i can’t help it – the end of december signals my mind to obsessively analyze what the year held for me – and for the family too. not that the obsessive deconstruction accomplishes anything, but well, that’s my process and we’ll just live with that, shall we.
> major life events marked by big occasions/celebrations do not neatly bookend eras in your life or the life of your family: we got married in january2012. it was an awesome and completely joy-filled celebration. we were surrounded by amazing people, there was no stress (except for me worrying about the weather – as if i could control that), the long-term planning was completely taken on by my best friend, there was enough alcohol, the food was delicious, we were gifted with a rock-star photographer who captured the day perfectly, the sunset was as picture-perfect as the 7-minute wedding ceremony, there was only one meltdown (ala the 6-year-old boy who fell in the water and was worried because he “didn’t look handsome anymore” – he had nothing to worry about! he was precious and handsome all day long!), we were entertained by my wife’s karaoke and our son’s freestyle dancing. as ideal as the day was, we didn’t wake up the next day with a whole new lease on life. our pre-wedding life bled over to our post-wedding life. our pre-wedding chaos still existed post-wedding. our pre-wedding enjoyment of daily life didn’t change dramatically post-wedding. it’s like the new year … the date doesn’t create a whole new world for you to inhabit, it’s a continuation of reality. and that’s not a bad thing at all.
> sometimes work sucks: as passionate as i am about my career, it is possible that work can suck. and this year has been one of those years in which this lesson has been driven home to me and panda. we are both in higher ed because that’s where we fit; we love working with our students, we appreciate the challenges that higher ed presents to us. but this past year has been a challenge. and we’ve had to come to the cold, hard realization that even though we (collectively or individually) don’t believe in living to work, sometimes we just have to suck it up and do what we have to do to take care of ourselves and our family. i am a vocal advocate for everyone to pursue their bliss, but sometimes reality (and bills) dictate that our bliss isn’t always the top priority.
> tv sucks the life blood and creativity out of me. and sometimes that’s just fine. but sometimes it isn’t. after a long day at work, fighting traffic to get home, supervising/checking homework, throwing together dinner, muddling through bedtime rituals and consuming a glass of wine, the only energy i have left is flopping my cushy body onto the couch and vegging out with my wife. no need for critical thought or in-depth conversation, just decompression and mental unwinding. and sometimes, that is exactly what is needed. but often, i end up kicking myself for not stretching myself enough – mentally, creatively, practically. i have a ton of projects that i’d love to finish; scrapbook pages that haven’t been touched in years, quilted placemats that are 1/2 completed, writing that never gets done.
> fitness is not about looking good, it’s about being a good version of myself. the fitness struggle is still that – a struggle. i know well enough what i need to do and how to do it. i know why i should do it. but getting to the point of doing it – ahhh, not so easy. but i’ve learned a profound lesson this year. getting fit is (for the first time in my life) not necessarily about wanting to look better. as nice as it would be to slide into a size 10 or 12 jeans without blinking my eyes or scrunching up belly fat, i am much more worried about my fitness because i don’t feel healthy. and that worries me. i want to be around for a very long time and the way things are going in my body, it is possible that i won’t be.
> sometimes we don’t know or understand other people’s motivations. and sometimes we need to find peace with that: you would think that by now, this is a lesson that i’ve internalized and mastered. well – not so much. in the past 3 months, there have been some monumental changes in several relationships in my life. as positive as they appear on the outside, there’s a little me that whispers to be careful and is more than a little curious as to the other person’s (or people’s) motivations. but, i also talk myself into to recognizing that sometimes (not all the time), the motivations of others do not have to dictate my receipt of the actions. and, if the relationship is improved, and the interaction becomes more positive, is it worth the energy to question the reasons why?
> gratefulness and graciousness … these are my mantras for 2013. we have a life that is so blessed – and although there is more that i want to challenge myself with (PhD in the future? daily commitment to writing something – anything), accomplish (i WILL finish a crocheted blanket and i WILL learn how to knit), change (i hope to find myself enjoying my career again soon), evolve (its okay for relationships to change and not always be okay) … but through it all, i strive to move through this world grateful for what we have and gracious through everything
… and for all of you … may you find the time to reflect on lessons learned this past year …