2014 in Review: A Journey Back to Me

My happy place in 2014: Land's End, Bailey Island, Maine

My happy place in 2014: Land’s End, Bailey Island, Maine

I have an admission to make as 2014 comes to an end. I’m not entirely sure how I was able to keep this blog up for the entire year. It’s been an incredible year with extreme highs and lows. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to say that it has been the toughest and most exhilarating year of my life to date.

I put this blog on autopilot. I wasn’t good with responding to comments, and I’ve been terrible at visiting other people’s blogs. I’ve never overextended myself that way in the past, but I do try to make it a point to give back to the blogging community with thoughtful comments, reading and sharing the works of blogging friends all over the globe.

Priorities took over, and I made it work just the same. Because writing keeps me level-headed, even when I feel as if my brain is going in a million directions. In the most difficult times, the ones where my time and sanity were challenged, I published some of the most personal and powerful posts I’ve ever written. It was my therapy. And your responses, both publicly and privately, gave me a perspective and feeling of support I’ve never felt before. (I will be sharing some of those posts next week. I’m honestly not ready to go through them all yet.)

I loved 2014 for so many reasons. Reasons that may not make sense for many people. I’ve found that people expect you to be sad, lonely and broken after a divorce. This is just not the case for me. I’ve learned and experienced so many amazing things this year. I’ve gone on life-changing trips, shared an epic summer with my kids and realized a childhood dream.

I took 20 minutes and started writing the events, emotions and experiences of 2014. I came up with more than 100 bullet points in that time, some not appropriate to share here. With the help of a few good friends who have known my whole story and aren’t afraid to tell me like it is, I’ve pared it down to 70.

Partially inspired by this post, here are 70 things I’ve enjoyed or endured in 2014. Thank you for being a part of it.

  1. Faced reality
  2. Told my kids their father was moving out
  3. Answered really hard questions
  4. Signed a book deal
  5. Experienced a level of anger I did not know possible
  6. Noticed an absence of sadness
  7. Visited a developing country
  8. Regrouped
  9. Simplified
  10. Asked for help
  11. Screamed
  12. Calmed myself down
  13. Wrote haiku that I may never share with another person
  14. Documented
  15. Negotiated
  16. Stood my ground
  17. Faltered
  18. Got scared
  19. Took control
  20. Had coffee with The Other Woman
  21. Got myself on the high road
  22. Came close to falling
  23. Sold my house
  24. Moved
  25. Downsized
  26. Divorced
  27. Changed my name
  28. Got distracted
  29. Sent questionable messages to friends who didn’t judge
  30. Watched my youngest ride his first big roller coaster
  31. Watched my ex cry
  32. Walked my dog in the rain
  33. Snapped selfies with my kids
  34. Allowed myself to be vulnerable
  35. Took two inspiring trips to Washington DC
  36. Said “I love you” to more people and truly meant it
  37. Said no when it was too much
  38. Said yes to new adventure
  39. Was honest with myself
  40. Made deep connections
  41. Re-discovered friendships and found new amazing communities
  42. Noticed who was absent
  43. Survived a colossal public meltdown by my son that made me want to give up and cry in a corner
  44. Found solace at Land’s End
  45. Allowed my kids to be angry
  46. Cried
  47. Wrote my heart out
  48. Realized how good I have it
  49. Danced
  50. Winged it
  51. Let things fall through the cracks
  52. Didn’t worry about it
  53. Prioritized
  54. Shoveled a foot of snow and hauled a Christmas tree with my boys
  55. Forgave
  56. Misbehaved (without hurting anyone)
  57. Dated
  58. Embraced being single
  59. Was called beautiful, sexy, gorgeous, pretty and hot by men, women and a dude in a dress
  60. Found true love all around me
  61. Felt life so deeply that it brought me to tears (in a good way)
  62. Put myself first
  63. Was disappointed
  64. Was inspired
  65. Inspired others
  66. Found my abs again
  67. Became a better mother
  68. Understood what it means to be truly happy, brave, strong, grateful and loved
  69. Reclaimed my life
  70. Let go

How was your 2014?

Why I’m Not Sending Out Christmas Cards This Year

I’m not sending out Christmas cards this year. It just seems contrived at this point.

It has nothing to do with the fact that I finalized a divorce this year. I’m doing great. More than great, really.

The holidays aren’t stressing me out.

It just seems like every year I race to find the perfect family photo to send out to a long list of people I barely talk to anymore.

I stopped posing my photos years ago. Because posing kids and dogs together is mild torture.

I’ve pared my mailing list down the last couple of years. Because when do I even talk to most of these people? And how many even send me cards?

And then there’s that guilty feeling I get when I throw out all those pretty cards I do receive with cute photos of children and families straight into the trash in January.

Those photo cards aren’t cheap, though my blog provided my cards last year.

If I’ve learned anything this year it’s to appreciate the love I have all around me every day. While I try to give in some way every day, I’ve also become more deliberate about telling people what they mean to me. I have so much good in my life that I want to celebrate it every day.

Being mindful and stopping to smell the roses always sounds good in theory, but how often do we actually do it? Looking back at the photos from our summer (while making a calendar for 2015, a tradition I am continuing), my boys and I determined that it was pretty epic. We had some fun adventures, many of which were not planned ahead of time. Many involved later bedtimes than normal. Many were documented with selfies from my iPhone.

I think about the adventures I’ve had with friends new and old this year. The conversations I’ve had. Deep conversations. The tears and laughter. The times I’ve felt my heart was so full it would burst. Or when I felt emotion so deep I couldn’t help but cry. These are the things you can’t express with a photocard ordered online.

I’d rather spend time with and talk to those that are important in my life. I’d rather concentrate on meaningful interactions with people I care about rather than send a blanket message because it’s expected.

I donated the money I would have used to purchase the cards instead. As I’ve done in previous years, I’m concentrating on gifts for the kiddos in my life who call me Mom or Auntie. This makes the holiday season of “giving” much easier and more meaningful for me.

I write about simple ways to give back every day. If we truly appreciate the love we have around us every day, the holiday season wouldn’t seem so stressful and crazy.

Of course, I’m not going to judge you if you are sending out Christmas cards. This is simply a decision I made that felt right for me. I know people who get a lot of joy from sending out cards. And I do very much appreciate those that have taken the time to ask me for my new address so that they can send me a card.

Instead I’ll give you my own version of a holiday card right here. It’s a selfie from our epic summer. With a few festive embellishments.

happyholidays2014

 Are you sending holiday cards this year?

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