I wanted to end the year with a gratitude exercise, so today I’m detailing 13 things that made 2013 a well-balanced year. Not all of these experiences were happy ones, but each one taught me an important lesson.
13. Our medical system may be highly imperfect, but to have access to ER physicians only five minutes away is not something I take for granted. The Monkey had a bad accident in the backyard, and he was seen by a physician, had x-rays, cleaned up, and full of seven stitches in less than two hours. Thankfully he has fully recovered and is off and running around like a maniac again. We are fortunate to be able to afford medical care for our family.
12. Becoming certified to teach Aqua Kriya Yoga was an unexpected blessing. I have loved bringing yoga to a new community of people. Who knew that something I’d never heard of before would be such an infusion of positive energy into my life? Be open to new things.
11. What a thrill it was to watch The Bear and his teammates move up a division in soccer. They didn’t win all of their games like they had the past two seasons– in fact, they won only about half of their games– but they sure did learn a lot about giving total effort, teamwork, and never giving up. Winning really isn’t everything.
10. The launch and continued success of Balance Virtual Bootcamp proved to me and many others that most people just need a little structure and accountability to be successful at sticking with an effective exercise program. Consistent, intentional effort yields results.
9. I’m grateful to the business coaching from Michelle Rodriguez of The Paid Stylist. She laid out a plan for me to grow my business, maximize my worktime efficiency, and enjoy the whole process. Do what you love.
8. In July, I got to visit a dear friend in New York. Despite her battle with metastatic breast cancer, we took a yoga class, shared some delicious meals, and bonded over Who The Shrek Are You? green toenail polish. These simple activities– and the smiles, laughs, and stories we shared while doing them– are my final memories of her. She passed away in November at age 36. Cancer is bullshit.
7. We spent much of the fall engaged in a building project, adding a new master bedroom and bathroom to our home. Just two nights ago, The Stowaway slept in her own room, in her own bed for the first time in her nearly three-year-old life. While it’s bittersweet to see the end of our co-sleeping relationship, it’s exciting to think of having a real parents-only retreat in our home. Babies don’t keep.
6. For the first time in 30 years, I picked up a bow and arrow and tried archery. Becoming a National Archery in Schools Program certified Basic Archery instructor allowed me to help coach 3rd-5th graders in archery during their PE class for several weeks in the Spring. I cannot tell you how cool it was to watch kids learn the process of this life-long activity. There’s something for everyone.
5. I spent much of my summer in the pool, working with kids (and a few adults) learning the valuable skill of swimming. Similar to my experiences teaching archery, to see kids go from scared to sure of what they can have their bodies do is really exciting. It’s also pretty awesome to receive emails that say, “I dived off the side of the pool and it was FUN!” Confidence in yourself is a key to success.
4. After the Boston Marathon bombings, I became motivated to give back to the Boston medical community. I joined the Boston Children’s Hospital’s Miles for Miracles team to run Falmouth Road Race in August. Representing such a life-changing organization in one of America’s premier road races– and meeting Frank Shorter along the way– was a thrill. In our diverse society, sports are a galvanizing force.
3. I reconnected with two girlfriends from high school this year. As a challenge to each other, we’ve each made a list of 40 things we want to do before we turn 40 next year. Some are boring (“organize my pantry”) and others are more of a stretch (“run the NYC Marathon”), but having friends hold me accountable in a supportive, encouraging way is motivating. Surround yourself with people who make you the best version of yourself.
2. My husband and I took our boys to Fenway Park for the first time this summer. If you’re not a Red Sox fan or don’t care about baseball, it’s hard to explain why this even makes the list. If you are, you already get it. And you’ll agree that making your first trip to Fenway in a season the Sox won the Series is a pretty cool deal. Passing down fandom to the next generation is part of our family’s identity.
1. Each and every day, I have the opportunity to wake up, do work that I love, play with my kids, and hang out with a great guy. The little things ARE the big things.