Tag Archives: new year

Closing the door on 2011

I have a private journal I’ve kept up since 2011. Unfortunately, in the past couple of years its just become a place to dump my Twitter feed to for safe keeping. But once upon a time, I wrote in it daily. A few years, I would take the last week of December to do a year-end wrap-up. I’d write about what happened in each given month of the previous year, taking a trip down memory lane.

Eventually, however, that ceased to happen. And since then, I have given each year end a little bit of a cursory nod, but never the kind of attention I once gave. I’d like to say that this year will be different, that I’ll go month-by-month again. But, I can’t say that, because I, frankly, just don’t have time to go that in depth. I do, however, want to give this year some closure.

My  mom sent me an email with a newsletter giving ways to bring closure to the year. In it, Mike Robbins writes about how we need to give one year closure before we jump into the next one with all these hopes for where it will lead.

Last year at this time, we were in the process of moving. I was forced to find closure on the previous three years of living in the house we were in, and I embraced 2011 with hope and optimism as change was going on all around me. My address changed, and so did many ways I viewed various things. This year, though, I feel like I’m just rolling into 2012 without much fanfare. Its just another year. January 1st, just another day. I don’t really have optimism, but I don’t feel dread either. I’m a bit ambivalent to the whole thing.

So perhaps I am one who has a bigger need to find closure to 2011 than I would normally be as a year comes to a close. I thought I’d tackle the four questions found in Robbins’ newsletter.

1) What were my biggest lessons in 2011?

Absolutely the strong difference between want and need was my biggest lesson. This past year was a rebuilding one, financially, for my husband and myself. With that, I also learned the deep satisfaction that comes with paying for items with cash. I learned how to NOT live on credit and instead was reminded what it meant to put your money in a jar (or in my case, a big envelope) until you’d saved up enough money to purchase that great big WANT.

I learned my love for photography really can be more than just a hobby. I found a deep interest in the creative process of bringing music to life, and I discovered a potential market for documenting that process. I caught myself critiquing other’s photos with a better eye than just, “Oh that’s pretty!” and I soak in how other’s approach photography — both in what to do and what NOT to do.

On the writing side, I finally learned and held my first giveaways. I learned about how social networking in person can help you in the online world. I discovered even more strongly the kindred spirits I have in other bloggers.

Medically, I have learned an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If I will stay on a strict regimen for my sinuses, I won’t be so crippled by infections. You’d think I’d have known that already, but I REALLY learned it this year.

2) What am I most proud of from this past year?

See question 1. I am most proud of the fact that my husband and I ended the year without accruing any new debts. (Outside of an ER bill.)

I am proud that I have embraced myself as a writer and a photographer, not just as “trying to get into it.” I am proud that I’ve kept this blog going and its continuing to pick up traffic and grow consistently. I am super proud of the work I did on Rick’s CD, leading me even deeper down the photography path.

Finally, I am proud of becoming a biggest piece of our work-puzzle. Working more consistently has given me a nice feeling of satisfaction. I’ve met so many interesting people, many of which I’d have never met had I not been behind the bar this year.

3) What were my biggest disappointments in 2011?

I set the bar high for myself. I may not admit that out loud to anyone, but deep down I always set it high. While my blog does continue to grow, its growing slower than I’d like for it to grow. I am disappointed that I haven’t gone to any blogger conferences, nor attended any photo walks. I once again failed to complete NaNoWriMo.

I fully thought I’d be further in making photography profitable for myself, but I have to acknowledge there is still a lot more expense I need to go into first to really get that off the ground. Baby steps… even if I don’t want them to be.

On a personal note, I do wish we were closer to being able to purchase our own house, or maybe be back to two vehicles. And I had hoped we’d be more solidly ready to take steps towards starting a family.

4) What am I ready to let go of from this past year?

My disappointments for the year. They are heavily outweighed by the lessons and successes of the year. When many people look back on 2011, they call it a bust. When I look back on it, I call it a success. Maybe I didn’t grow to the levels I had hoped I would, but I sure didn’t backslide for a change!

But perhaps that is where I don’t feel this big surge into the new year. I didn’t necessarily grow “big time” this past year, but I didn’t backslide. I didn’t stagnate, but I think I easily could do that right now. Just go with the status quo as it stands now, content with where I am for awhile. But I don’t WANT to do that. I want to keep striving forward. I want to keep pushing. I want to build a positive momentum from here on out. And maybe… maybe I am afraid I won’t do that?  Hmm…

5) What else do I need to do or say to be totally complete with 2011?

This might sound bizarre to some people, but I need to clean out my closet. I need to clear out old things physically to be ready to clear them out mentally and emotionally. I may have to actively do this on the 1st since I won’t have time today to do it. But, I need to do something like that…I need to physically let go of things. I need to clean. I need to rearrange a room. Something like that.


Happy New Year, everyone. See you all in 2012…

My take on New Year’s Resolutions

052: Happy New YearI pretty much never make New Year’s Resolutions. And by pretty much, I mean I think about it briefly and that’s as far as it gets. So, as the new year approaches and everyone is talking resolutions, I thought I’d have a little fun: I Googled  “Typical New Year’s Resolutions.” I discovered that USA.gov has a list of popular New Year’s Resolutions. So, since I really don’t make resolutions, I thought maybe I’d analyze the list from my point of view.

  • Drink Less Alcohol — I actually cut back on that in the last year already. The expense of it, not to mention the fact that its empty calories, forced me to drink less already. I don’t think I’ve sported a “buzz” in well over six months, if not longer. And I’m okay with that! You don’t need alcohol to have a good time. I do drink socially, and I do enjoy a glass of wine or mixed drink in the evening. And I still consider myself a “beer snob.” But drinking less alcohol really isn’t an issue for me already, and thus there’s no need to make it a resolution.
  • Get a Better Education — I do hope to take a few photography “classes” this year. And I would love to make it to at least one blogger conference. You should NEVER stop learning!
  • Get a Better Job — How about instead of getting a better job, I just advance myself and what I am already doing. My goal for the end of this year had been to have a literary agent by, well, today. That didn’t happen, but it doesn’t mean its not a goal I don’t still have. It’s a goal I will continue to pursue into 2011.
  • Get Fit — YES! Something I need to do. It’s not a New Year’s Resolution, though. It’s a life resolution.
  • Lose Weight — I wouldn’t mind still shedding 10 lbs. But I’ll do it at my pace and more in the realm of getting fit more than with the need to lose weight.
  • Manage Debt — This week. The last week of 2010. I already did this one. I’ll only mention this ONCE here: I officially filed for bankruptcy. I was just in too deep with no way to claw my way out. Short of winning the lottery, I was already only weeks away from one creditor filing suit against me. I’m not proud of it, but it was what I had to do. It doesn’t make me a bad person or a slacker. It makes me someone taking matters into my own hands and moving forward with a clean slate in the new year.
  • Manage Stress — See that last bullet? That already made this one happen as well. Now its just a matter of keeping myself striving forward in a positive direction. Reminding myself to keep my eye on my goals, but live in the moment.
  • Quit Smoking Now — The only smoking I do is second hand smoke in the bars. Guess if I were to follow the less alcohol point, I’d lower this one, too. HA!
  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle — The house we are moving into next week is in an area that offers curbside recycling. This WILL happen anyway!
  • Save Money — Yes. We’re making huge strides to be able to do that. We have a few friends and family to pay back (who have helped us through this year), and as soon as that happens… the little bit of money that I was still throwing at credit cards will now be thrown into savings. Time to get smart about my money.
  • Take a Trip — We missed Oregon this year. I want to make a trip to Oregon to see my husband’s family happen this year. Which will be facilitated by the whole save money thing.
  • Volunteer to Help Others — I’ve wanted to work with MDA for the last several years. Perhaps this year will be the year I actually make that happen.

Resolutions aren’t bad things to have. I prefer to call them goals, and they can be made at any time in the year. January 1st is just a pretty date to use as a starting point. If it works for other’s, great. But for me, its more just a chance to check in on my life goals and see how far I’ve come… or how far behind I may be.

How are your goals going??