Yes, I’m aware it’s the end of July but I just found this unpublished post. Oops, 🙂
2010 was a doozy of a year for me. In many ways it was good even when filled with difficult moments, forced honesty and gut wrenching decision making. I can honestly say I know myself a lot better than I did a year ago. I don’t usually use this blog to document very personal moments because they often involve others who didn’t necessarily sign up for “Blog Exposure” so I’m going to do my best to talk about my year without pushing other people into the limelight.
Best Recipe: If I had to pick a favorite recipe from 2010 it would probably be Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli. I love this recipe. It’s so simple, hearty, and delicious. Also SUPER easy. You can make adaptations by adding other veggies (sliced mushrooms! or fresh spinach at the end) and it freezes well (the whole dish or just the meat and veggie part) and above all it reheats wonderfully! This is important to me because I am picky about food that I reheat.
Best Experiences: This is a triple tie. I volunteered at the Chicago Triathlon in August and was a viewer at the Chicago Half Marathon in August and the full Chicago Marathon in October. All three events were really inspiring. I was most awed by the triathlon because I spent a good part of the morning yelling and cheering on strangers who were doing incredible things. I also got to talk to a few first time triathlon-ers and it’s really geared me up for this year. The marathons are amazing in their own way. Running 13.1 miles? and 26.2? That takes a special kind of person. It’s a one day dream, but I’m starting with the Chicago Tri this year and we’ll see how that goes.
Best Book: Hands down the best book I read in 2010 was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The book has two sequels, which are also excellent. This is the story of a future dystopian US, completely controlled by the government, known as The Capitol. People live in 12 districts, each with it’s own industry. People are oppressed, silenced with violence and forced to live forever within their own communities. Each year, to remind the Districts that The Capitol is in charge, two children from each district between the ages of 12-18 are thrown into an arena and forced to battle to the death. Did I mention this is televised live and every citizen is required to watch? You’ll be addicted to the story and characters (Katniss and Peeta, among others) as soon as you pick it up. This is a terrific book to read with your children (11 and over) because of all the discussion points brought up in this series. This is one of those books (series) that make me proud to share books with other people. I’m thrilled that I was able to share Hunger Games with an insane amount of people this year. Please read The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.
Best Advice: I’ve been thinking about this one for a while. We all have our demons, the cross we each bear, the regrets, the what ifs, the missed opportunities, the times we don’t trust our instincts. 2010 was particularly difficult for me and I spent a lot of time blaming myself for lots of things going wrong and failing. As a child, I experienced things that had a profound effect on my life and I feel like I’ve spent 30 years trying to make up for that damage in some way. Sometimes I’ve been successful, other times I’ve coped and sadly a few times I don’t really remember how I survived. My point is that for most of my life I’ve felt damaged and broken in some ways, mostly relationship related. In a moment of extreme honesty a few months ago, I said to a dear friend “I think I’m too broken to be fixed or loved” and the immediate, no thought needed reply was “Until you realize that you don’t need fixing, all the love in the world isn’t going to make a difference” I don’t mean to sound trite or glib, but that’s so true. I’ve always said my life’s worth of experiences has made me the person I am today, I just didn’t always believe it. I’m working very hard on accepting who I am and trying to embrace the person I’ve become without judging myself or the decisions I’ve made getting here. Having people in my life willing to love and accept me for who I am NOW, makes that task a million times easier to accept.
Word of the year: Clarity. Clarity is a bitch. You know you’ve reach the pinnacle of clarity when you can’t hide from yourself anymore. I was the queen of lying to myself. About everything. Things I wanted, things I didn’t want. What I was willing to do to get those things and whether or not I had the strength to do them.
Reunions: Oh, I could write pages and pages about the people I have reconnected with this year (and over the past few, thanks to Facebook) but among the best were my childhood friends Andrew and Casandra. I was able to see both of them the same weekend! This was a treat I wasn’t expecting and it did more for my state of mind than I would have thought possible.
I’m also so thankful to have reconnected with the two Jennifers this year. JenTastic, I’m glad we were able to unpack together this year and discover the PikNPig and Jennifer J, can’t say I’m glad your ceiling fell on me, but I’m kinda sorta glad it did 🙂
Halfway through the year when I was drowning in the turmoil in my head, I set a personal goal for myself to accomplish three things every day and if I was able to do that then I could rightly say my day was good and worthwhile.
1. Find joy each day in something that directly surrounds me.
2. Make a positive impact on the world, directly or indirectly every day.
3. Do something helpful for another person each day.
Now, I admit that I made those three things purposefully vague so that I can find success in little things, but it’s worked. When I find myself getting weighed down in my head, I remind myself of those three things and it helps. Hopefully, I can keep that philosophy going in 2011. Fingers crossed. 🙂