Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010: A Year in Review

2010 has been a really interesting year.  I think this is the first time in a long time that I can say the year as a whole was really good.  I learned a lot, grew up a lot, and changed in a lot of ways, mostly for the better (I hope).  I started the year in a relationship, basically unemployed, just dreaming my dreams instead of taking action, and I was fairly unhappy.  Now, I'm single, have a job I love and I'm living a few of my dreams and going after the others full steam ahead.  I'm not letting anyone or anything hold me back - not my own fears, not other people's negativity.

Part of the reason this year has been so great is due to the amazing people in my life.  I am truly blessed to have the most wonderful family in the world - my mum, Grama, Jamie, Amanda, Noah and Logan especially.

Most of the really great times I've had this year have involved these six fantastic people.  First, getting to be in the delivery room when Logan was born on February 4th.  That was one of the best moments of my life and I got to share it with two of my favorite people and it brought us all so much closer.  I feel a connection with Logan that is beyond description.  And of course Noah is another great source of pride and joy in my life.  I love these two little boys more than I ever imagined possible. 

Amanda and I have grown closer over the year, something I've wished for the past 10 years that she and Jamie have been together.  We've both grown and matured a lot over the last year, and a lot of that growing was done together.  We've realized that we have more in common than a few surface things, and our connection is strong and deep (so much in fact that we're constantly saying and doing the same things and it's to the point where we feel like we're reading each other's minds lol).  No matter how bad things are, we can always make each other laugh and have fun together. 
I have to add this in: without Amanda this year, and her unbelievable generosity, there were times when we would have been completely and utterly screwed...I don't really want to go into details, but I do want to say that Amanda has been a shining star this year and I couldn't love her more if she was my actual sister...which to me, she is.

Some of my favorite events this year, besides Logan's birth (in no particular order):

*My trip to Toronto with Noah, Suleena and Hailey to see the Harry Potter Exhibition at the Ontario Science Centre.  We've been places with the kids  before but this was our first big trip and our first overnight one.  It was so much fun, the kids had a great time together and the Exhibition was a Harry Potter fan's dream come true (I had the most fun of anyone at the Exhibition and could have spent the whole day there).

*My trip to Peterborough Zoo with Noah, Suleena and Hailey.  I swear Suleena and I had as much fun as the kids did - seeing the animals, going on a little nature hike, having a picnic lunch, playing in the park, getting ice cream on the way home, it was a great day for all of us.

*Getting to be a part of most of Logan's firsts.  Besides his birth, we got to experience all his first holidays - Easter, Canada Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas - plus his first trip to the orchard, his first Santa Clause parade, his first visit to Santa, and many others.  It was all so special and we were thrilled and honoured to be part of it all.

*Mother-daughter day in Niagara Falls at the end of June.  Mum and I went on a casino bus trip to the Falls, where we hadn't been in about 18 years.  We spent a few minutes in the casino, won a few bucks, then spent the rest of the time wandering the resort, window shopping, wandering around outside and taking pics, then looking at the Falls (in the pouring, blinding rain, getting soaked and laughing like lunatics about it).  Excellent day.

*My weight loss: In January, I got my act together for the first time in my life health-wise and everything became clear and sort of fell into place.  I started eating healthy, working out regularly, and I joined SparkPeople, a wonderful weight-loss site/community that was a huge help, inspiration and motivation.  I lost 35 pounds in a span of 3 or 4 months and felt better than I ever have.  But I sort of fell apart...I had been working too hard (working out 2-3 hours a day) and it just wasn't realistic so I kind of came crashing down from my weight-loss high and fell back into old habits.  Over the summer, I really didn't care, I was having too much fun to worry about what I was eating or about exercise (numerous heat waves didn't help).  Since then, I've sort of gone back and forth to where I've been my whole life, struggling with my weight.  I know now that in the new year, I really need to get my act back together and start back on the path of my journey to health.  I felt so much better when I was exercising regularly and eating healthy - I had more energy, felt happier, more confident, and just overall healthier.  I need to get back to that and reach my weight loss goals.

*Mum's birthday week: mum turned 70 this year, and to mark the occasion, we celebrated the entire week.  I made all her favorite dishes, gave her little presents, took her out, Suleena sent her flowers (the most beautiful bouquet, we were so touched at her thoughtfulness, she never ceases to amaze), and a family day with Jamie, Amanda and the boys.

*Trips to Kingston with Suleena and Amanda to visit Stefy.  Suleena and I went 2 or 3 times on our own and took Amanda with us the last time.  Our first big visit (other than just visiting Stef at work) was to meet Steve and have dinner with the two of them and wander around Kingston.  All our visits were a lot of fun but the last one where we spent the day wandering around Kingston and then playing by (and in) the water was one of my favorite days of the entire year.

*My trip to Wolfe Island with Amanda and Suleena.  The ferry ride, lunch at the Island Grill, wandering around, driving around, missing the ferry by one car, taking a million pictures and laughing ourselves silly.  It was a wonderful, memorable day.

*At least a dozen days during the summer.  We had more family days than I can count, between Canada Day, Noah and Amanda's birthdays, swim days, just because days, and the day that would have been my parents' wedding anniversary when Jamie, Amanda, the boys and I took mum to Corby Rose Garden where my mum and dad had their wedding pictures taken.

*Our day at the Orchard - Jamie, Amanda, the boys and I went to Campbell's Orchards for the afternoon, went on a hayride, picked apples and pumpkins, played at the park and took a bunch of pictures.  It was a perfect, beautiful fall day and it was so much fun and a day I'll never forget.

*All my days with Grama.  Over the last year or so, I hadn't been visiting Grama that much.  I sort of became a hermit to the point of it being unhealthy and didn't go out unless I absolutely had to.  That's a completely different story though.  But in the summer when mum and I had bus passes, we went to visit Grama regularly, and in August, there were times when we were there almost every day.  I remembered how much I love spending time with Grama, what kindred spirits we are and how much I can learn from her.  She is one of the kindest, smartest, classiest, funniest, most charming and wonderful people I know (things my mum inherited and why my mum is my best friend in the entire world).  Since the summer, we've continued to visit Grama at least once a week, if not more, and this year for the first time, I went to the birthday tea at her nursing home (they have a birthday tea each month for the residents whose birthdays are that month, and she turned 99 in November), and the annual Tea and Bazar.  She was thrilled that I was there and it made me so happy to make her happy.  She's always so interested in what I'm doing, especially my writing, and she's a huge supporter of my writing.  She's also a huge source of inspiration for me in everything that she does.

*My trip to Niagara Falls with Jamie and Amanda.  I was thrilled to get to go to Niagara Falls not once but twice this year, after not having been in 18 years.  Two weeks before Jamie's birthday, Amanda and I decided to take him to Niagara Falls and keep it a surprise.  Within a few hours, the whole trip was planned and somehow we managed to pull it all off without him knowing where we were going until we were on our way!  It was so much fun - the drive up, all our adventures, including Ripley's Believe It or Not, The Movieland Wax Museum, the arcade where we won a gazillion tickets that we exchanged for a bunch of great stuff, seeing the Festival of Lights, the Falls at night, wandering around, going on the SkyWheel, staying in a hotel that was literally minutes from all the action.  It was so much fun and it brought the three of us even closer.

*Grama's 99th birthday.  That weekend was a definite whirl-wind - Jamie, Amanda and I left Friday morning (the 26th) for Niagara Falls, got back late afternoon Saturday and then Grama's party was Sunday.  We didn't really know whether to have a party for Grama at all because she hadn't been doing great health-wise a month or so before her birthday, and we were having flashbacks of two years ago when she was sick on her birthday and we were sure she wouldn't make it, then she was sick for months afterward.  We went ahead though, and had a beautiful party for her ON her 99th birthday with about 50 family and friends coming to celebrate the life of this beautiful, wonderful, inspirational woman.  It was so much work and the expense of it was a bit of a not-so-great surprise (which was sort of out of our control as mum and I weren't the main planners of the event), but it was so worth it to see my Grama so happy and to see all those people who love her come to celebrate with her.  Noah and Logan were absolute angels (and I'm not biased, I mean that with all sincerity, they were the two best behaved kids I've ever seen a party in my entire life - I'm sure we've all been to parties where we've wished parents would put a leash or a muzzle on their screaming kids who are running around).  It was the perfect day and she's still talking about it and thanking us.

*My 27th birthday.  Mum, Jamie, Amanda and the boys had a party for me here with dinner, ice cream cake, presents and making gingerbread houses as entertainment.  Suleena came for cake and presents and we all had so much fun. 

*Christmas: A great Christmas - Logan's first.  We had Jamie, Amanda and the boys over for dinner, a really great visit and to open presents.  We're still eating yummy leftovers lol 
*My writing - the stories I had published, starting to write for online sites like Suite101, Squidoo and HubPages, meeting great new people through these sites and learning something new every single day.  I had put my writing on hold somewhat for various reasons and because of it, I had a creative block when I started again, but after getting back into it and remembering how passionate I am about it and how much I love it, I have more ideas than I know what to do with.

*This is going to sound silly and high school girl-ish, but it's a big thing to first crush in a few years.  I was in a relationship for a long time and I was in love,and I'm the type of person who, when I'm with someone, I don't even look at other people, let alone have crushes.  Anyone who knows me well, especially from high school, knows that I always had crushes (I'm kind of obsessive), so it's new for me again after all these years and it's exciting knowing that after a break-up I can move on, be happy and feel again.

So, those are the highlights of my year and the stars of 2010.  Mum, Grama, Jamie, Amanda, Noah, Logan and Suleena.  I didn't count my pictures from this year but I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say I took probably 5,000 pictures or more.  Every outting and event, I took anywhere between 100-400 pictures.  My love of photography has grown and it makes me want to get a professional camera so badly...hopefully in 2011!  Right, Manda? ;-)

People I also have to mention:
*Bertha, my cousin, who I reconnected with via Facebook and then email after a few years of not really communicating.  Family is so precious to me (in case you haven't guessed) and to be able to reconnect with a first cousin - my dad's brother's daughter - means so much to me.  I'm looking forward to talking to her more this year and with any luck, having a few visits as well.
*Jenn, who I reconnected with after 2 years of not seeing each other - I can't wait for our next sleepover date and to watch Kaleb's wicked-crazy dance moves. 
*Sarah, who I knew in high school but was never close to, but we connected this year over a common goal and got really close.  We go weeks without talking because life gets in the way but I know if I needed her, she'd be there.  I'm looking forward to our walks next year and making and reaching - or exceeding - our goals.
*Sheila, Vikki, Betty - new friends I met online through SparkPeople.  They were huge supports for me when I was in my prime of losing weight and I care very much about all of them and follow them closely on Facebook while I'm taking my little break from SparkPeople.  I hope that in the new year, I can get to know them all better and touch their lives the way they've touched mine.
*Susan - I've known Susan for about five years now, but I feel like I connected with her this year over an awful tragedy she suffered.  Even though we're thousands of miles apart, I feel so close to her and even though we don't talk all that often, I know she'll always be there for me and I hope she knows the same is true for me.  Susan, if you read, I want you to know that you and your family remain in my prayers all the time and I love you.

I'd also like to thank the people who let me know who my true friends are this year.  There was a time they would have been on this list, and it makes me sad that they're not this year.  They are the friends who I cared deeply for but who are so wrapped up in their own lives that they can't spare 5 minutes to send or answer an email, support my writing, answer comments or messages on Facebook, etc.  They'll always be in my heart, but it seems as if they've forgotten about me, and there was a time when I would have held on and fretted over them but not anymore.  2011 is for fresh, new beginnings and if people can't make time for me, then I can't and won't waste time or energy worrying about them.

Among all the things I learned this year, one big thing is that when you're unhappy, do something about it.  Don't sit around and bitch and moan and hope it'll get better and that things will fall into your lap, because it doesn't work that way and it doesn't solve anything.  It's natural to be depressed once in awhile, maybe even feel hopeless in certain situations, but you're the only one who can really pull yourself out of it.  (I mean this completely separate from clinical depression because that's a whole different kettle of fish and it's a chemical imbalance, which is of course totally different than just feeling sorry for yourself.)  Some people may be able to make you feel better for awhile, but only you can really help yourself.  Happiness is a state of mind and we can teach and train ourselves to be happy with some simple changes in our attitude and the way our minds work.  Sometimes there's nothing you can do about certain situations, but most of the time, there is something you can do and you just need to have the courage to do it.

I'm really excited about 2011.  I can feel good things coming.  I actually have things to look forward to, too, mainly the U2 concert in July, which I've been waiting for for over a year because of Bono's back injury and the postponement of the tour.  I've set some pretty big goals too - I'm going to work hard at my writing and have weekly and monthly goals, which include getting back to some fiction writing (short stories and working on the novel that's been rattling around in my head the past few months).  I've also set weight-loss goals - I want to get active again, remember why I enjoy exercise and start eating healthy again, and ultimately, I want to lose between 60 and 70 pounds this year.  I also want to continue to have a really close relationship with my family and work hard to make them as happy as they've made me.

So that was 2010 for me.  I hope 2011 is a wonderful year for all of us, full of happiness, success, good health, love and friendship.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome blog, Sweet Marie - really heartfelt and honest. May all your dreams and goals for 2011 come true.


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