So I always see the 30x30 lists and wish I would have done something along those lines if I had seen them years ago. In theory, I always like something to be moving toward....although the last several years have also shown me the need to "go with the flow" more and to just recognize that sometimes life sort of takes it's own major twists and turns. There's no controlling life....but there's much enjoyment to be had along the way if we're capable of just rolling with it.
Ironically, as I reflect back on year 30....I don't feel like it went as well as I had originally hoped, but it also surprised me in many, many ways and made me more aware of my own ability and strength than I ever would have imagined possible. You know how people can spend a lifetime describing you one way...but you just never believe it? I still don't know that I would describe myself as a "strong" individual (especially when I am the one who knows where all the insecurities and major moments of weakness/darkness exist and surface in my mind), but if there's one thing that running specifically showed me during the last year, it's that I'm much stronger and capable than I ever would have thought possible. In fact, if there's one thing alone (beyond the two dogs) that saved me during the last year and that I'm most proud of (as shallow as it sounds), it would be the shape that I got myself in, the way my body looks and feels, and the fact that I officially feel like I can call myself a "runner" and a fitness lover. When you can control nothing else in life, at least you can generally control the amount of miles you get in or the amount of times you sweat it out in nature....and those things seriously made all the difference over the course of the last year.
So what did the last year bring?
Well three major blows:
---The chaos of the separation and the finality of a divorce that I didn't really want
---The diagnosis that while it's incredibly slow growing (and being monitored) my father does again have cancer
---The loss of Tall D's coworker who was KIA
A few smaller blows:
---Not being able to secure additional employment
---Having to remain still (aka no affordable jobs elsewhere and not being able to afford the acceptance to grad school in Denver)
---Accumulating more financial debt once my savings depleted
---Having to owe in taxes (although minimal) for the first time ever
---Having to submit to needing helping from my parents
---Struggling emotionally off and on throughout the duration of the last year
---And while very minimal, recognizing that Anna is aging and can't push like she used to
But there have been some really awesome MOMENTS and accomplishments in the midst of the blows as well:
---Seeing my girls on my trip to Savannah & taking the day trip to Charleston
---Having Katie fly out to visit last September (when I most needed it) & showing her around Oregon
---Learning how to kayak & snowshoe
---Going white water rafting
---Buying beautiful dishes that never cease to make me smile every time I use them
---Backpacking trips this summer
---Meeting some awesome people via my various housemates
---Running the Starlight 5k with Tall D & Ernesto & the 10k with Sheila
---Achieving half-marathon mileage with the dogs & all the many miles throughout the year
---Showing Cait around Portland & her trip to our hometown in early spring
---The fun week having Christina back in Portland: biking, kayaking, & celebrating
---Spring break road trip to San Francisco with Matt & many hikes/runs together
---Settling the house/patios/yard into something comfortable & representative of me
---Increasing food preservation & cooking skills
---Dinners or drinks spent with friends just letting me be
I accomplished much on my list for this year:
Kayak lessons and trip (Aug '12 & July '13)
Half-marathon distance (Dec '12)
Finalize marriage/divorce (Oct '12)
Girls backpack trip (Sept '12)
Buy dishes (July '12)
Visit out-of-state friends (Aug '12; Mar '13)
Donate $ (Aug-Dec '12) although financially this hurt me in the end....
Seagull tattoo (July '12)
Although I didn't get to everything...like Argentina, surf lessons, paying down my debts, or volunteering in Africa (although I had a contact....I got nervous about spending the money without having a job lined up after). I also have yet to find a new job or a new direction in which to launch myself to allow for financial independence.
Recognizing that 30 and my list was over, I then thought about trying to make a list of 35 goals before I reach 35, but you know what...being that it's only four years away (and that I've spent the year struggling to find a job and pay my bills) I don't know that what I started to list was really realistic. And when I tried to extend that list to 40 before 40, well that list and some of the items on it made me a little freaked out. (That list also made me realize that there might be some work I need to do regarding very separate types of futures that I desire...and that while there are some things I like the sound of in theory I don't know that I REALLY want to go thru the steps to complete those items....like getting a doctoral degree and running a marathon...) There are also a lot of things that I can list that sound fun, but I definitely won't feel I'm letting myself down if I don't complete them. So while I'm still making a list, a lot of it is in theory and are ideas rather than things that I have to complete.
Although there are definitely things that I DO want to do:
Return travel to see family & friends & the remaining parts of Argentina
Volunteer trip to somewhere in Africa
Find a new job/direction & gain financial independence
Continue outdoor pursuits & try new ones
Make a positive impact on others
Continue to travel & explore new parts of the US & world
And there seem to be some major themes I'm noticing about what made me happy this last year and what I've tentatively listed under the tab thus far:
Being active outdoors
Sweating it out
Trying new things & learning new skills
Doing little easy things for others & being appreciated
Spending sometime alone
Enjoying moments with friends "just being"
Teaching others new skills or showing them new things
And these are things I'd like to continue to embrace...as I continue to evolve and figure things out.
So for now you might find a new tab that lists items that I think I'd really like to do at some point in my lifetime (whether they get accomplished or not...well edits might happen). But like all things, it's nice to just list ideas and things on the blog...and maybe ruminate in writing :)
Are there things that you really, really would like to make sure to do in life?