4.What single achievement are you most proud of?
I put almost $2000 into repairs for my car plus paid off my car loan.
5.What was the best news you received?
I got a raise.
6.What was your favorite place that you visited in 2016?
Allegany State Park.
7.Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?
My observation skills and common sense.
8.Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
9.Which new skills did you learn?
Tending bar, PagePlus (software), new chords on the guitar, cutting shoots off a plant, training a stubborn dog, treating a sprained knee, laying laminate flooring, and more.
10.What, or who, are you most thankful for?
Charlie Horse. A walk with him transforms my mindset.
11.If someone wrote a book about your life in 2016, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?
Rural underdog flick.
12.What was the most important lesson you learned in 2016?
A little raise goes a long way.
13.Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
At the beginning of 2016 I lost 15 lbs. I thought I was on my way to my goal weight. I lost the motivation though and became stressed again. I didn’t let it completely tear me down. I stayed confident in myself.
14.What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
Rachael, Emily, Mia, Dad, and Nora.
15.What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?
I started taking on more marketing projects. I designed literature and photographed products.
16.How did your relationship to your family evolve?
I had to remind myself to stop into the house on Thacher St. I met my parents for drinks once or twice a week. Also, Mike graduated and joined the Navy… three out of six of us are out of the house! Having Nora around has made it a little more fun to get together and hang out. She turns 1 on January 4th!
17.What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
I read two books that reinforced what I have come to believe about life. One was Maybe in Another Life and the other was Back When We Were Grownups. Both stories show how a person’s life can go in a variety of directions. One choice can change the trajectory forever, but thinking about how things could-have-been is not helpful. Happiness is the outcome of so many different story-lines. Hindsight can’t truly prove that you’re decisions were wrong.
18.What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
I will reiterate what I wrote last year: “I should start writing down the compliments people give me.”
19.What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
Walking Charlie Horse // kissing Nora // music
20.What cool things did you create this year?
I finally worked on the painting of Mia swimming that I started almost two years ago. Also I used up some cotton yarn to make a little blanket.
21.What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
The first half of the year, I was optimistic and really creative; the middle was stressful; the last part of 2016 was a combination of being tired, proud, and motivated for a new year.
22.Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
Shot a deer.
23.What was your favorite moment spent with your friends?
Camping with Rachael and Charlie and Jude at Allegany State Park. We just laid on the beach and played with the dogs and hiked 12 miles – no biggie.
24.What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
I helped out a lot with the modified high school volleyball team and it reminded me how much I miss the sport. I think I would like to continue coaching that level. Also, I realized how much I want to get back in shape.
25.Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
Automobile repairs. Although, “unnecessary” is a strong word. It is what it is.
26.What experience would you love to do all over again?
Dancing in the rain at the bar during the Strawberry Moon.
27.What was the best gift you received?
Dad got me a travel backpack for Charlie which I’m very excited about.
28.How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
I realized that I love living in my hometown. It’s such a beautiful town. I love that I can walk my dog down the street and let him run around off leash along the river. I like to think that my 12-year-old self would be interested in the life I live now but also kind of confused. My overall outlook is that I don’t need to impress other people, but I have to remind myself that almost daily.
29.What was the biggest problem you solved?
Check engine light.
30.What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
Oh my gosh I laughed so hard at Rachael for something just a few weeks ago. She just said something without meaning to be funny but I found it gut-bustingly funny.
31.What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
I don’t have an answer for this, but on December 27th I had my nose pierced. So far it’s been a good decision. No issues yet.
32.What one thing would you do differently and why?
I probably spent too much money at the bars. Which isn’t really that much, but over the summer I had stopped drinking for a few weeks and it really improved my state of mind.
33.What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
Remaining confident in Charlie’s training capabilities.
34.What activities made you lose track of time?
Walking, training, or snuggling with Charlie.
35.What did you think about more than anything else?
The Blue Tuscon.
36.What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
I’m still learning a lot at the tile factory, but I most enjoyed practicing the guitar.
37.What new habits did you cultivate?
Walking almost every day.
38.What advice would you give your early 2016 self if you could?
Don’t stop dieting. Don’t settle.
39.Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?
I think a 180 is building up but nothing happened in 2016.
40.What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?
The other girl I work with at the factory is constantly telling me how good at my job I am. She is so supportive that I sometimes feel like I don’t deserve it.
What do you want the overarching theme for your 2017 to be?
I think perseverance worked well for 2016. Persistence was critical to some of the struggles I faced. For 2017, I’d like my theme to be ADVENTURE.
What do you want to see, discover, explore?
Who do you want to spend more time with in 2016?
What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?
Painting, photography, music.
Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?
Still applicable: “I have a hard time giving people orders while at work. I feel self-conscious about needing things from people.”
What do you want your everyday life to be like?
I would like to awaken refreshed. I would like to exercise often. I would like to share more with other people.
Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?
I have some nervous habits I’m really trying to get rid of altogether. So hard to do.
What do you want to achieve career-wise?
I still want to do as much good as I can in my current position. However, I have been considering asking a few people for their input and advice in regards to careers. I also really want to explore ways to make money online. I do love my hometown and small town life. I should take advantage of the possibilities of online work.
How do you want to remember the year 2017 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?
I want to remember 2017 as the year I lost 40 lbs.
What is your number one goal for 2017?
To act out of love.
After a while, I start to wonder if the things I think and write down are redundant. It’s like Groundhog Day or 50 First Dates, every day I come to the same realization and that gets me to the next day. Then I wake up and have to convince myself it’s okay all over again.
Not much changes. I mean I’ve had a few minor revelations over the past few months. I’ve learned some things about how to be a better friend and how to communicate better. I’ve been able to see the flaws in others but still care for their needs.
But, my car still has the same problems it had three months ago, and my weight loss plateaued again. I still hang out in the same places with the same people without meeting anyone new.
When I say I have to reassure myself everyday that this is just one phase of my life, I’m not exaggerating. I lay down at night and say to myself, “It will not always be this way” when in reality, it – life- is never the same. From first grade, to second, from freshman year volleyball to junior year softball to college sophomore fall semester to spring rugby to final semester of college to driving an hour to work for ten months to working in back in town for a year. Life’s path is not unchanging.
It sure does feel like it, though, when the bills are due, and you have just enough to get through the next two weeks; the progress you’ve made in behavioral training seems to have evaporated out of your dog’s head; the repairs for your car keep getting pushed back even though your inspection’s up, and on top of all that cops are being killed, priests are being killed, children are being sold as sex laves, and the only people the U.S. can come up with to be the face of the free world are Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton.
What gives, Mortal Existence? What do I do with all this?
There really aren’t very many good answers here on earth other than practicing love. I balance the negative thoughts with the good and always try to fall asleep feeling at peace.
So here I am again, trying to answer my own questions. I’m trying to write the advice I need to read. The best answer I have for overcoming a lack of peace is yoga and prayer and children.
- Let your worries go and play with kids. I’ve always been one for embarking on small adventures. Having small children around who get excited to go take a hike or play in the river with you brings youthfulness back into your heart.
- Surrendering your physical presence in some form of activity: yoga, biking, swimming, whatever distracts you from your mind and focuses on being. An evening bike ride in the dark makes me feel like a million bucks.
- When your chest feels weighed down and you can’t breathe or think straight, you have to give it all up. I give it up to God, but if you need to give it up to the universe or the earth, you go ahead and do that. Give up your thoughts and emotions in prayer. Today, I prayed out loud for the first time in awhile. I asked for peace and then I cried. I felt pretty darn good after that.
It’s hard to write with a dog on your chest.
I turned the lights off the other night with Charlie’s head on my chest, and I suddenly felt very aware of the 100 pound animal sharing my bed. I had originally put off letting him on my bed. In the morning, he would put his front half on the bed to nuzzle me and wake me up. Then he started jumping up on it in the evening or during the day when I was at my desk. After that, he slept through some of the night on the bed, but the past few nights he has slept the whole night with me.
I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I do love hugging him. I at least push him to side when he’s taking up the whole bed though.
Anyway, I was thinking about him being in my bed, and it made me remember when I first realized how weird it is to have such a big animal share our houses with us. I was probably ten when I looked out into the backyard and saw my childhood dog, Casper, and the beagles running around and thought, “There are animals in the yard!”
It was an interesting thought. I still love seeing deer in a field even though I see them all the time. There’s something about such a big animal being free in the woods. It’s like they are a secret. Dogs aren’t as free; they belong with us, or, at any rate, we like having them around. Still, when you forget the context of pets and see them in your yard, they look wild and free again.
Saturday was Charlie’s first big social outing. The Saint Paddy’s Day parade/town-wide festival was this weekend so my Aunt and Uncle opted to invite people out to their land instead. Charlie is still sort of touchy about other people. He gets defensive and concerned when other dogs approach me. Plus he’s nosy and wants to get in everyone’s business.
I’m pretty sure he will grow out of this protective nature, to an extent, as he gets used to my big family. He still gets homesick when we are gone too long. He’s a homebody, but he’s a sweetie too.
Luckily, we only had one mishap with another dog. He had fun swimming and running around with a couple of other dogs though.