The year of choices.

I like new beginnings. I like the start of a new week, a new season, a new school year. I like the possibilities of new. I like the option to start over. To look back at my failures and to figure out how I can do life a little differently. I enjoy knowing that I do not have to be the way that I have been and I do not have to do the things that I have done. I could wake up tomorrow and be a different person, if I so chose.

One of the blogs I read, Enjoy It, wrote up a post the other day about choosing a word for the year. A word to focus on, an idea which actually came from another blog, Ali Edwards. And I liked the idea. So I spent a couple of days thinking about what I would focus on for this year. I came up with a few possibilities, but nothing settled in. A few days later, I returned to Elise's blog and read that she had chosen the word "Choose". And I knew that that word was the word for me. Because apparently I am unoriginal. Which is okay with me.

In the past, I never made resolutions. I threw out a half-hearted wish that this year would be the best year ever and usually, because of my personality and my uncanny ability to keep positive by forgetting the negatives, it did become the best year ever.

2011 set itself apart from the pack of positive years gone by.

2011 was a difficult year. We received heartbreaking news that has changed how we will live our first 15 years of marriage. It has changed our goals, our hopes and our ideas of success. And much of it is out of our control.

It was a defining year for me and for Adrian and for our families. And I spent much of the year searching for ways to accept our reality. I began counseling for anxiety and refocused inwardly, electing to spend much of my free time alone in hopes of finding some peace.

Some of that alone time was wonderful. I wrote more this year than I ever have. I returned to photography and began learning Lightroom and Photoshop. I started baking. I found hobbies and talents that had laid dormant for years, pushed aside to make room for more and more social engagements.

However, not all alone time is good alone time. I wasted more time than ever on this often god-awful computer. I watched terrible television (thank you, Netflix!) for hours on end. Adrian sometimes came home from work and asked what I had done all day. And in the eight hours he had been gone, I had nothing to show.

I am not a productivity, efficiency driven person. I don't feel the need to plow through a twenty item to-do list to feel like I've done something. If I spend all eight hours on a blog post but it's the post of the decade, that's fine for me. I am quality over quantity. Unfortunately, much of the time I spent alone this year yielded neither quality nor quantity.

And I believe much of that is due to a lack of hope. To a belief that if nothing I did could change the outcome of the next fifteen years, then why do anything at all? A bit destructive, no? But I also hold a belief that everyone needs and ought to permit themselves the time necessary to come to terms with their circumstances, whatever those circumstances may be.

So I didn't push myself. And while 2011 is a year that I am not incredibly proud of, I think, perhaps, it was necessary. Slowly, I'm coming to accept my lot in life. I'm letting go of some expectations and making room for new ones. I never thought life would be what it has become, but does anyone ever predict the course of his/her life and actually follow it out to the end? If you do, please let me know how. I imagine at some point, we must all come to terms with our place in life and our disappointments of lives never lived, paths never followed, wishes never granted.

While 2011 may not have been one for the books, assuming the books record positives, it certainly brought about much growth. Although there are circumstances I cannot change, there are certainly attitudes and actions that I can. So 2012 will be a choice. Each morning I can choose to be a fantastic and motivating teacher or I can choose to be mediocre. I can be a loving and supportive wife or I can blame and nag. I can spend hours in that Pinterest blackhole admiring the work of others or I can get up and make something myself. I can choose to ignore those good intentions and live the guilt of not having done what I knew I should have done or I can follow those intentions and be proud of who I am becoming. And, on the other hand, if I choose to watch Gossip Girl on Netflix, I can do it without the guilt because I have consciously made that choice.

2012 will be a year of remembering that every moment I am choosing who I am. And no matter the circumstances, I always have a choice.

This will be a year of listening to my instincts because they are mostly good. Of developing my talents because I enjoy having hobbies. Of working harder to be the teacher, wife, daughter, sister, aunt that I always intended to be.

So here's to you, 2012. May I choose to be the woman I have always been inside.

(Sidenote: Does the above quote mean that if I choose to be a portrait photographer, I will be, despite my lack of ability? Gosh I hope so.)
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*picture via Pinterest. Click for link.

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