Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year! Or, my new year of happy. :)

This post is, in part, inspired by my friend Kmbris' Facebook question to everybody -- "What do you 'let go of and allow to transform' and what defined your year"

The sun will set tonight on the final day of 2010. And I'm so glad it's going to be done. I can't help thinking about everything that happened in this whirlwind year and how much I've grown. Every year brings growth, but this year seemed to bring more than most.

Flashback exactly one year. I was in a relationship I didn't know was dying, just a couple short months away from hitting the lowest point in my life. I was miserable, stuck in a grad school program I knew wasn't for me, waiting until I could actually pull the trigger and transfer to a teaching program. I was easily fifteen pounds heavier. I felt helpless and out of control, and desperately wanted to regain my sense of direction. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom in order to dig yourself out and try again. I hit rock bottom this year. And I learned that, like the strawberry plant I thought I'd killed a couple summers ago, I'm pretty resilient. It took a bad breakup I didn't see coming and a long period of healing, but I'm ending 2010 on a triumphant note.

Literally, I went from rock bottom to climbing mountains. I switched careers, and am on track to become a middle school teacher. I threw myself into outdoor activities, and became a hike leader for the Mountaineers. I made some amazing friends, and strengthened some existing friendships. I got Felix Hernandez' autograph at Spring Training. I learned that I can do anything -- I just have to put my mind to it. I crossed the Olympics on a 5-day backpacking trip. I summitted all 6988 of Buckhorn Peak. I swam with sea turtles and sting rays in Maui. I also learned (through a different breakup) that breakups don't necessarily have to be horrible, awful affairs filled with crying, pints of ice cream, and hurt feelings. Just because a romantic relationship ends doesn't mean the friendship has to end too. Sometimes, two people can just look at each other and say "maybe we'll make better friends," and it works.

I'm ending 2010 happy and healthy, surrounded by my wonderful friends and family. I get outdoors every chance I get. And while I know that 2011 is going to bring its ups and downs, I'm declaring it my new year of happy. For me, it's really going to be a Happy New Year -- emphasis on the happy part. So, with that, here are my new year's resolutions -- the things I'm going to try to do to stay happy.

1. Keep the butt (otherwise known as stay in shape). All of my outdoor adventures in 2010 brought me a great surprise -- a butt! While I have been blessed with hips and height, I've never had much of a butt. According to my dear, departed, great-aunt Ruth, whose hand slipped one Thanksgiving while she was giving me a goodbye hug, "you don't have much of a butt there, do you kiddo?" I'm not as blessed as JLo -- I have one of those body types where I actually have to work to get one. Now I have one. And I'd like to keep it. This means I need to stay in shape in 2011.

2. Read one fun book a month. I love to read novels and narrative non-fiction, but all the reading I do in graduate school makes reading for fun seem like a chore. I never read novels anymore, and I'd like to. So, I'll read one fun book a month -- on the bus, before sleep, while on planes, etc.

3. Continue to have adventures. My friend Hillary said I had an "Anna-appropriate adventure" with a birthday snowshoe last Monday. I already have a few adventures in the works with my scrambling class, a planned trip to Europe, and an ambitious summer backpacking trip where we will cross the Olympics the long way (south to north). I want to have a few more.

4. Summit something awesome/interesting/challenging. Like a volcano. My eventual goal is to summit Mt. Rainier, but I don't think that's going to happen in 2011. This year, I aim for something a bit more accessible like Mt. Adams or Mt. St. Helens. We'll see which one my climber friends drag me up.

5. Remember that grad school isn't the end-all, be-all of my existence. I will take time for me. I will not feel guilty for going snowshoeing on a gorgeous blue-sky day instead of doing my homework. I will not feel guilty for taking time to hang out with friends. I will not be a hermit -- I won't allow myself to be one.

So, that's it. 2011, you will be my new year of happy. And that's all there is to it.

Love to all of you on this Happy New Year!

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