I've been contemplating the questions posed here, and after a lot of thought and review (literally re-viewing the year through the lens of it now being in the past) here's what I've come up with. After this, it's full-speed-ahead into 2014!
1. Describe your year in a single word, sentence and paragraph. Change - I underwent a Big Life Change this year that took me well out of my comfort zone (both physical and emotional). It was scary, hectic, stress-inducing, health-reducing and yet I managed to survive it all. Somehow. There are potentially more changes on the horizon and, well, I'm hoping that I've learned (and decluttered) enough to make them more manageable.
2. Look back at each month of the year. Write one
sentence to describe each month. Or, write a sentence that elucidates
the most important lesson learned each month.
January: Enjoying Seattle with friends, both librarian and non-librarian, and grateful for their support and affection.
February: Starting a gig in NYC, looking for balance between working at home, my online coursework and the commute.
March: Feeling honored that a few of my friends confided their difficulties to me, trusting that I'd be there with support or whatever they need.
April: Not quite the cruelest month, but starting to think about new chapters in life and moving forward.
May: Overwhelming sorrow at Bogie's fast decline in health - a mere 10 days between noticing the problem to his Final Vet Visit - but joy that I could spend his last few days with him, not leaving his side except for a few moments.
June: Starting to truly rethink what I'm doing in my life, preparing for a post-school librarian focus.
July: Continuing from June, feeling a lot of stress about the What's Next.
August: Offered a school position only a few days before August began, and started to work in a new school in a new state, plus looking for a new place to live (commute was not feasible long term)
September: A mixture of exhilaration (enjoying the new job), stress (moving) and fear (can I do this???)
October: The stress of moving behind me, the stress of getting my home ready for rental still ongoing.
November: Relief: the home is rented (although there is an odd sense of loss, despite not loving the house!) and spending time with friends in Boston and Montreal start the holiday season off well.
December: Even more relief, this time in the form of Winter Break and the opportunity to regroup.
3. What were the highlights of your year? The low-lights? The highlights were the new job, my friends, and travel to Seattle, Chicago, Boston and Montreal; the lowlights were the loss of Bogie and my uncle's burial.
4. Read through your journals, highlight the juicy
bits and compile a mega list of lessons learned. Then whittle your list
to your top 3 life lessons from 2013. I don't keep a journal but... Lesson One: I'm blessed and incredibly rich in friends; Lesson Two: I need to trust that things will get done, just not always when I want them to; Lesson Three: home is where the important people are, whether or not you live with them.
5. Who/what were the significant people, events, and places during the past 12 months? I've covered some of those above, and I don't want to name names (although many are the same as those listed here) for fear of leaving someone out.
6. What would you like to forget about this year? Do you have any regrets? Anything you would like to have done differently? Obviously, taking more time with the Big Life Change (from 0 to 60 in no time at all) would have been nice. And Bogie.
7. What was the emotional tone of 2013? What were the dominating emotional patterns? Don’t forget the good ones! Overall, stress - sometimes overwhelming, sometimes just an undercurrent. And fear - fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear that I've wasted many years. But they were also balanced by feeling enveloped in love and affection from my friends.
8. Capture your year as a color, a taste, a feeling, a visual or a smell. I'm going to go with a food - oatmeal with raisins. In other words, much "same old" with moments of real sweetness.
9. Look through your photos and chose the ones that
best represent the year. Write an evocative headline for each. Create a
photo collage that represents the essence of your year. Since I don't take many photos, that's not going to happen...
10. What did you accomplish? What challenged you? Despite everything, I've gotten quite a bit done (not just reading 325 books, but also continuing to declutter and live more simply, watching a lot of movies via Netflix, working on presentations, articles, books, etc.) - the challenge has been to manage my time, especially when my routine got completely upended.
11. List your most important insights about your body, emotions, mind, spirit, work, finances, and/or relationships. And, any thing else important to you. The adage "less is more" is so very true - as is the phrase "half as long, twice as nice". When I remember that, things go so much easier for me and everyone.
12. What lessons, insights, perspectives, and new behaviors would you like to carry forward into the new year? Trusting that others are there has been something that I've never really done, but this year it was proven again and again that they are: there are people at work who are willing to help, Thing One has been stellar, my friends have given me a cushion to fall on, and so many more examples. Like a F/friend and her son who came over to help me pack, bringing take out dinner so I didn't have to worry about food. Totally unexpected, and I would never have asked but she offered - because we're F/friends.
13. Is there anyone to forgive, including yourself? Yes, but part of that forgiveness is not dwelling on it or talking about what happened.
14. Did you choose a single word as your guiding star this year? If so, how did it go with your word? Did you remember it? Did you bring it alive? I had three words, and while I was able to work on them somewhat, I allowed events to overtake me. This year, I hope to be better about using those words to guide my life.