Blog The Happiness Project

Looking Back, Looking Forward

16 January, 2014

Looking back over 2013 isn’t easy. A lot happened, both good and bad. I got healthy (got caught up on all my doctors visits, learned more about healthy eating and exercise with Weight Watchers, and I even tried going gluten-free for a while). My brother and sister-in-law took me out for Ethiopian food and jazz on U St. early last year. I celebrated my new job with some great friends by going to Jaleo and having tapas and sangria. I learned a lot about wine going to my friends’ periodic wine tastings at their speakeasy. I watched one of my oldest friends get married. I went to the 20th Anniversary Tour of Great Big Sea and danced with a very pregnant, but cheerful friend. After about 5 years, I finally got my cherry blossom tattoo colored in. I worked really hard on the Desire Map. I got to see one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, do a reading and answer audience questions – and got him to sign two books! I tried hibachi for the first time ever with some good friends. I got to see my cousin marry his amazing wife, who seems like she has always belonged to our family. I ended a long-term relationship that was no longer making me happy. My friends made me an awesome birthday dinner and dessert, which we enjoyed outdoors with wine and rum. I went to a Star Wars Sing-A-Long. My mom came for a week-long visit during which we cleaned, organized, and decorated my little house. We also threw a party at the end of the week, featuring Italian food and dessert, including tirimisu and limoncello. My mom and I treated ourselves to a relaxation day and got spa treatments and watched The African Queen. I watched the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who Special with some friends. I cooked and baked for Thanksgiving and really enjoyed some quiet time with friends. I traveled to New Hampshire to attend my uncle’s wake and funeral. I went to a very reflective and hopeful evening service at my church and then followed it with a lovely, rowdy, fun night at the speakeasy to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the end of Prohibition. And I spent a week in Florida visiting my parents with my brother and sister-in-law for the holidays.

While not everything was good or easy, overall it was a pretty great year. I am grateful that I got to live out my words of Beauty, Health, and Gratitude. I even accomplished most of my goals associated with each word. In all, I’m pretty okay with 2013. There were lots of great moments. Lots of hard moments. But it got me where I am now, and for that, I am grateful.

Gratitude was at the forefront of my mind. I posted things to Happier nearly every day and most days more than once. I completed The Desire Map (and came up with my themes for 2014). I added to lists of Love A La Carte. I achieved my sense of accomplishment and left 2013 with much gratitude.

Beauty was a tougher one for me.  Although I did appreciate beauty all around me, I found it challenging to find the time to write about it. I took more photos, but not to the extent and quality I would have liked. I did upgrade my phone and thus my camera, which I am very happy with. I started weeding out all the beauty products I have and got rid of a lot of beauty products, clothes, and accessories that no longer served me. I didn’t quite get to the finish line, but I was satisfied with my efforts. In the next year, I am tweaking this concept a bit and instead of focusing on beauty or style, I am working on Grace. Grace to me is a state of being which embodies compassion, beauty, and style at once. It is going to be a challenge, but a good one. Wish me luck!

As for Health, I was extremely happy with the outcome of this one.  I got new glasses, found a dentist I like, and got all my doctors appointments taken care of. I experimented with gluten-free eating and running and finished a full year of Weight Watchers meetings. Although I failed at keeping up with gluten-free eating and running, I learned a lot from Weight Watchers and am implementing it as best I can. I also changed my medication, which seems to be giving me a little less of an appetite (before, I was always hungry and now, not as much). While I didn’t fulfill everything on my list, I think I did pretty well and I hope to do better in the future.

I am determined to make 2014 the year I truly fall in love with myself and the life I am leading. And, after working through the Desire Map for the past six months, I have five words for the next year: BOLD, Joy, Creativity, Radiance, and Grace. Each of these is a feeling I want to embody over the next year and, though the feelings are abstract, I do have some specific goals I would like to achieve that go along with these feelings. But I’ll get into that more in another post.

I am looking forward to opportunities this new year may bring me, those I am aware of and working for, and those yet unforeseen. I am hoping this year to be more in a state of flow, taking what comes naturally, saying YES to things I really want and NO to things I’d rather not do. Working on being open is hard, especially after ending a long-term relationship, but I also know that if I close myself off I will be missing out on so much in life. And life is too short to dwell on the bad things. So, here I am, looking forward. Hopeful.

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