I have tried multiple times to write a blog reflecting on 2009, but can't see to do it without turning into Whiney McWhiner. Guess I need a little help in that department. I found this list of questions taken from www.incourage.me and figured this was a better option for my end-of-the-year look back.
Reflection Questions for 2009
1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
The day we spent playing with spider monkeys in Roatan. That was awesome. Better than awesome. It was an absolutely perfect day in every way. See here.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
For me it would be deciding that there was no possible way I could continue novel writing and shoving How Home Improvement Saved My Marriage in a box in the attic (especially after being pretty much consumed with it for the past three years).
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Watching Sam and John grow closer to each other. They really are very close and highly attuned to each other--more than I ever would have imagined. A week ago, while I was drawing John a bath, he leaned against the side of the tub, and fell head first into a couple of inches of water. I was right there and he was fine, except for biting his lip on the way down (which bled A LOT). Sam ran into the room screaming, "What happened?" And when he saw the blood, he demanded, "WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BABY!?!" Nothing I could say would calm him down. He scrambled into the tub and grabbed a red bucket, which to his mind must've hurt his brother since the color rubbed off on him, examined it closely and flung it from the tub, all the while crying hysterically and screaming, "It hurt him! It hurt my baby! WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BABY?" I was a little stunned by the passion in his reaction but I'm pretty confident that even at three years old, he would throw himself in front of a bus for his brother. I never expected that.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
What wasn't an obstacle this year? I expected most of them since they carried over from the financial crisis of last year and the year before. An unexpected obstacle to my life was just reaching my breaking point, having coped as long as I could cope without self medicating myself with food. I went on a several-months long binge, gained a lot of weight, and spent the holidays in sweat pants, not fitting into any of my clothes and not feeling any better about my situation *and* having a bigger ass in the process.
5. Pick three words to describe 2009.
STAGNANT. WAITING. FRUSTRATING.
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
UNMOTIVATED. DETACHED. UNDISCIPLINED.
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009 (again, without asking).
FRUSTRATING. DRAINING. HARD.
8. What were the best books you read this year?
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, even though I can't quite describe what about it was so transformative. She and I have so little in common personally (my idea of hell would be to live anywhere in Italy, eating a lot of gluten-filled pasta, then spending any time at all in India doing yoga at an Ashram) and yet it clarified a lot of the finer points of my life for me and helped spur me out of my mental funk.
My brother-in-law sent us Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace, and while Tom and I were already doing a lot of the things he suggested, I gained a lot of insight on how to separate needs from wants. Or even think-you-needs from really-needs. There was one quote that I found especially trransformative: You may not always have what you want, but you always have what you need. This has always been true and I need to remember it more often.
Yesterday, I spent the entire day reading the first three books of the Twilight Saga straight through. I hate Stephanie Meyer with the kind of passion that only comes from one author (wannabee) seething with jealousy at another (an extremely successful and superior one). Oh my God. The world she created. And Edward. And Jacob. I'm in torment at the thought of experiencing love like that. And worse still, being able to write about it. I finally understand the obsession...
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
My most important relationship is always with Tom.
After that, it would be all my mom friends--the people who understand, even better than my husband, how hard it all is.
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
I feel like I shut down. I started the year with a lot of enthusiasm, was raring to go and take on the world. By spring it was gone and I've been in a funk ever since. This was not a good year for personal growth, but to be honest, it felt a lot of the time like life was pelting me with rotten tomatoes.
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
I learned some valuable life lessons this year--like 1) plan for the unexpected and don't make plans, 2)and while you're at it, keep your enthusiasm in check. You know how a dog learns not to do something when you smack her in the nose repeatedly with a rolled up newspaper? My year in a nutshell.
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I became more grounded into myself, and more quiet. I sought out alone time to recharge more, because my soul desperately needed it.
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I wouldn't say I grew per se, but I do tend to be a doormat around the people I love, being the irritatingly constant voice that says, "I don't know. What do you want to do?" in any and all situations, and this year I grew a backbone and starting making demands because I was not getting what I wanted or needed.
15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?
Time management. Keeping track of upcoming events on the big calendar on the refrigerator. Knowing where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing with certainty.
16. What was your most challenging area of home management?
Until the day I die, it's going to be staying organized and finding the energy to clean.
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Referring the boys' squabbles over toys and changing diapers.
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
I took back my quiet time, unapologetically. I have to build up energy reserves and steel myself for life's nose-whacking newspaper somehow.
19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
That what I thought I needed, I didn't really need. And what I thought I wanted, I didn't really want. That the only thing I truly want and need is change.
And I found this quote that was also meaningful to me and pretty much sums up my attitude about people this year:
"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it. Or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." ~ T.S, Eliot
20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2009 for you.
Sit down and shut up.