"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Letting Go and Starting Over

"Letting go is an act of strength and courage.
It helps healing begin, frees you of the weight of the past,
and opens doors to a new future." 
~~Stephanie Tourles, Lift Me Up

My mother's voice is screaming in my subconscious, trying to strangle me into the belief that I failed miserably in 2011.  I did not complete my reading challenges.  I did not get 50K written during either Camp NaNoWriMo session, nor during November--in fact, I don't believe I got 50K written on my novel this year.  I did not make, much less post, a lot of cards--even my best friends did not receive handmade birthday greetings (some were lucky to get a quick e-mail acknowledging their big day).  I did not lose weight.  I did not pay off all my debt.  

Mother, I loved you, but your unrealistic expectations for me while you lived damn near drove me into insanity and helped encourage some really bad behaviors for years, so please allow me to kindly (but firmly) tell you to be quiet.  I'm grown and I make my own decisions (and accept the consequences of those decisions).

I hereby let go of the unfinished idealized list of accomplishments I had set for myself for 2011.  No more weighing myself down with regret or negative self-talk.  No more wallowing in what did not happen the way I wanted it to.

I did accomplish many things in 2011:
  • Attended on-site training at my job (which helped me stay actively employed all year)
  • Paid off one of five student loans
  • Kept my Stampin' Up! demonstrator status active (and increased my customer base)
  • Learned multiple new software programs
  • Set up a complete wireless network in my apartment to maximize the connectivity of my work equipment to the company network (allowing me to continue to work remotely)
  • Decreased my carbon footprint by decreasing my electrical usage in my home (even with record Texas summer heat)
  • Replaced my microwave after accidentally almost starting a fire in it one night while I was busily writing
  • Upgraded my laptop after managing to fry the hard drive in the old one
I also read for pleasure--primarily on my Kindle or my Kindle for Android app.  Between Paperback Swap and donations to my local public library, I succeeded in moving over 300 books out of my apartment.  On the other hand, I  brought in about 150 physical volumes because I still cannot seem to do historical research without actually highlighting passages and making margin notes LOL.

Speaking of historical research, I did a lot of it--and read quite a bit about the craft of writing and publishing (and about marketing yourself).  I didn't reach my goal of 100 complete books in this year, but I did manage to read portions of over 100--see, research to me doesn't always mean reading from beginning to end; some of the Civil War material I have accumulated may never be read cover-to-cover, but it is being read as necessary to help with accuracy for a specific scene.  The same with various texts on using software programs--most of these texts are getting used weekly and marked accordingly, yet only as the information is required.

Was I a success in 2011?  Why, yes--I may not be rich monetarily, or have a managerial position at my job.  I don't own a home or a car.  But none of these things define success for me.  I have friends.  I have a comfortable apartment and a lease until 2014.  I have a wonderful job with nice benefits.  I have my health.  I have a slowly increasing retirement savings account and a slowly decreasing debt load.  I have hope for both my future and the future of this great land (still the best place in the world to live). 

What else could a woman hope for?  My Blessings are many and my regrets for the past are very few.  With that attitude toward my future, my end of year message to my Mother's ghost is simply this--I am indeed a successful, happy human being full of delight in the present and ideas for the future. 

Here's to opening doors of wonder and delight for 2012!

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