“My grief is tremendous, but my love is bigger. So is yours.”
—Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things
Every year, I conduct an annual review. I write about what went well in the past year and what I’d like to see happen in the year ahead. I also pick a word that will become my theme in the new year. As I reflected on 2012, I reviewed a lot of categories in my life, including relationships, health, finances, and my business life too. Below are a few highlights I wanted to share with you.
The Theme & Highlights from 2012
My word for 2012 was experiment because I wanted to experiment with new projects and be open to big life changes too; all of which happened. On the business side of things, I renewed my commitment to photography, started teaching online classes, and I launched my first print book. All of which made me really happy and were part of the year’s theme.
On the other hand, my personal life was filled with tremendous loss. Illness, death, alcoholism, job losses, and violence touched members of my family. The more I write about 2012, the more I’m stuck by how much loss my family experienced.
For me the year was defined by my dad’s illness, helping take care of him, and his subsequent death in June. In between all of that, I’ve tried to honor my grief, be open to happiness, and get my work done. For example, when I received the copyedits for my book I was terrified that I would not be able to finish the edits. Thanks to Logan, my amazing husband, and good friends I turned the manuscript in on time. They didn’t do my work for me, but they were there for me when I thought everything was going to fall apart.
I’m so grateful for their continued love and support because grief is a funny thing. It’s the little things that make me think of my dad, like hearing oldies on the radio, the way the clouds move across the sky, and holiday parades. I know his spirt is everywhere and that brings me comfort, even when I’m sad.
The hard moments over the past year have made me stronger and a little more courageous. I’m determined to follow my dreams and focus on the most important things in life, like relationships, doing work I love, and taking care of my health. I’d encourage all of you to do the same because life is uncertain and we’ll never know how our lives will unfold. Life is too short to spend chasing after status and stuff. It’s not what truly matters. At least not for me. I have just enough; enough money to pay my bills, time to be with family, and a wonderful husband. Life isn’t always easy, but I believe that hope emerges from struggle. Surprisingly, dealing with the difficult stuff can bring more joy and happiness into our lives.
What’s happening in 2013?
My word/theme for 2013 is comfort. Comfort defined is:
1: to give strength and hope to : cheer 2: to ease the grief or trouble of : console
After a year filled with so much loss, I believe my work and personal projects will give me comfort as I move through my everyday life. I’m planning a lot of exciting work projects for 2013, which include working on a new print book idea and teaching more ecourses too. On the personal side of things, I’m going to focus on my health, relationships, and filling my weekends with fun mini-adventures.
Your Annual Review
If you want to do a annual review, but aren’t sure how to get started read the following suggestions I offered last year:
- As you get ready to start you own annual review, think about the things in your life that are important to you. Begin by brainstorming different life categories like travel, work, relationships, money management, and more. As you review the categories, decide on a theme for the upcoming year. I think of my themes as an overarching goal that will touch all areas of my life.
- After you have brainstormed all your life categories, start writing your thoughts down. Just write and don’t worry about grammar or how your sentences sound. Most of the time, the first draft is a shitty draft. So don’t be hard on yourself. The important thing is to get your thoughts on a piece of paper or in a private text edit program.
- As you think about each category, consider the good, bad, and surprising things that have happened to you in the past year. Ask yourself what went well and what didn’t go so good.
- Talk about your review with friends and family members. Ask them if you missed anything on your list. Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own head and forget about important events.
- If you’re a blogger, share your review with the world. And if you don’t blog, share the results with good friends and family members.
RowdyKittens wouldn’t exist without awesome readers like you. Thank you for buying my books, enrolling in my ecourses, purchasing photos and reading the blog. I couldn’t do this work without your support. I appreciate it!
A Question . . .
What’s your theme/word for 2013?