Yesterday I posted about my plans for the coming year and my attempt to choose a word to represent 2011. After sleeping on it one more night, I’ve made my decision. I’ve really wrestled with coming up with just the right word to evoke my dreams and aspirations for 2011. I started by thinking over the past year and trying to sum it up. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I think 2010 could easily be summed up with “friendship”. But there were other words that came to mind, as well. Music, for one. Not only did we have two long trips to New Orleans which are always music-filled, but this past year also afforded us many opportunities to listen to a couple of local musicians. And of course, the year started off with a fantastic New Year’s Eve concert featuring The Flaming Lips which we attended with our kids. Oh, and I can’t forget Voodoo Fest!
When I look back over the past year most of it is filled with good times and happy memories but I must admit it wasn’t all peaches and cream. Another word I might use for the past year or so would be “authenticity”. 2010 has been a year of soul-searching and self-discovery and even a little naval gazing. I’ve learned, and am continuing to learn, that I simply have to be true to myself, my faith and my values even in the face of disapproval. Sadly, there are those who simply cannot accept change or diversity of thought or opinion in others without thinking ill of them. It pains me at times, especially when it spills over into relationships with others but it is what it is and there’s not much I can do about it. I hate to admit that I am not able to *fix* this — and believe me, I’ve tried — but perhaps this is where part of the Serenity Prayer is applicable:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
The quest for authenticity and the drive to live my beliefs in a big way will be a life-long pursuit but I do feel as though I’m starting to get a handle on these things. Honestly, when I look at my life as a whole, I’m pretty happy about most of it. I have an amazing husband and children. In fact, one of the upsides to the struggles we’ve faced this past year or so has been that our family has never been closer. That feeling of “us against the world” has drawn us even closer together and added a tough layer of cohesiveness to our relationships. In addition, we’ve met so many wonderful people who actually *get* who we are and love us, either for it or in spite of it.
So that brings me to what I want to work on in the coming year. While most of my life is progressing happily, there are two main areas in which I desire change. One is my health. A few months ago I had to admit that my blood pressure wasn’t just “occasionally elevated” as I had tried to convince myself and my doctor for the past few years. I know that increased exercise and decreased weight will make a difference in this so that is something I am going to devote myself to this year. I’d love to be thin, of course, but rather than setting a certain weight as my goal, I’m going to consider myself successful if by the end of the year my blood pressure is back in normal range without medication.
Secondly, I have decided that this will be the year in which I approach my writing seriously enough to feel justified calling myself a writer. For one thing, that means dragging out my long-neglected novel, dusting it off and completing a rough draft this year. I’d also like to have something published, whether it’s a magazine article or a guest post on a well-known blog or something along those lines. It’s time to face my fears and find out if I truly have what it takes to be a writer.
Is anyone still reading? If so, I’ll bet you are wondering if I’m ever going to tell you what my word for 2011 is. Drum roll, please…