There's nothing like a mile marker to give you the opportunity to look back and acknowledge what you lost, learned and gained during an increment of time or place. The real benefit of this moment of reflection is the chance to assess what you hope to learn and gain in the future. I've never been much for New Years and all of the sentimentality surrounding it, but I've recently come to appreciate the practicality of a clear end to one thing and a pronounced beginning to another.
2011 was a big year for me. I feel like I've just begun to come into my own as a backyard homesteader and perhaps even as a teacher and a writer. It's been really difficult to scrape by doing this, but I've managed, which is an accomplishment in itself. I've honed some of my weaker skills and have developed new, valuable ones. I've been given opportunities to share and have met people who seem genuinely interested in supporting and helping me. One of the most unexpected discoveries I've made during my time here is that New Yorkers care about more than just themselves. They care more about just getting ahead. I've never seen a group of people (my friends, specifically) more willing to jump to the chance to bolster their neighbor. Perhaps we are truly starting to understand that we need each other. I consider it an honor and a gift to be amongst so many inspiring, hearty folks. I hope to give to them even a fraction of what I gain from their presence in my life. I'd be nothing if it weren't for them.
There's been much good in this past year. I've only had what I consider to be one major failure this season; I took on more than I could handle and allowed myself to feel overwhelmed and unhappy about it. The excitement of actually being able to do what I love kind of got away from me, but I noticed quickly enough and plan to change. The beginning of this year will be about cutting the fat, so to speak. I plan to eliminate anything from my life that feels like dead weight or a distraction to more pressing matters and possibly hand it off to people better suited to the task if they want it. This year, I aspire to be better at letting go.
It's important to feel like I can depend on people for help more often. I am terrible at asking. I often just end up doing things myself because it seems like less work than explaining to someone how to do it. Perhaps that is true, but taking the time to get someone else on board to lighten the workload means that I'll spend less time crying and pulling my hair out when I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day for all I need to accomplish. People want to be counted on to some degree, I think. But they also want to be treated as though they can handle the job without having someone peering over their shoulder counseling them the whole time. It's a bad habit of mine and it needs to stop.
I don't have particularly lofty goals for the next year. I want to streamline my day-to-day so that it's not so oppressive. I want to perfect my curriculum so that my classes are second-to-none. I want a reputation for being dedicated and pleasant to work with among my clients and students. I want produce an amazing book that people are happy to spend their hard-earned money on. I want to keep challenging myself. I want to plan for the future. I can have these things and I will. I'm willing to put the work in.
I dream for a family and a home of my own one day. I feel myself slinking ever closer to making it real. I am on the right track. I can feel it. Each day I wake knowing I'll be doing something that matters. As a life long fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal, the feeling of purposeful living is a new and welcome change. Let's see if it sticks!
To all of my readers, I wish you a purposeful New Year. May 2012 be the year that matters!