I haven't felt entirely motivated to reflect on 2011 or set goals for 2012. In the past, at least on this blog, I've focused solely on that: goals. The year, though, hasn't been just about goals, and I'm feeling like a different kind of look back and ahead. After reading Amy's and Stephanie's New Year posts, I felt inspired to follow the trend of answering some questions to prompt my reflection. I've never actually done this, and for some reason, it feels a bit intimidating, maybe even embarrassing (like when I have to admit how apolitical I am or how I'm a Twilight fan). At any rate, after a 3 mile run in fifty-four degree, sun-shiny weather this afternoon, I feel ready to tackle it. So, here goes:
What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
I ran my first race. I also ran my first 10k race at a pace of 8:46 per mile. Blake and I took our first adults-only vacation to NYC and spent an embarrassing amount of money on a once-in-a-lifetime meal at one of the best restaurants in the country. We experienced U2 live. I took my first photography lesson and my first ever acting class. I took all dairy out of my own diet for four months and have maintained dairy-free cooking at home for almost a year. I sewed a skirt for Anna. We sold our first home and renovated parts of our new home. Made a fairy house with Anna. Saw the Nutcracker. Bought vinyl records for Blake for Christmas.
Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I set a number of goals at the beginning of last year, including getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night, devoting at least one hour on average to sewing projects per week, integrating meditation into my daily routine, finding a spiritual community, and intentionally creating more fun in our daily lives. I definitely got 7 hours of sleep much more reliably this year. I also sewed quite a bit...a skirt for Anna, eye pillows for the Mo's, bird ornaments, scarves...but not until AFTER the move. The house-selling, buying, renovating, and moving put a kink in a few of my goals, actually. It took up a lot of my time. Sadly, I did not make meditation a habit, and we are still searching for a spiritual community. While I don't have a way to measure whether I achieved my "fun" goal, I do feel like we made and had more fun this year. I set and achieved other goals after the new year, like finishing a 10k with a less than 10-minute-mile pace.
This year I still have the meditation and spiritual community goals in my mind. Looking back at last year's post, I mentioned wanting to navigate life's transitions with a little less stress and a little more calm, and I think both of these goals would help with that. I'm feeling particularly nostalgic right now and aware of the passage of time, so living more mindfully and embracing the present moment is a top priority. I'm not yet sure how I'll measure that or define it's achievement, but it's something I aspire to do, regardless. I'd also like to work on being a more patient, positive wife and mother. On a smaller scale, I'd like to explore more creative writing, maybe take another acting class, and decorate our house.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nobody in my immediate or extended family. I have a number of friends who've had babies this year...four in our book club alone (hence, the stork club) and one of my oldest friends as well.
Did anyone close to you die?
Where did you travel in 2011?
All over Michigan, including Ludington in the summer. Rochester, NY for Blair and Carolyn's wedding. NYC. Palm Beach, Florida for a family vacation. Chicago for our annual "Sprite" reunion.
What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Nothing from a material perspective. We are immeasurably blessed. I think "more time" always pops into my mind. More patience, definitely. More quality conversations and connection with my husband.
What dates or images from 2011 will remain etched in your memory?
Too many. Numerous random moments with Anna, where I watch her being Her, everything stops, and I remember what a miracle she is and just how lucky I am to be her mommy. October 19th: Saying good-bye to Anna at the airport on my way to NYC and spotting my husband, with a little "floop" in my stomach, upon arrival. Saying goodbye to my grandma before she died. October 9th: The sea of people watching the sun rise at Michigan stadium as we waited to start the 10K. Moving day, and the day we put up the For Sale sign at our old house. The view of the sunrise from our home. Bono in person. Anna in a white flower girl dress walking bravely down the aisle with Blake. Our Chicago reunion, for many reasons. Countless photographs from our Palm Beach vacation.
What were your biggest achievements of the year?
Achieving more harmony in my life (still a work in progress though), my 10k time. It feels like being a parent deserves mention...for nearly every parent.
What was your biggest failure?
Oh, it's too easy to think of these. I can think of numerous parenting "failures," which I suppose I could look at as opportunities for learning. Losing my patience way too often, raising my voice, especially. The other big one that comes to mind is continuing to be too self-critical, too pefectionistic.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
No major injuries or illnesses...a disturbing set of symptoms that revealed some autoimmune issues counts I suppose.
What was the best thing you bought?
It's always hard for me to pick one thing. I'm thinking the vinyl records for Blake are high on my list after our post-dinner dance party. My bright orange-y red Joe's skinny jeans. Our family vacation is always precious. Our house, of course, and the armless chairs for our family room. Dinner at Daniel with Blake. Gifts for others.
Where did most of your money go?
The house, hands down.
What did you get really excited about?
Taking Anna on new adventures and witnessing her experience things for the first time like going down a water slide, riding her big bike, having TV dinners together. Our girl's reunion and the NYC trip. I'd be lying if I didn't say Breaking Dawn (and spending more time with Betsy). Acting class. U2 concert. Vodka gimlets. Star sightings in NYC. Christmas. The angel tree gift buying with Anna.
What song will always remind you of 2011?
This is easy...Rio. I have no idea how many times we've listened to the Rio soundtrack this year. Is that sad?
What do you wish you'd done more of?
Meditate. Date nights with Blake. Been more present with Anna.
What do you wish you'd done less of?
What was your favorite TV program?
We don't watch a lot of TV...probably Chopped is our most frequently viewed show. I also got sucked into the Bachelor (embarrassing, but true). I really WANT to get into Mad Men.
What were your favorite books of the year?
I just finished The Hunger Games trilogy, which I found surprisingly addictive. I re-read The Outsiders after many, many years and still enjoyed it, even if it was more depressing than I remember. Freedom was probably the most impressive book club book.
What was your greatest musical discovery?
While I love music, I'm so "out of it" when it comes to new stuff. I actually would love to hear other's discoveries so I can add them as a Pandora station. That's what I find myself listening to most of the time. Today it was Abba radio...definitely not new.
What were your favorite films of the year?
I liked Crazy, Stupid, Love. Breaking Dawn (I'm a sucker for a love story, even if it involves vampires and werewolves). I didn't see many other movies in the theater, though. I have a long list that I really want to see before awards season starts.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
It changed drastically after Anna was born...from business clothes and dry clean only "going out" attire to comfortable, easy-to-wash shirts, jeans and leggings. This year I did buy more dresses for nights out. I don't think my lifestyle actually matches my "personal fashion concept." I don't buy a lot of clothes that I'd really like to, because I just don't need them.
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35!! Blake and I took turns having nights out with friends, we celebrated at home with Anna.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not sure...probably, again, worrying less or being more present.
What kept you sane?
Running, time with girlfriends, reading, Blake's support, sewing, enough sleep, my mom.
Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2011.
There are many, but I really, truly surprised myself with my 10K time, which happened because I set goals and committed to a training program. I learned that, by virtue of having the goal of a race to work toward, I easily carved out time for myself to run. Before training and after the race, without the goal, this time seemed to disappear. You really can do just about anything you set your mind and heart to.