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Hellllllooooooooooo, everyone!

I must say, the last week and a half of nothing but family, friends, food, food, food, and fun has been amazing.

We hung out with Eric’s family, ate a pound and a half of eggnog cookies, drank like fish, shopped post-holiday sales, saw good friends from out of state, and cuddled with Ella while watching movie after movie.

We introduced American Horror Story to Eric’s brother (you know, it’s the next Christmas classic), and I spent two exceptionally uneventful days with my family in Tulsa – which is saying a lot because my family is CA-RA-ZY.  I love them, but it’s true.  😉

I’ve watched five Thunder games since Christmas day and am officially over my lockout-induced depression.  It doesn’t hurt that we are 5-0!   WooToTheHoo!  We played Nerf wars and read books with Cooper and Claire, said goodbye to a sweet old cat (not ours!) and celebrated Matt and Suzanne’s nuptials with their Oklahomies who couldn’t make it to the California wedding.

We had a killer New Year’s Eve night and woke up not with hangovers but raging head colds.  Our holiday has been rejuvenating, messy, loving, and much too short.  Tomorrow, we go back to work, but today I plan to read, nurse my cold, watch movies, work on projects, and blog.  It’s good to be back!

Despite starting off with a knock-you-over cold, 2012 feels like it’s going to be a big year.  I can’t say exactly why, but I feel like life has taken on a sort of momentum.  I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions – haven’t done that in several years – not because I don’t believe in them, but because I am always resolving, always searching, always molding and reshaping myself and my life. I used to think there was something wrong with me, that I couldn’t be satisfied, I couldn’t just be still and let things be.  And there is something to be said for accepting things as they are.  In fact, one of my constant goals is to let go and be in the moment, to stop losing myself in the future at the risk of missing the now.  Yet, I have also come to accept that this is who I am.  I refuse to settle.  I refuse to give up.

So, I constantly have a list of improvements – to exercise more, to organize more efficiently, to make art for the apartment, to make more time for my friends, to learn to knit, to cook more, to not be such a homebody, to drink more water, to revive my French, to be more spontaneous, to save money for a house, to start investing, to blog more, to read more, to research an out-of-state move, to volunteer more of my time, to plan the next steps for my career, to dream big.  My constant motion drives Eric crazy, although – to his credit – he is always supportive of my projects and goals.

So that is why I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, because my lists are already long and my desire for transformation is year round.  I did, however, buy a new notebook to contain my kinetic list-making.

However, I have been inspired by many of the New Year’s posts written by some bloggers who do participate in the annual tradition.  At the end of this post, I’ll link to some of my favorites, but before I do, I want to share a quote that Ashley from Under the Sycamore posted.

“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: to rise above the little things.” – John Burroughs

I didn’t write about it – mostly because I wasn’t sure how – but a friend of mine died three weeks ago.  Pulmonary embolism.  She was vibrant and generous and just 33 years old.  She died a month after I’d heard of a woman in her early 40s who died suddenly of a brain aneurysm and just a week before I heard about a 21 year old boy whose heart stopped without warning as he worked on the family farm.

Life is so fragile and so short.

That phrase has played in my head a thousand times the last few weeks.  I could have 60 more years or 60 more days.  So how do I want to spend my time?  I want to spend it striving to become a more true and loving version of myself – and not sweating the small things.  I have a tendency to zero in on the details, to fret over things beyond my control, and to create expectations that detract from the joy that could be had.  I suppose if I were to make a resolution, not for the new year but for as many years as I am given, it would be this: to live without fear, remain mindful of what is important, exist fully in the moment, embrace imperfection, and breathe in the beauty and wonder that surrounds.

And, although I don’t officially make resolutions any more, I do have a New Year’s tradition – to reflect on all the things I am grateful for from the previous year.  I started last year after twelve months of intense highs and lows – a very, very ill father juxtaposed against a dream trip and getting my masters made it a roller coaster year for the books.  2011 was quite a bit less eventful, which can be a good thing sometimes.  In any case, here is my 2011 Gratitude List (in random order):

  • Survived (and thrived in) a full year at my first “real” job
  • Learned to play basketball with Eric
  • Made some new friends and started a book club
  • Fell in love with running, then let it go for the sake of my health
  • Developed a true and lasting healthier lifestyle that values real food and regular exercise (for the sake of health, not just beauty)
  • Became a vegetarian
  • Went on an amazing trip to California and shared great bonding time with Eric and his family
  • Spent quality time with loved ones and learned to accept changes that have altered the individuals and fabric of my family
  • Challenged myself professionally in ways that would have scared the hell out of me a few years ago
  • Began transforming our apartment from a college pad to “adult” home
  • Cheered my Thunder to Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals
  • Started this blog!

2011, you were pretty cool.  Nice to meet you, 2012!

A few New Year’s Posts from bloggers I love:

* Life quote image from Pinterest