Last December, I posted an entry outlining my intent for the year. It inspired my Weekly Reflections series. Breathe magazine didn’t simply have the starter questions and all that lead to the year of weekly reflections, it also had a Review section, so to finish up this project properly, here it is:
Which goals did you achieve and which eluded you? What made some possible and which areas were tricky?
My primary goal was to finish the SFD of my novel. Through the process of taking Creative Writing courses at the University of Toronto, I psyched myself out and put it down. (Yes, I let fear win.) I’m ready to pick it up again. Beyond that, my other goals included: workouts with Jackie every M/W/F in order to be stronger and more flexible which worked for a while and then Jackie (much to my delight) opened her own studio which created a break in our flow. Now I take hour-long Pilates reformer sessions three times a week. I did get my new store open with photography projects over on Red Bubble. And, I did manage to read a lot of books, not as many as I’d like, but more than before and that’s a good thing.
Did any of your dreams come true? Did they bring you the joy you thought they would? Are they as important now as they were, or have any of them changed?
Most of my dreams had already been realized before 2019 began. I was regularly saying to myself “how does life get any better than this?” The only dream that continues to elude me is a completed novel. The secondary dream of having a “playmate” did come true and with it has brought a mix of emotions I was unprepared for but I muddle through it all the best way I can. Showing up is the easy part. We’ve landed in the messy middle without much of a beginning. I forgot the sharing component of having a partner – the demands on time, the constant (necessary) communication and navigating unexpected health concerns. I have been fiercely independent for so long I have to realize it is not a weakness to depend on someone or for them to rely on me. Its been a learning curve, one I am greatly enjoying even though it’s been scary.
Were your motivations sound and did they remain constant? Did you recognize the progress you made as you went along?
I fully embraced my word “slow” chosen to guide me through 2019. It served me well and through the One Little Word course, I was able to keep track of how it showed up. I continue with my desire to be healthy and happy – mind and body. I’m regularly making choices in alignment with my highest good and trust that the Universe wants to give me what I most desire – I’m making choices to ensure I will be around for a good long time.
Do your feelings now reflect what you anticipated or hoped?
I have been cracked wide open over the last year (and maybe a bit longer). In order to truly feel whole, to feel grateful, to feel safe and supported, to feel cherished, to feel generous, the armour had to come off. I’m still adjusting to the regular discomfort of the vulnerability hangover. This is exactly what I had hoped but could not have possibly anticipated.
Did you get the support you needed? And were there times when you could have asked for help?
I was delighted and surprised to receive the support I needed from both unexpected and reliable sources while I was hurt and disappointed by those who did not show up for me for reasons of their own. I am grateful for all of it. It’s always good to know who you can depend on when you need them. One of my favourite quotes continues to be: “Beware of those in your circle who are not in your corner” said by my friend Deb Owen. It becomes more right with the passage of time.
Did you change a friend or family member’s life in a way that made a difference to them? Or did you subtly influence a colleague’s behaviour in a way that helped the whole team?
Have you learned all the subjects, lessons or life values that you wanted to? Have any changed your outlook on life or broadened your horizons?
If anything, over the course of the last year I’ve learned to let go and not feel the need to learn absolutely everything about everything. I’m more discerning in my choices and have realized I simply can’t keep the pace of doing and learning everything – and hell, I know a lot about a lot already. I’m going to relax and enjoy it. Maybe read the supplementary books and revisit some courses. (That said, I still want to learn how to make jewellery.)
Are you free of unwanted memories, clutter and routines? Do you need more time to work through them?
I have finally worked through the multitude of limiting beliefs that had me paralyzed for so long. What were they? To quote my original post: “the story I tell myself that I am not enough, that I am not worthy of the life I desire, that I’m not the right weight/shape for a partner, that no one wants to read my stories, that I am not creative, that I should behave and sit down and shut up.” I am no longer riddled with anxiety over how other people perceive me. I like me. It took a lot of work for me to be the woman I am today and I think she’s pretty spectacular.
I am still dealing with the clutter. Progress not perfection …
Did you try a new activity? Did you enjoy it and how might you take it further? If it wasn’t what you’d hoped, make a list of fresh hobbies you could think about trying.
I never managed to make it as the schedule conflicted with my workouts with Jackie, but I’d like to try Pickleball over at the club. It stays on my list. That and getting back into playing tennis.
Was there time to explore the cities, cathedrals or maybe country walks you fancied? Or was your exploration more psychological? What did you learn?
Caden and I took a spectacular trip to the United Kingdom followed by a Baltic cruise. There were plenty of cities, cathedrals and country walks (complete with sheep shit) enjoyed. My psychological exploration was as part of a brilliant mastermind that just keeps getting better and better.
Did you find ways to show kindness and who benefitted from your actions? How did it make you feel?
I consciously led with the positive, generous, grateful and kind acts throughout the year. Sometimes I got caught in my more natural critical response but gave myself the space to figure it out, take a deep breath and start again. There were many opportunities to show kindness to friends, family and strangers. I’m glad I did. I’d far rather give than receive.
Were you more mindful? In what ways? Did you notice your surroundings more or the colours and textures of life. Explore how you felt about them.
I spent a lot of time being consciously mindful of how I show up for myself and others. I was more specific and discerning in the words I chose to use in any given situation. I was able to slow down and take note of situations, the big picture and the small details. I’m a detail person and have gotten away from it. I’m glad it’s back.
Was there time to think more about your physical and mental health and look after yourself? If not, try to think about why and the ways you might change the situation.
So much time spent thinking about health! Lots of reinforcement of good choices. There really is no more to let go, except perhaps wine consumption. Other than that, all of the “bad” habits have been released and replaced with better choices. Gall bladder surgery has been postponed a few times so who knows when or if that’s going to happen? Moving more, eating better, meditation, journaling, socializing, loving and laughing fills my days. I feel better than I have in a long time.
Does your routine reflect a new habit? Has it changed how you live or feel about yourself? Might there be other complementary habits that would also make your life more fulfilled?
My new circumstance has resulted in one major change: a lot less eating out – so many more home-cooked meals. I’m trying new foods or more combinations of foods with plenty of tomatoes and onions which have been out of my diet for a while. Now to dust off my cookbooks and find some fun meals. I like that it’s easier on my wallet and really not all that difficult. I am looking forward to exploring new food ideas.
Is your life abuzz with positive vibes? Has it changed how you see things?
YES! I’m now quick to address anything I perceive as negative and spin it on its head so that even challenging situations have a constructive (if not positive) outcome. I’ve become fearless over the last year dealing with discomfort quickly so that I can revel in what’s on the other side – which is almost always good.
There are also some new ventures I’m engaged in. The possibility of it all has tapped into a part of me that I’d long forgotten. There is plenty of good stuff coming up and I can’t wait to enjoy and engage in all of it.
And finally, have you rewarded yourself?
I have rewarded myself. I say “yes” to people, situations and opportunities that are open to me. Nothing passes by without thought or consideration. I’m all in, present and engaged.
However the past 52 weeks went, whatever you achieved, acknowledge the good, the less good and look forward to the hopes and dreams you have yet to fulfill.
This has filled a few pages in my journal! 2019 was remarkable and has set me up well for whatever 2020 and the decade ahead holds for me.