2011 has been a year of new beginnings and transformation for me. 2009 was a roller-coaster ride of love, heartbreak, surprises and the birth of my lovely daughter. 2010 was yet another year of heartbreak, gut-wrenching discoveries, financial struggles and the stress of raising an infant on my own. At the end of last year, I promised myself that by the end of 2011, my life would be different.
This past year, through baby steps, determination and continuous forward movement, I tackled issues head-on and realized nearly all of the aspirations I set for the year. Every single goal was a challenge. I had to focus intensely to meet my financial goals for the year, especially as the sole provider for my daughter, but the result of being nearly debt-free once again and having breathing room is more than worth the “pain” of sticking to a strict budget. I can’t imagine any other way to live now because, ultimately, the budget gives me freedom and very little financial stress.
I started a new office position in May, which, to be honest, made me feel slightly nervous. I had no idea what to expect and was so afraid of screwing up. Well, guess what. I screwed up a few times and the world didn’t end. I started working with a wonderful group of people, extended my social network and made some great friends in the process. I stepped out of my comfort zone and my world expanded. Professionally, there are still areas in which I need to improve (ideas for this next year!), but it keeps me on my toes and striving to do better every day. I am so grateful for the opportunity.
My writing life grew, too. Earlier in the year, I co-wrote a short film, which was filmed this fall. I also wrote a screenplay, although I can’t bring myself to call it a finished project because it needs so much revision. Although I haven’t actively worked on it recently due to kids’ birthdays and the holidays, it is high up on my list for January projects.
I think the most important transformation has been my adjustment to raising a toddler and the process of letting go of a teenager. With Maya, this past year has been a breeze compared to 2010. I can usually sleep through the night, which is a godsend after 15 months of a sleep-deprived existence. She just turned two and life with her is a blast. It’s loud, sprinkled with toddler temper tantrums, somewhat challenging and it’s kind of messy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Every day is an adventure to her and I love it. She is bright, funny and has a fantastic personality. I could brag about how she knows her alphabet, sings her abc’s and knows how to spell her name, but… Oh. I guess I just did. She loves her big brother Joshie with all the heart a two-year old can give. Speaking of the teenager, it’s been a challenge for me to loosen my strings on that kid. This past year has been one of growing independence for him. He’s eighteen, shuffling into adulthood and plans on moving to Spain in six months to be with Sonja. Talk about leaving the nest.
Sonja, Josh, Maya
I finally learned that despite all my best efforts for years, I can’t make an adult grow up and assume responsibility. I can’t make someone change his priorities and I can’t make someone care. After a certain point, you have to walk away and you don’t look back, not with the intention of hurting someone else, but with the purpose of saving yourself.
I also learned that a toddler can stick a lot of corn kernels up her nose without you even noticing. Like a dozen, to be exact.
Overall, as 2011 closes its doors, I feel blessed. I brushed the previous years’ debris off my shoulders, put on my big-girl panties and eliminated issue after issue. In the process, I rediscovered my self-worth.
I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings.
Happy New Year