One of my girlfriends saw these questions on her Facebook, then posted them on her blog. I liked the questions and, surprisingly, they were difficult/inspired lots of thought to answer them so, here are my responses:
1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Returning to school. I have a number of “pieces of paper” from various post-secondary education institutions. I can honestly say that this is the first time where I actually felt “right” and that I “belonged” in this program, compared to being there because it’s the next step in my career development.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Again, returning to school. It’s forced me to read something other than Autism and special needs (although there was a unit about special needs…rocked that one!). Apparently I did ok…got 81% as a final grade for my first course in over 10 years! Yay me!
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
My daughter whizzing through swimming lessons so quickly! I was shocked at how proud I was about this! She’s a natural fish, just like her big sister. Related to this, my son overcame his fear of the water…so much so, that now I can’t keep him out of water, whether it’s a pool or a puddle. 😉 Completely unrelated, my son also let me cut his hair…without him trying to kill me! Woohoo!
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Losing one of my “babysitters” so I can attend school. She’s a girlfriend of mine who offered to watch my kids (“what’s two more kids when I already have four?!” LOL!) while I’m in class. Unfortunately, she seems to have disappeared and I’m quite worried about her. I have tried all methods of communication and because she lives in an apartment building where you need to get buzzed in, I can’t get in to find her. I hope she and her family are ok. Thankfully, my man stepped up and instead of being the “back up” because he is busy editing photos from weekend photoshoots on Monday nights, he ended up being my primary caregiver while I’m in school. ❤ you, for so many reasons!
5. Pick three words to describe this past year.
“Outside my comfort zone”. OK, I know that’s four words, but they are kind of all needed. Between camping, going out of the country for the first time since long before kids, owning cats, returning to school, driving a lot at night (I’m not very comfortable with it anymore. Not sure why, but I acknowledge that hesitation is there), etc…I’ve been forced into situations that were very new to me and therefore caused me a lot of stress (both productive and unproductive stress). It was a good challenge but also one that makes me appreciate my comfort zone even more. 😉
6. What were the best books you read this year?
Looking back, I don’t think I actually read my books…something I need to change in 2014. One of my friends actually has made a goal of increasing her number of books read and has challenged others to join her. Her goal is 40. Mine is 5 (excluding textbooks of course). LOL! My favourite book I read this year though was Carly’s Voice.
7. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
My kids, my man, my parents, and my BFF. Don’t come between me and these relationships…you will lose. Consider yourself warned.
8. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
Getting the confidence to return to school.
9. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
I lost two friends from high school to suicide this year, and I miss them terribly even though our primary form of communication was through Facebook. They and their family were very important to me in high school. The first shocked us all, and the second was just unbelieveable. I plan on visiting their graves as soon as I can. I also started some new relationships, which I look forward to growing and expanding.
10. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
My belief in karma, optimism and treating others as I wish to be treated remains intact, and continues to grow.
11. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
12. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I have stopped apologizing so much (I’m so “Canadian”, eh?). A former colleague told me over a decade ago that I apologize too much, and that every time I apologize without needing to, I increase my own stress levels. It’s always hung around in my brain and the past few years, I’ve really tried to be aware of when I apologize for things that aren’t my fault. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one to admit that I messed up, and I apologize when I need to. I think this has strengthened my personal relationships…I hope!
13. What was the most enjoyable part of your work?
Meeting other families with children with special needs in real life and online. Sharing stories. Helping them gain the confidence in their own decisions and what’s right for their family. Prioritizing next steps. Accessing services/funding. Also, writing this blog. I love writing and sharing our lives with each of you!
14. What was the most challenging part of your work?
Staying emotionally “detached” to a certain degree. My natural instinct is to want to “fix” whatever issue they are having, but you can either give a person a fish and he’ll eat for a day, or teach him to fish and he’ll eat forever. The most challenging part of writing this blog is sometimes not having enough “inspiration” to write from…or alternatively, too much! 😉
15. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Let’s be honest…Facebook, but it’s also my main source of a social life so really, is it a time waster when it’s also “Me Time”?
16. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Being “present” with my kids.
17. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
My own inner resilience. I have been through many ups and downs, which tested my emotional, personal, spiritual, and physical strengths.
18. Create a phrase or statement that describes this past year for you.
“Outside the box”…thankfully, my son has trained me well for this so we all made it through. 🙂
From my family to yours, Happy New Year!