Sendoff to 2011

If someone would have told me when I was 16 years old that time would eventually fly by so quickly I could barely catch my breath, I would not have believed that person.

Here I am, trying to get in one last blog post before 2011 expires and after being on Christmas vacation for over a week. I have no idea how it is December 31st – none.

As each year passes, the days, weeks, and months speed past me at an alarming rate. Scarier still is that while I have much to live for and much to look forward to, I believe I could be living more fully. Does that make sense? Essentially, instead of putting down specific resolutions which I want to “stick to” (and probably wouldn’t (see last year’s list)), I’m keeping it simple for this coming year and for all my years to come: be present. Live in the now.

It is so easy to get caught up in the details of life which are unpleasing. That’s what I have done in 2011 and at the year’s end, today, the first things that come to mind when I look back are the hardships. I dealt with some health issues–sometimes alarming ones–which have made me sit up and pay more attention to what’s REALLY important.

So what IS really important? Love. Family. Real friendships. Personal fulfillment. Being in the moment. Appreciating those times of joy and laughter and cherishing them for their immeasurable value.

Kevin and I spent the morning with some family members and had some belly laughs, swapped stories, and ate some delicious food. It’s such a blessing to have so much love in both our families. That’s how I enter 2012: with a full heart and more clarity on how I want to be spending my time.

The “bad stuff” is unpredictable and will always happen when we can least afford to endure it. What I am making an effort to do is to not freak the hell out when something happens now, and yes, to even try to laugh at it. This is a particular challenge for me because I have a flair for freaking out. I can really mull something over and over and over questioning, “WHY ME?” quite a bit.

For example, I’m still in the middle of unpacking from Christmas vacation and figuring out the rest of my weekend. I’m sitting here at my computer, minding my own business, and the shelf which sits above my computer monitor suddenly gives way. I had to clear off everything from the shelf and now I wait for Kevin to repair it for me. I really wanted to whine and complain about it for a little while but I took a few deep breaths, focused on the fact that it didn’t come crashing down on my monitor while I was gone for a week, and now I  simply look forward to it being repaired.

That’s some serious pivotal behavior for a freak-outter like me! (Can you tell I’m patting myself on the back about it?)

I love the freshness that a new year brings. I always wish I can hold onto it as the months pass by but it seems inevitable that by the fall, the year has become as comfortable as a well worn pair of shoes. December never feels like a full month but a couple of weekends and we’re at Christmas and New Year’s.

2011 has seen a continuing passion for blogging and an expansion into another art form, that of photography. I am so appreciative for the gift of writing and sharing with you all and am thoroughly excited for another year ahead. I’m focusing on this sensation of brimming with enthusiasm and of course I’ll be sharing more exploits. (I thought of another driving post I could do!)

May 2012 bring you a tidal wave of happy moments, new adventures, and fulfillment until you burst.

See you on the flip of the calendar!

Last of the blooms

A top favorite photo from 2011.

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Looking Back

2010 has been a hell of a year. One year ago from now, I was living in an apartment that I hated in New York City. I had a good job and people I loved working for and with but I knew it was never going to be the job from which I retired.

I didn’t blog regularly. I took photos here and there and posted on Facebook like many people do but I didn’t pursue passions and/or blog about them.

I was living with my wonderful, supportive boyfriend who was applying for law schools and we were doing our best to make ends meet. Then he got into several schools, weighed out his options, made a decision, and we whisked ourselves out of the city and that apartment and back to our Midwestern roots (more specifically, his). We now reside in Illinois, Land of Lincoln and very, very flat land. It’s been an incredible journey and every year that I see to an end, I am reminded of how much can change and how much one can accomplish in 365 days’ time. Just one person’s life can be altered so dramatically. Sometimes it’s hard to turn around and look back because we have come so far.

I took up blogging more regularly the latter half of the year. And then suddenly, as if by magic, I made it onto Freshly Pressed with this post. I had been pondering how I could get more readers and suddenly I was bestowed with the gift of being featured. Ever since, I have felt a complete passion for blogging overtake me and I have been regularly posting ever since. I’ve also been blog-networking more and discovering this whole universe of fellow bloggers who make it look easy and so darn pretty. I can state with confidence that my blog roll will increase exponentially in size.

I received a fabulous present that will aid me in moving forward with authoring my blog with my own photos:

 

Canon EOS Rebel XS

I am so grateful to everyone who reads my wee blog faithfully and those who pass it on to others. Someone at Christmastime even asked me, “Hey what’s the name of your blog? I wanted to check it out.” I was so pleased to hear about one word-of-mouth referral that you’d have thought I had a New York Times bestseller or something. I have been doing my blog since August of 2008 but it is at the end of 2010 that I see it blooming into….well, something. It feels more tangible today than it did two years ago.

And so, as I bask in that warm glow of gratification and appreciation, I now make my list.

Things I’m looking forward to in 2011:

  • Overhauling Zoe Says to a new look and format. (Gulp.)
  • Taking tons more photos; learning how to edit them; sharing those photos.
  • Learning more about logo and button design.
  • Networking with more fellow bloggers and readers.
  • Doing more crafts.
  • Actually meditating, and regularly.
  • Keeping up a nightly facial routine.
  • Not obsessing about my physical appearance (read: weight) but focusing on my health and how I feel in my body.
  • Making new friends in my still new community.
  • Reading more books. I love love love to read but my attentions have been focused elsewhere this year and I haven’t read nearly as much as I’d like.
  • Being more patient.
  • Waking up earlier.
  • Not forgetting for too long how blessed I really am, every day.

Good tidings to you, wherever you are. For family, for friends, for peace among men…we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!