2015 Year in Review

When I look back at this past year, I’m completely filled with gratitude. If I had to choose one word to summarize 2015, I would say enlightening.

So much has happened this year. So many changes, mostly on a personal level. When I entered the year, I was less than happy with myself. I had let myself get to a point of being somewhat unhappy. And complacent. Although I had so much going for me, a good job, had just bought my own place, I just wasn’t where I wanted to be. Most of that related to my health and fitness. I wanted to get back in shape, but was having a terrible time finding the motivation and will.

During and after my divorce, I had to find the strength to make some much needed changes in my life. I had grown through that period, but a part of me realizes now that I was kind of flying blind. I was going through the motions of what I knew I needed to accomplish. I glossed everything over, and plowed through, looking for what was on the other side. But I wasn’t fully processing everything along the way, and I didn’t realize that there was so much more to be done. I thought once I came through that period, everything would be ok. Magic. That’s where I got complacent. But life is funny that way. We are constantly growing and changing with the tides.

I’ve experienced so much more growth this year. I set my mind to making changes. I changed my diet. I started running again. I feel fantastic! I lost the weight (for the last time!) and I’ve been keeping it off just by being mindful of my choices. I’ve set goals for myself, and kept them.

I got in front of a camera for the first time in I-don’t-know-how-many years. Like, a real camera. Not just selfie’s with a cell phone. 🙂 And from a photographer that has spent so many years hiding behind one, it was time to practice what I preach. (And I’m gonna preach… get out there and get some pictures taken! Real ones. Do it for yourself and those that love you, just the way you are!)

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I had my first post-divorce relationship, if you’d call it that. And through that process I’ve learned even more. I’ve never been more comfortable and ok with who I am. I have a lot to offer, and either I’ll be accepted and appreciated, or I won’t. But what someone else thinks or feels about who I am or what I have to give, is not reflective of my own feelings. I can only be me, and staying true to who I am is so important. Sometimes friendship is all there is, and that’s ok. I think the biggest lesson here, however, is the importance of honesty. I have no time or tolerance for bullshit (ie people who hide behind lies and dishonesty in any way, shape, or form). At the end of the day, I aim to love the best way I can, treat others the way I want to be treated, show respect and appreciation, forgive when forgiveness is necessary, be honest and open with everyone, including myself, and hope for the best.

I also realized that I need to be challenged. I think running fills a bit of that void. It gives me something to work towards. A sense of accomplishment, too. But I also see the need to be challenged in other areas. I’ve been feeling underutilized at work. I love my job. And I love the industry and what I do. However, I also know that I am capable of so much more. I need something more challenging, more sense of purpose. So I’m going back to school to finish out my associate’s degree and work towards a bachelor’s. I need to feel like I am doing everything in my power to be my best self. And I couldn’t be more excited about it!

So yes, this year has been filled with enlightenment. Realizations that, no matter how much I love everyone else and want them to be happy, ultimately it comes down to doing what’s right for me. Accepting that maybe I don’t have it all figured out. That maybe the best is yet to come. My tag line says it all, I’m still learning to be me. The best me that I can be. One that I’m proud of, regardless of what anyone else wants me to be.

If you have never failed at anything, then you have never reached for a big enough goal. If you only choose goals that are safe, familiar and right, you’ll never stretch far enough to know who you really can become or what you are capable of doing.

To do something different, you will need to be someone different. Decide to leave your safety zone. Move beyond fear of failure to the possibility of authentically and consistently living your truth and creating a bigger life. You have something special. You have GREATNESS within you! ~Les Brown

Livin the Dream

Way back a couple months ago when I started physical therapy, my physical therapist and I were talking about general stuff. You know, like what do you do for a living, family, etc. Typical small talk.

I wish I could remember exactly how he worded it. But he said he had a friend or someone that when asked about life, would respond with “Living the dream… just someone else’s dream” or something to that effect. In other words, dripping sarcasm. Not really living the dream at all, at least not the way they envisioned it.

So it was kind of a joke. Every day when I would go to physical therapy, he’d ask how it was going, and my response “You know, just living the dream.” But I’m not really living the dream at all. At least not what I had envisioned for myself.

But that’s changing.

Going back to high school, I never knew what I wanted to do with my life. I always loved math, but couldn’t see myself majoring in math in college. I just couldn’t see myself as a teacher, and didn’t know what else I would do with a math degree. So I went for accounting. And I hated it!

Last night, I had a meeting with my Money Man (what I affectionately call my financial adviser). I was talking to him about going back to school and he asked what my plans were. When I told him math, he said there’s so much more you can do with math than being a teacher! I wish I had someone to tell me that 25 years ago!

I find it so ironic that after all these years, I’m going back to school for the degree that I always wanted. I met with a college counselor on Saturday, and have been getting everything lined up to start in January. Stressful, for sure, but I know it’ll provide the challenge I need right now.

I really have no complaints about my life. I’m very thankful for what I have. And I appreciate all that I have been given. But that doesn’t mean I just want to maintain status quo. I’m still young, and I’ve got plenty of time to improve, to challenge myself. I love my job. I love the travel industry. But I also decided 4 years ago when going through my divorce that I never wanted to depend on anyone else ever again. I can take care of myself. And I want to be able to do a better job of it. And push myself.

So right now? Now it’s time for me to start livin’ the dream. Livin’ the REAL dream!