2011 Review

Looking back on the past year is more important, I think, than setting up resolutions and dreams for the next one. Seeing what was accomplished, what was endured, what was celebrated, can shape how the next year will be approached.Last year, I followed my friend Tasha’s lead and made a list of 30 things to do in my 30th year. I did it for the new year instead of my birthday because I got a little behind, but the idea was the same: set some goals and dreams for my next year and see what I could do about them. And, honestly, it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. If I’m using that list as my yardstick to measure 2011 against, the year comes up pretty short. Luckily, though, a lot happened outside of that list that added up to a pretty good year.

First, my 30 in 30 list. If I’m being generous, I accomplished a little over half of the items on my list. But this does not count as failure. As I look back at the list and see what I achieved, I see that the ones that were harder for me were the ones that involved a “every day” or “once a week” component. Apparently, I have problems with doing anything consistently. I’ll need to work on that, and I’ll probably tweak my 31-in-31 list to loosen the rules and make it easier on me, within reason.

So much happened this year that the list really isn’t an accurate picture of my growth and accomplishments.

I made a huge and difficult decision to leave the job I had a long standing love-hate relationship with, and putting that toxicity behind me has turned out to be a wonderful choice. I don’t lie in bed in the morning, wishing I could call out sick because I don’t want to face the negativity, and I don’t leave work shaking with frustration over things that shouldn’t matter. This one thing was probably the biggest achievement for me in 2011 – realizing that I needed to try something else. And I like the new job and the new coworkers, and while I miss some of the great folks from the hospital, I know this was the right call.

Last year also brought me an absolutely adorable nephew, making me Auntie Jen for real (get it? Yeah, I’m lame). I love him and I’m so happy for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who are fantastic parents. I’ll be asking them for a lot of advice, when it’s our turn!

We got through a hurricane and some damage to our home, and we got started on our big plans to upgrade this place by getting new floors, new paint, and a bunch of other things. Most of the work will be done in 2012, but we made the decisions and found the contractors last year, and that’s a huge part of the work.

My good friend was diagnosed with a terrifying brain tumor, and she stayed here with us for a while so she could see specialists at Johns Hopkins. I’m glad I was able to be there for her, even a little. She’s still fighting hard and still blogging her story, and being a hell of an inspiration.

In the spring, my husband and I explored California’s wine country on a fabulous anniversary trip, tasting wines, wandering San Francisco, and hugging huge coastal redwoods in Muir woods. What a wonderful trip that was! Traveling with my husband is so much fun and I wish we had more vacation time to use so we could see the rest of the world! In September, I brought him on a quick trip to my country’s capital city, Ottawa, to see the sights and visit my good friend Michelle in her new apartment there. Even the little trips are fun – Tim Hortons and a road trip with my little bro and his girlfriend made Ottawa that much more awesome.

We saw a concert, we hung out on a boat, we spent a lot of quality time with friends and ate a lot of good food.

Welcome, 2012. What are you bringing us?

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