I went to look back at my New Year’s Quiz from last year only to find that I didn’t write one. That right there pretty much summed up how 2013 started. It was chock full of sadness, unhealthy choices, anger, and a downward spiral that continued on through May. Outside factors, inside factors, inside my head factors, many forces contributed to what I would now consider my own self-imposed unhappiness, and lowest point that I had experienced in some time. It was then that I found peace in a heated room, on a mat, learning to breathe through my life and finding strength I never thought I had. And some that I came to realize I didn’t.
The latter half of 2013 was a world of change, not just for my physical health, but more so for my mental stability. I had heard the term mental strength before, I just didn’t realize how weak mine was. I was weak in so many ways. I held absolutely no presence in my life. I spent more time in my own head than among the people around me, and inside my head was not a fun place to be. That is still a work in progress, but “Here and Now” has become my mantra, and perhaps the foundation of that tattoo I have always wanted. So here goes, my farewell and unexpected thank you to 2013:
1. What did you do in 2013 that you had never done before?
I summoned all my courage and tossed aside my fear of stepping solo into a new and unknown environment, and walked into a yoga studio with absolutely no idea what I was doing. What I found there is a consistently growing supply of inner peace I never knew existed, and an immense wealth of gratitude for this life.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I don’t even remember the fog that was the end of 2012, but I am pretty sure I did not make a New Year’s resolution last year. It is with great intention this year that I am not making a New Year’s resolution, but am creating a theme for my life in 2014. My focus is to be present in my life and to choose happiness and self-care. It was such a foreign concept to me at first, the idea of choosing happiness. Choosing to be in a good mood? Choosing to let go of that which I cannot control? Choosing to control that which I can? That’s even harder sometimes. I can control how I feel, even though this morning I woke up feeling miserable for some reasons I could identify and for some that I couldn’t. Sometimes it’s really difficult, but I find that if I stretch my arms to the heavens and let my heart shine, it can break through many clouds.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
One friend had a beautiful baby girl. Such a blessing to see a great family filled with even more love.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
This question always makes me laugh. I’m pretty sure my passport is expired at this point. Regardless, I did travel to Maine and New Jersey to visit with some of my best friends. What more could a girl need?
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you didn’t have in 2013?
A golden ticket to TVD Con NJ and a hug from Ian Somerhalder, one of the most selfless, kind, and compassionate human beings on the planet. Just keeping it real.
7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched in your memory and why?
The only date that really stands out for me is Mother’s Day. That was the day I decided to try to help myself.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I was really stuck on this one. There have been a number of work achievements that I could mention, but really that’s such a side part of who I am. If I am being truthful, what comes to my mind is the first time I walked into a level 2/3 yoga class. There were at least 20 people in there and they all knew each other; ALL OF THEM. They were all standing around talking and hugging and greeting each other with follow-up ‘how has your week been’ conversations, and I fell into a serious panic. I felt so out of place and there were no spaces left to hide in back in case I got lost in some of the harder poses. It took every ounce of my courage to not turn tail and run out of there, but I stayed. And I loved it. It quickly became my favorite class. So there was that, and getting over my inexplicable fear of going into the back common room of the yoga studio. It was as if some part of me felt I didn’t belong there. The necessity of putting away my winter coat got me over that one.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Every self-deprecating thought that I ever believed for the past 40 years.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
11. What was the best thing you bought?
My 3 for $20 new student class pass to the Open Doors Yoga Studios.
12. Where did most of your money go?
Household bills, our trip to Maine, and a small chunk to my beloved yoga classes.
13. What did you get really excited about?
Our trip to Maine, our trip to New Jersey, and every single time I saw the word “Registered!” when I signed up online to attend yoga class (are you seeing a trend yet?). Oh, and dressing up as Dark Willow and meeting this awesome guy:
14. What song will always remind you of 2013?
The Cave by Mumford & Sons
“It’s empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
and all the faults you’ve left behind”
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
- Happier or sadder? Happier
- Thinner or fatter? Thinner
- Richer or poorer? Financially about the same
16. What do you wish you had done more of?
Relax about the little things. The saying “Don’t cry over spilled milk” was created for people like me.
17. What do you wish you had done less of?
Freak out about the little things.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
My in law’s for Christmas Eve, home with family on Christmas, with an additional day of Christmas at home with my mother in law three days later. It was a wonderful whirlwind where I did my best to take many appreciative pauses.
19. What was your favorite TV Program?
While I’m not sure what the heck is going on in Season 5 of The Vampire Diaries (I’m looking at YOU, Caroline Dries and Julie Plec!!), I stand by my TVD and I am loving The Originals. But Breaking Bad was the best series ending I have ever seen, Dexter still pisses me off, and I’m still not over the amazingly brutal season finale of Sons of Anarchy.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I really fell out of reading novels this year in favor of some fan-fiction that I will never fully admit to. But I’m getting back into it.
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Let’s just call this new-to-me music, OK? In addition to my undying love for Tori Amos I am obsessed with Mumford & Sons, adore Florence and the Machine, Death Cab for Cutie and Lana Del Rey, and rekindled some love for Fiona Apple. Pandora is my friend and it’s scary how well she knows me.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
Was the new Star Trek from 2013? If so, that one. Plus Catching Fire was very good. And The Great Gatsby was wonderful, although I know I am in the minority among my friends on that one (shocker).
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 40, and spent the day in the company of some of the people I love most. They dressed me up all sparkly and fed me vodka. It was glorious.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A hug from Ian Somerhalder (come on now, we all have our things).
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Slipper socks are still my favorite thing in the world, except now I pair them with yoga pants.
26. What kept you sane?
Yoga, yoga, and the knowledge that for the rest of my life I get to do more and more yoga.
27. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
This is going to sound preachy but it is my truth. I am responsible for my own welfare and that includes self-care. Self-care is not being selfish, and everyone needs it. I alone can create my own happiness. I cannot control everything, but I can control my own thoughts. The greatest gift that I can give myself is to stop the suffering over what was, stop worrying about what will be, and to focus on what is here and now before me. Here, and now. Here, and now.
That’s all she wrote. Happy New Year to you, my friends. As you can see I’m not posting much lately and it’s colder and darker out there, but I am here. When I allow myself to bask in it, I am happier than I have been in 30+ years. It’s not always easy and sometimes I hear the echos of that inner cave calling, but I continue to have copious amounts hope for the year to come. Reminding myself:
Lots of water, lots of yoga. No mistakes, just lessons. Only love and peace for all living things (Except spiders and other things with more than four legs. I didn’t say I was a guru when it comes to this shite.), and most of all only love and peace for myself. Namaste.