Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Chilly Start to a New Year

Happy 2013, friends!

Ice Skating up Canoe Creek
So far, so good for 2013. The year started off with a brisk walk through a chilly night followed by a few days of rather cold weather - but I'm happy to report that I'm still quite pleased with Winter. I've come to find that one of the best things about this snowy wonderland is cross-country skiing - and luckily for me, the weather has allowed two weekends in a row full of it. I'm no expert by any means, but I'm getting better with every attempt (meaning - falling fewer times and looking at my feet less). I love the opportunity to enjoy nature during winter, to get a work out that is low impact and full body, and find relaxation and satisfaction when you can catch a good rhythm and so easily move forward (sort of like swimming). Plus, my build is perfect for the sport.

Double-lined mittens just recently finished for myself!
I spent the first day of the year relaxing with a book, knitting some, and developing some goals for the new year. I enjoy the opportunity of January to develop ideas I'd like to achieve moving forward, and take note of my progress over the last year. I don't generally think of these goals as resolutions because in many cases, there is no end to what I'm trying to achieve. Life moves forward, constantly full of change and growth, never stagnent in one place or idea. So how can I expect to one day wake up having accomplished perfection in everything?

Last year was a big year, with lots of change and growth. I moved to Iowa and successfully found a place for myself. I learned to enjoy life with a different kind of zeal, and came to feel comfortable with the cultural differences of the Upper Midwest. I made several new friendships that have great meaning to me, and landed in an incredibly supportive and inspiring social group. I went on many adventures, did many new things, and developed a burning desire to continue doing the same. I started the year having lost a considerable amount of weight, got glasses mid-summer, and one day noticed that I liked the way I look. Subsequently, I found myself in a fun short-lived romance and on the cusp of a few other dating opportunities, which is a change from my multi-year single streak. I began to fill my time with things I enjoy doing, like knitting and reading. I took an art class and enjoyed drawing - I even want to continue drawing and being creative. And I struggled a lot with loneliness, though I learned better ways to cope with the dark feelings, and started to understand the feelings to work around them better. A part of this was discovering towards the end of last year that I had never seen myself, and taken myself seriously, as a person. I disregarded my feelings as merely annoying, my desires as second to those of others, and with no dreams forward because, well, if you don't see yourself as a person, how do you develop dreams and a life to live? And while discovering this hasn't magically made life better, it's a substantial discovery to take note of because out of that I've started to dream big of future goals and aspirations. But that must wait for a new blog post. For now, this discovery helps move me forward - if I find myself a person, and worth caring for as such, then I do not need to find approval outside of myself and I can believe I'm worth many things, both big and small.

So what do I want to do with life going forward? Here are a few I feel comfortable sharing.

The easy, end goal ones:
1. Keep better track of my finances, stick to a budget, and reduce unnecessary expenditures  I have to save up to buy property and sheep (teaser! teaser!)
2. Waste less time on the computer
10. Go camping. Explore more of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Bike the River Root Trail. Run the Trout River Trail.

The long term, moving forward ones:
3. Be less critical and judgmental of others (the idea here is if I am less critical of others, even if in my own mind, I will be less critical of myself and probably not assume others are judging me as harshly as I judge myself)
4. Continue to explore my passions and purpose, and make sure I'm working towards these ideas to achieve fulfillment
5. Continue to build self-worth and value
6. Accept love around me, see the love in my community, and strengthen those relationships
7. Continue to be creative
8. Find a stable, spiritual base
9. Depend less on others for wholeness, learn to live life forward without seeking approval from others

I've got many struggles to face moving forward, and that idea gives a more daunting, darker look on a new year. But I've also got many adventures to go on and exciting things to do - such is life in the end, right? So let's hope that whatever becomes of the new year, I can fill it with the things and people I love. And as much cross-country skiing as possible.

Bailey on my blanket, New Years Day 2013