It’s the end of the year, and everyone’s talking about the events of the past year and hopes for the next. I’m jumping on that bandwagon, because I’ve enjoyed reading updates from everyone else.
Last year started off terribly. I remember an email I sent to my running partner early in year, “I’m depressed, I need to run, but I can’t motivate myself. Please help.” Help, she did. She picked me up that week for a run, paid for me to join a running group, and offered hours of conversation and words of encouragement.
When March came around, and I walked away from starting a nonprofit, I felt both lost and free. I made the right decision, yet that, combined with a few other losses (dating takes work!), my spirit needed some serious healing.
My New Year’s Resolution of 2011, “To tell the truth”, brought me a new motto, “Where there is truth, the darkness loses its power”. This phrase changes everything about my life, from the decisions I make and the conversations I participate in, to the depth of my relationships and my ability to be courageous in difficult situations.
My Lenten fast taught me to give myself dignity and respect, which in turn allows me to offer those gifts to everyone I meet. A game changer, I believe. My trip to Maine reminded me that friendships can deepen even over distances, and beauty should be discovered and acknowledged.
The Wild Goose Festival was the highlight of my year. Those four days took me to the top of whatever mountain I had been climbing these last few years. I will never forget listening to Over the Rhine play at dusk and feeling the assurance that my past was gone, the future laid ahead, and I was sitting in the present looking at the most spectacular view. That weekend propelled me into rich friendships, colorful theological conversations, and the kind of peace that makes all fear disappear.
One week following Wild Goose Fest, I was in Pittsburgh hanging out with a bunch of Mennonites, and then traveling with a friend to stand next to my sister in her wedding. By the way, I highly recommend taking dates to weddings. I mustered up every ounce of courage I could find to ask Matt to go with me, and cannot emphasize strongly enough how glad I am that I asked. His gift of friendship has left me abundantly blessed.
The remainder of the year, I traveled a little, was a published author for the first time (I know!), and continued the practice of strength-training my courageous muscles. I began meeting with a Spiritual Director, warily joined a new church, renewed my vows as a Nebraska football fan, hung a fake window in my office, never skipped a Wednesday blog post, trained for a ½ marathon, and learned the art of a run-on sentence.
Taking the idea of an old friend, I dubbed 2011 “the year of the date”, and date I did. Within the first week of the year, I joined OkCupid, and allowed myself to go out on a slew of dates. After a little practice, I quit OkCupid but kept going on dates. I discovered that not only do many quality single men exist, but that I can trust my intuition, and reminded myself that I’m worth some effort. When a man told me I was the kind of woman he wanted to take out and show off to all of his friends, I decided that was the best dating advice I’d ever heard.
I can’t write a blogging year wrap-up without talking about blogging! I redesigned the blog in the Spring, which encouraged me to make a concentrated effort to write. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy writing! The hobby is one I want to practice and improve on, so I plan to keep this blog going strong. Maybe I’ll write an article or two or more. That could be fun.
To summarize, enjoy a list of the year’s top moments:
Top 11 moments of 2011 (in no particular order)
- Walking away from UJAM
- Mountain moment at Wild Goose Fest
- My sister’s wedding
- Meeting, traveling with, and talking non-stop to Holly on the way to Wild Goose Fest
- Road trip with Evan, one of the few men I know who can carry a conversation for 5 hours straight.
- A canceled ½ marathon race trip led to a spontaneous and perfect road trip weekend, complete with an incline railway, a missing cell phone, and an entire day of football games with my friend, Jon.
- Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in nearly a decade (I usually spend Christmas, but flopped the visits this year)
- Working with the Pittsburgh project
- People Loving Nashville Christmas Ball and publicly telling my friends how awesome they are. I try not to be redundant but when it comes to these folks, I can’t help it. I am overflowing with thankfulness for the people in my life. Amanda, Bethany, Brianna, Evan, Hannah, Shelly, Rich, Doug, Sarah, Ryan, Brian, Michael, Gina, Ashley, Laura, Matt, Matthew, Holly, Sally, Jennifer, Molly, Stacy, and Lauren. Much love to you.
- Vacation in Maine and reconnecting with Ashley
- Seeing my name in print for the first time
Happy New Year, my friends! You should know that you’re included in the list of people I’m thankful for. It’s true. I can’t lie, it’s still 2011.