicking, long walks - I took any opportunity to be outdoors as close to nature as I could.  I feel altered as a result, and so reconnected to who I am.  I'm a nature girl, and every part of me feels that deeply.

10.  I did a fair amount of volunteering this past year, despite the crazy schedule, and every second was a highlight.  Just this week I wrapped up a giving tree project to collect money and gifts for foster children, and I delivered the items to a local charity.  Many of those who saw me run the project thanked me for my efforts, but it was embarrassing to accept their thanks, because I think I do it for purely selfish motives: it feels so good, and I want that feeling.  I helped with Katherine's school, I helped with a breast cancer charity, I helped with church, and I helped foster kids, and it was time that filled my soul and made me feel like I was living a higher purpose.  Bliss.

11.  I kept all the balls in the air.  My divorce was finalized in January, and I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to handle all of it, that I would fall apart somewhere along the way.  I did not.  The house, the pets, the child (oh, the child!), the job, the friendships, the family....I kept it going.  I took care of health, I wore clean clothes, I made dinner and served it and cleaned it up, and I didn't collapse.  In January last year I wasn't sure I could, but now I take it for granted that I can.  Imperfectly, but good enough, and I'm proud of my efforts.

12. I focused on thriving all year, not just surviving.  There were low moments in the year, problems I didn't expect, some that I'm still dealing with....but I did not let them define me, and I've pushed past the survival feelings to focus on thriving.  Whether it's taking five minutes on the beach to search for a beautiful shell, or organizing a weekend hike and picnic with my daughter, or wandering through the lights of downtown to see the Christmas sights, I have carved out time to live thoroughly and deeply, to appreciate my bounty even when I wished I had more.  I've built up my happiness reserves all year, refusing to settle or to sink into malaise, and this is my greatest accomplishment and highlight.

It was a great year.  And 2014 is going to be even better!

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous. You SHOULD be proud. Very proud!

    Here's to a glorious, exciting, and healthy 2014.