Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Goodbye 2011!  You were fun while you lasted but it's time for me to move on to 2012.  I would say "It's not you.  It's me." but it is actually you.  You have no more days left.  But we had some good times for sure.

WARNING:  This is a fairly boring recap of my year.  It's not particularly funny or inspiring so keep your expectations in check.  I wrote this more for me, as a memento of what has been arguably the best year of my life.

I started out on shaky ground, what with the whole being laid off from my job.  As of January 1st, 2011, I was unemployed.  On the one hand, this was a bummer because, well, I can't pay my bills with hugs and jokes.  I've tried but evidently, cash is king.  So the loss of income was a problem.  Thank you unemployment benefits!  You put food on my table and for that, my tummy will always be grateful.  On the other hand, I hated my job.  I was bored with it and wasn't challenged in a good way.  I loved my ArtSpace tenants but did not love the day-to-day tasks of the job.  I didn't love feeling like my work was undervalued.  And I definitely did not like feeling as though I had to constantly walk on eggshells around the office.  So while I definitely should have been upset about the layoff, I was mostly happy and felt like I was being set free to a world where I didn't have to compile sales reports, pull door clings off windows or answer the same questions a bajillion times a day (What are they going to do with this mall?  What happened to this mall?  Is this mall closing?).  I felt like I was being given the opportunity to make a career change and that's what I intended to do.

However, making a career change takes time.  The simple task of finding a job is not so simple.  So I spent time every day looking and applying.  After about a week of staying at home and having no real reason to change out of pajamas, I started to go a little stir crazy.  I mean, I like pajamas and all (I'm wearing them now in fact), but I was worried that I was going to become permanently molded to the couch.  So one day, January 7th, 2011 to be exact, I decided that if I was not going to be going to work every day, I was going to do something else that was productive.  I laced up an old pair of tennis shoes that I had had for approximately 7 years, popped in a workout DVD and got my sweat on with Bob Harper.  (Side note, Bob Harper is hands-down one of the most attractive men on this planet so if you are the kind of person that likes  a little eye candy with your exercise, I would recommend his DVDs.)  The first workout was hard, as was the second, third and fourth.  After a few weeks, it became a routine to work out first thing in the morning before beginning the job search.

After about a month of using workout DVDs at home, I started getting bored but had lost about 18 pounds so I wanted to keep working out.  Club Fitness, here I come!  This was the 4th time I had joined a gym and I was determined for this to be the first time that I wasn't just throwing money down the drain every month.  The dude enrolling me asked if I was going to be in 3-4 times per week.  I said no.  I was shooting for 5-6 times per week.  I also signed up for my free session with a personal trainer (which I totally almost cancelled) and that turned out to be one of the best things I could have done.  Chad got me to step up my game and for that, grateful doesn't even begin to cover how I feel.

Back on the job front, in April, I got a PRN job at a hospital in the Behavioral Health department, which became full-time after about a month.  At this time, I was still thinking that I wanted to go back to school and get a Master's in either Counseling or Social Work, so this job was a dream come true, at first.  Not only was I gainfully employed, but I was totally making the career change happen.  Woohoo!

But by June or so, I was so hooked on health and fitness that I was starting to change my mind about my new career direction.  So I applied to SLU's Nutrition and Dietetics program and to my shock and amazement, totally got accepted.  Woohoo again!  I ended up deferring enrollment though as timing just wasn't right.  As of right now, I'm not sure I'm going to go that route.  As I've mentioned on a previous post, I'd like to get certification to become a Personal Trainer, so that's going to be my first step.

I realize this recap has probably been fairly boring for you to read so thank you for indulging me.  It's just that this year has gone by so fast and has been so life-changing for me, that it feels good to write down the basics of what happened and how it happened.  I almost can't believe that these things really happened to me and this is really my life.

The Quick and Dirty version:

  • I lost over 100 pounds in less than a year.  That is a whole person.  I lost a person!
  • I ran a 5k.  Yeah, that's right.  And not only did a run a 5k, but I ran PAST other people running the 5k.  
  • I started this blog, bringing laughter and smiles into your living room or office or wherever you are reading this.
  • I started a new job in a completely new field.  While the job is no longer my dream job, I will say that I have some of the best coworkers a girl could ask for and that makes all the difference in the world.
  • I became a Raw Foodist.  This lasted 1.5 days.
  • It was a rocky year, car-wise.  Sonny the Sunfire passed away.  I started driving a Dodge Dakota truck.  Then I got a Honda Civic.  We weren't together long enough for me to give him a name but I was leaning towards something like Fonzie.  Then he died... a couple times.  So then I drove the Dodge Dakota again.  And now, as of a couple days ago, I drive a gorgeous, sleek Mazda3. Zoom Zoom is right!
  • I got back in touch with some old friends and made a bunch of new friends.  This makes me happy.
  • I ditched my gallbladder.  It was totally holding me and my other organs back.
  • I found new favorite foods that I thought I hated including peanut butter, raisins, brussels sprouts and tofu.  In fact, I ate 3 of those 4 things today.  This may not seem noteworthy but for someone who loves food like I do, it totally ranks as a highlight.  I love expanding my culinary horizons.
  • I changed my life.

Here's the biggest lesson that I learned this year:  Life is what you make of it and perspective is everything.  There are always going to be things that you can't control.  I couldn't have saved my old job.  Being laid off was not something I could help.  But I preferred to look at the bright side of things and instead of freaking out, I tried to enjoy the fact that I was being given an opportunity to make the career change that I wanted to make.  And if I hadn't been laid off, I wouldn't have put in that workout video.  I didn't choose to have that much free time, but I DID choose what to do with it.  I used it to make my life better.  I used it to make my life longer and healthier and happier.  In making that choice, I changed the course of my life.  I grew into the person that I was meant to be and that I am proud to be.  I spend 95% of my time being happy.  That's a damn good percentage if I say so myself.

I started the year with no clue as to what was next for me.  I ended this year with direction and purpose and look forward to making 2012 just as beautiful.  Thus ends Part 1 of my New Year's posting.  Part 2 consists of 2012 goals.  Look for that in the next day or so.  Until then, Happy New Year to all of you.  I hope that you all have as great a year as I intend to.

Peas and Love and Happy New Year!

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