(This post is a part of Gwen Bell's The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. Thanks for the great inspiration idea, Amy!)
My biggest challenge of 2009, huh? God that's like asking Jon Gosselin to pick his douchey-est moment of the year or his favorite Ed Hardy Shirt, there are just so many to choose from! Many things this year were a challenge for a me, but luckily I'm a competitive sumbitch! I don't really mind a challenge, I'm not really a Poor-Me-Let-Me-Make-A-List-Of-My-Struggles kind of person (though I'm not judging, because you know I do love a good list!) but when I reflect back on 2009, I sort of get the feeling that I have been slogging through a few feet of snow. I mean, a few feet of snow in like Whistler, BC or some place equally as beautiful, but snow nonetheless. Mostly because this year was full change you see, and change is a challenge, yo.
(Btw, that may be the title of my new rap song, friends. Album to be released in 2010 -- oh you just wait for it!)
Anyway, I think I can sum up my challenges in 4 main categories:
Well if you have been around these parts for long, you know that my roommate of 6 years moved back down south last October, prompting me to move into my first place all by myself (woo, I'm a big kid now!) but come January (yes 3 months later) it was pretty clear that I was going to need to find another place to call home. (Not due to any drama or anything, but something that probably isn't worth getting into the details of on this here blog.) So after re-organizing my whole life, scaling back, and moving into and decorating a new place, it was time to do it all over again at the beginning of 2009. And people, lest you have forgotten, I AM NOT IN COLLEGE ANYMORE! Moving annually just ain't for me. So quarterly? Well now you are just talking crazy, because I'm really too old for that! Luckily this move landed me smack dab into a fabulous 3 bedroom house in Carmichael with my very cute boyfriend (score!) which, in the end, was probably the best thing I did this year all at the same time. So yeah, we took the official co-habitation plunge. And while I won't say that it has been challenging (actually the living together part has been incredibly seamless) the logistics part was a friggin hassle, and I don't think we really got our house/budget/routines (because we are routine-nerds) in order until well into summer. So that -- yes -- was a challenge! The good news though, as we cozy up to December, I have never felt more at home.
LIVING MORE CONSCIOUSLY:
One of the things Garrett and I decided to do this year was put a little bit more effort into living more simply. I know that's such a generic thing to say, but it has manifested itself in the way we view spending time and spending money. We purged a lot of un-needed crap in the move, we nailed down our budgets as we combined resources, but our real focus was to try and consciously create a life that really looked how we wanted: less stress, less junk, more time, more security, and more fun. And as easy as those things sound, it has really been quite an on-going challenge and I don't really anticipate any relief from that. The biggest mental adjustment on my end has been ensuring that I am constantly having that conversation with myself of: Is this aligning with my values? You value security,Holly, so why are you spending money on something frivolous? You value time, so why are you planning a trip where you have scheduled out every free minute? You value less stress, so why are you squeezing in an extra project or placing an extra responsibility on yourself with no action plan yet conceived? Can this wait?
I mean that is A LOT of self chatter compounded with the hamster wheel that already runs in my brain at every waking moment. Every once in a while I wanted to say "Listen, self...mellow out. It's just one little purchase/trip/project. Let it go." But all in all, living more consciously has been a rude awakening and a great relief all at once -- and although it's tough at times, I'm looking forward to fine tuning that in 2010.
I don't talk about work too much here for obvious reasons (you'd be bored if I did anyway, I promise), but I can tell you that my challenges in this arena came in the form of long term planning. This year I looked at the things I am doing now, and wondered if those are things I want to be doing forever. The career-existential crisis, right? I have had a really interesting career path over the last 10 years that certainly hasn't been one-note, and in my current job I have had a bazillion opportunities to learn and grow. But I also have a lot of potential inside me that I'm not even exercising right now. I want to have a career where all of my talents are transferable -- even if that means Hey! because you watch so much reality tv you should always be the person picked to attend corporate-y blowhard meetings because you obviously have a higher tolerance for listening to bullshit and finding it comedic rather than depressing. Well okay, maybe not exactly like that but what I'm saying is I'm realizing that I'm open to something a little more bit offbeat. Figuring out how to balance all those possibilities with reality though has been my challenge this year. Planning exactly what my next steps are going to be proves to be the challenge of 2010. This amounts to a huge portion of my life, so I want to be inspired by my career always. Maybe that sounds a little optimistic, but I'm pretty sure I can make it happen as long as I am true myself, plan accordingly, and don't worry too much about what other people think is "right for me."
HEALTH AND FITNESS:
This year I really set out to take a holistic approach to my health. I've long left behind the idea of hating myself, or beating myself up comparatively about my body or putting unrealistic expectations on my appearance for vanity's sake (Reason # 357 why your 30s are awesome!) and instead I have really spent the last few years approaching my health with the following principles in mind: I am the only one responsible for treating myself kindly, I have cultivated a great life full of wonderful people, so what can I do for myself to ensure that I get to enjoy it for as long as possible? And in my mind this involves a number of different things -- diet, exercise, quality of food, stress-management, education, time spent in nature, scheduled re-boots, and of course continually finding and doing what brings me joy. And I have made great progress in many of these areas this year. But sometimes when you take a holistic approach to health it is harder to measure progress. I mean it is certainly more validating to see a number on a scale decrease, you know? So keeping perspective about that has been a challenge for sure. Although I know that the scale is not the only way to define progress, I certainly hope to fine tune this aspect of my life as well in 2010...and maybe do something fitness-y that I am afraid of this year.
So there it is! I think that just about sums up the challenges of this year. I know they are not front page news for everyone, but they have kept my brain, my feet, and my will to improve quite busy this year! 3 steps forward and 2 steps back keeps things interesting, right? I look forward to the new challenges that 2010 brings because even though 2009 has been a slog at times, it has brought me right up to this very point. And frankly, every once in a while I remind myself that I'm just grateful to still be here!