Every year I get year-end retrospectives in my Christmas cards and I love hearing about the adventures and exploits of my friends and family. And there is a certain longing when I read those notes because I want to be the kind of person that has adventures. But for me each chunk of time seems to be measured by what I learned and not by what I did. Here are the four things that stick out.
Embrace Your Passions
Prior to starting this blog, it had been a long time since I gave into my desire to write. A long, long time. In 2015, a chance interaction sparked that fire and over the course of the second half of the year I have remembered why it is important to fuel the passions that give you joy. No, I don’t have a worldwide following. No, I am not the next big thing. But having this blog gives me permission — focus — to indulge in something beyond my work and my family, something this is just about me. I find the couple of hours a week that I sit on my iPad and quietly consider life to be some of the most rewarding and recharging time I have. I had forgotten I was important in that way and I’m glad 2015 reminded me.
Love Hard, No Matter What
There were times in 2015 when I thought my heart would break because I lost things that I loved, both relationships that were core to who I am and beloved pets who had intertwined in my life. I cried this year, bigger and harder than I have in many others. But in the end the pain was a reflection of saying good-bye to something truly amazing — unique experiences that not everyone has the chance to experience. So I learned that if you love hard and you put yourself out there, sometimes you get hurt. And that’s ok. I learned that I’m the kind of person who wants to feel greatly, both the great joys and the great pains.
When I started the year, I was planning to be part of a new company, considering how that would impact my future and my possibilities. Now that is off and my company is looking forward to an exciting future alone. When I started the year, my daughter and I were struggling to be in the same page and I felt like the enemy. Now, she is on a fabulous path to adulthood and seeks me out as an ally. When I started the year we were still feeling new in our community, still transplants. Now, we’ve explored the boating scene, made friends with our neighbors and found ‘our restaurants’. This year reminded me that life is about holding on, taking a breath and understanding that if you are open to possibility every situation has the opportunity for good.
Things Stay the Same
I’ve already posted about my ’20-Year Year’ but 2015 reinforced for me that some things have remained remarkably constant. My love of learning. My commitment to and joy from my marriage. My willingness to close doors when they need to be closed. True, you can’t have a 20-year year without remarking on how much weight you’ve gained, wrinkles you’ve added and scars you’ve collected, but this year also reminded me that my core has remained ridiculously stable. People who have known me for years recognize me in an instant, not because of how I look but because of who I am. 2015 taught me that core values don’t really change, which has been good and bad. I really like the person I am, but I’d still rather be the kind of person who likes to exercise.
So, that’s my 2015 retrospective. Life taught me to embrace the things that bring me fulfillment and joy, to love hard even when it hurts, to be strong through change and hold tight to the constants. It was a good year and as it ends I find myself turning to think about what 2016 will bring and what those 366 days will teach me.
Ooooh, a whole extra day to get smarter — only the nerd in me would think of that.