The year of the honeybadger.

I was having drinks with a couple of friends of mine last Thursday night — friends who have known me for seventeen years, friends I practically grew up with — and I was reminded that my New Year’s resolution for this past year was to live without goals. Of course, life didn’t really turn out that way — I kept making goals throughout the year in spite of myself. Then, this morning, I was flipping through old notebooks, and found where I had said I was throwing away my old resolution of not having any goals, and instead replacing them with six focus areas I wanted to spend time on. I figured now was as good a time as any to look at those focus areas and see how I did, as well as look ahead to 2013 and see what I wanted to focus on next.

EAT. I think I did learn to eat better over the course of 2012. I stopped drinking sodas completely, I started eating more vegetables and healthy snacks and less processed foods in general. I’ve cut down my overall sugar intake considerably, even though I still suffer from the sugar addiction and waves of binge eating. I became a member of the local co-op store, and have definitely tried to eat more wholesome food overall. I even bought some stuff from the Farmer’s Market this year. Baby steps in the right direction.

SLEEP. I’ve actually started sleeping a lot more, now. I average six hours a sleep a night, easily. I get myself to bed relatively early most nights, and getting sleep has improved my overall mood and health this year. It is rare for me to get sleepy behind the wheel any more or to fall asleep at my desk at work. I have a lot more energy and overall better performance. I think I’ve learned to not feel guilty about sleeping.

MOVE. I have been moving more, though still not as much as I’d like to. I discovered Zumba this year, and my work started providing free fitness classes, so I’ve tried to get to those classes whenever I can, and I’ve also got back into the habit of walking and running. I’ve tried different sorts of exercises this year, even things that terrified me — like white-water rafting and rock-climbing. I just need to make moving more of a habit going forward.

HEAL. I made a lot of progress in this area, even without focusing on it too much or trying very hard. I took a mindfulness meditation course in the spring which did wonders for helping me to focus on what was directly in front of me each day and to live in the moment. I was able to reduce the level of stress in my life a great deal. I started having conversations with my father via Facebook, which has, bizarrely, been a very healing situation for me. I’ve also been healing with my daughter through her newfound therapy sessions and the activities I help her engage in after the sessions are complete. I think I’m beginning to feel truly worthwhile for the first time. There have been some really dark places along the route, and I know I have a long way to go yet, but I feel like I’ve made tremendous progress this year.

CREATE. This is the area that really exploded this year. Whether it was taking a photo a day in March, or writing a novel in November, or filling notebook after notebook with Morning Pages, I have been extremely creative this year, making creativity a habit, letting myself get truly inspired, and making a commitment of time and energy to that part of my personality. I’m really proud of the progress I made in this area, and I’m looking forward to continuing with the momentum next year.

PLAY. There was a lot of fun playtime in 2012. From awesome cabin weekends to RV road trips out West to day trips to Dollywood with the family to parties and nights out and dancing and laughter, I feel like I spent a lot of my time playing throughout the year. I think there’s always room for improvement, and I’d like to think up more creative ways to play in the future. Still, I tried a lot of new things, saw a lot of new sites, and spent time with amazing and wonderful people.

While we were out West, exploring canyons and murals and ruins and highways, I realized I was doing a lot of things that absolutely terrified me, and decided that 2012 was going to be the year of the honeybadger. I stood at the lip of the largest canyon of the world and looked down, I climbed rocks despite my fear of falling, I pushed through my panic attacks while white-water rafting, I gave blood despite my fear of passing out. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I realized that I’m not a wimp or a scaredy-cat — yes, I’m terrified of a LOT of different things, but I also do a lot of things that absolutely terrify me. It’s easy to go through life doing daring things if you’re not afraid of them — it takes real guts to do them anyway despite the fact you’re completely and utterly terrified. I’m proud that I was able to honeybadger up to doing so many of these things this year.

So, what about 2013? I’m tentatively calling it the Year of the Magpie, though that may change. There’s a lot of nesting and preparation that needs to happen, a lot of stability and solidity that I need to focus on. At the same time, I don’t want to lose my newfound creative freedom and these wings that make my heart soar. So, here are some of the overarching goals I have in mind for 2013:

1) Running a half-marathon (again)
2) Trying for a baby (starting in the summer)
3) Continuing my commitment to a balanced life

And here is how I plan to do it:

1) Baby steps – weekly goals & rewards; daily commitments to small things
2) Defending my boundaries – making sure I’m not overwhelmed by the needs of others or the demands of work
3) Making healthy choices – this in all things: eating, exercising, financially, etc. I deserve to be good to myself

We’ll see how it turns out. Most importantly, when I was hanging out with my friends and discussing plans for the future, I wrote down that one of my goals for 2013 was to “Eat Dessert First.” I think that’s absolutely true. Planning and moderation are extremely important, but it’s just as important to play and have fun and break the rules sometimes. And as much as I plan to moderate and be responsible, I have to build in some irresponsible time, too. Sometimes you just have to play.

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