A Reflection on 2013

It is hard to believe that a year has passed since I wrote my 2013 Bucket List. Maybe you’re sitting at home right now, reflecting on your own year or beginning to set new goals for 2014. There are the naysayers, those that believe that New Year’s resolutions are pointless, but I say that anything that drives you forward to positive change is worthwhile.  My bucket list did just that.  I’m posting the original list below, as well as links to the follow up stories from crossing items off the list.  But before that…..

I’ve hastened to say this outright, but 2013 was the best year of my life.  I know- that’s a bold statement to make.  Don’t get me wrong- I’ve had amazing years, years full of accomplishment, years blessed with healthy children, with Phil by my side. But this year was different.  I stopped surviving.  I stopped just trying to find a way to get through a day, a week, a month, and instead tried to find a way to live.  I stopped, as much as one can, caring what others think.  I stopped trying to make unhappy people happy. I took leaps of faith and risks, betting on myself every time. I raced better than I ever have before. I strapped my kayak to my own car roof, dropped my boat in the water alone and felt stronger than I had in my entire life.  I met new and wonderful people, supportive people, who lift me up and encourage me every day.  I got a position at work that I had wanted for years. I spent a week on the beach, watching my children fall in love with the ocean. I sang my heart out at concerts with my best friend, concerts that cost too much money, but were worth every single cent.  I laughed more.  I cried less. I took time for myself and let go of the guilt that used to come with it.

2013 had its challenges as well.  Occasionally, taking those big risks left me to fall flat on my face.  I made ill-advised decisions at work and accepted the fall out from them.  I made commitments I couldn’t keep, spreading myself too thin, then felt awful for having to cancel or miss out.  Friendships I thought were rock solid turned out to be one-sided and my heart ached for the loss.  I struggled with the big questions – am I in the right career? Am I in the city where I want to live for the rest of my life?  How do I make sure my kids are growing up happy? I still don’t have the answers to any of those questions.

I read Oprah magazine every month.  Cover to cover.  Not necessarily because I love Oprah, but because it is one of the most well-written magazines I’ve ever read. Oprah ends each issue with a column she calls “What I Know For Sure.”  Here’s what I know for sure:  I don’t have the answers and I don’t need them.  What I’ve found this year is that the place where I exist- the person I am, the person I always wanted to be- is in that small space between what I am afraid of and the decision to throw fear aside and embrace life.

Thank you for reading this year, for joining me on this journey. I hope your holidays are restful, restorative and that your plans for 2014 are already bringing you joy.

Bucket List Wrap Up:

  1. Train for, run and finish the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon on May 19th.  (Can’t leave this one out!)
  2. Complete kayak triathlon in Fairport Harbor, July 2013.
  3. Try rock climbing.  Not some outdoor, dangle-off-a-cliff in a credit card commercial rock climbing, but safe, indoor, well-supervised climbing.  Possibly make this a date night with husband.
  4. Get a physical/wellness exam.  This seems insignificant, except I have major health issues on both sides of my family and want to do all I can to make sure I’m avoiding them.
  5. Run a race with my kids.  So far we’ve talked about this goal, but haven’t planned effectively enough for it to actually happen.
  6. Cook at least 12 of the pretty magazine recipes that are collecting dust in my kitchen binder.  That’s one a month, which I feel is a realistic minimum.
  7. Knit something for myself.  Something time-consuming and pretty.  I’ve done the same for others, but never for myself.
  8. Can something.  Even if it’s one lonely jar of tomatoes I’ll use next fall, I’m determined to learn how to can this year. Does freezing strawberries from my garden count? EPIC FAIL-Moving this one to the 2014 list.
  9. See, in person, people who I normally only have contact with via social media.  Make plans, follow through, take the time.
  10. Connect with other runners for group runs.  My neighbor runs a Wednesday night group that I’ve wanted to join in on for a while.  It’s time to make the time and follow through. Need to get better here-news to come on how I plan to make this happen in 2014.
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10 thoughts on “A Reflection on 2013

  1. Jess! You are such an inspiring person to know and one of my favorite people that I met in 2013. When you talk about moving from surviving to living, all I can say is, “PREACH!” You are such a joyful person and I was so glad to see you last week.

    I’m looking forward to seeing your 2014 bucket list as I prepare to make one of my one!

    • Thank you Katie – I feel the same way about you. It’s been so incredible to find a community of people that are so supportive here. I’m so excited to hear about your wedding plans this year and your running plans too!

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