2016 was an interesting year for our family and for our country. A year of big decisions, big moves and big emotions. I’m ending it, looking out at the Hudson river after living in NY for two months, thankful for the many lessons life has handed me this year.
Inspired by Danielle LaPorte, I’m reflecting back on what has worked and what hasn’t worked in this year of change. We spent the first half of 2016 planning and scheming, while the second half of the year was about implementing and executing the adventure.
What didn’t work this year...
The Visa Approval Process.
Well, it’s not that it didn’t work but my knowledge around what it would entail was lacking. I thought getting a job in another country was going to be the hardest part of our move. Turns out the devil is in the paperwork. And the waiting.
The last few days before we left.
When you’re getting rid of all your stuff and on a deadline, there comes a point when things get fuzzy. You start pushing things into boxes and ambiguously labelling said boxes. A feeling of desperation where you just want the final bits and pieces sorted and gone. For us, that meant storing things with our family without cataloging what was going where. In retrospect, we needed a better inventory of the remaining stuff we do have.
My intentions to share my writing.
I submitted more pieces this year than I did in 2015 but there was a lot that I wrote that I didn’t publish anywhere or share with anyone.
My fitness and healthy eating regimen.
After running the marathon in February for my 40th birthday and completing 4 half-marathons in 2015, I was burnt out on training. So I went to Crossfit a few times a week and began doing more yoga. Then the move happened and my activity levels went way down. I was walking a lot in Dublin but routine went out the window and I only got a couple of runs in a week. Nothing disciplined or regular for the three months we were traveling, in addition to the stress & adjustment of a new place. I’ve gained 10lbs since moving in with my mother-in-law two months ago and while I’m not putting all the blame on massive bagel consumption, I’m definitely looking forward to having my own kitchen again in 2017 and getting back into training.
What did work this year...
Our plan for moving out of the country.
We did it. I saved the money, we made the trek to Ireland and I got a job. On top of that, we found a place to live in a progressive beachside community. We made it happen. Not without some bumps, but we made good on our word to start a new chapter.
My reading and writing.
With lots of time on my hands, I read tons of books and worked on my writing more this year than any other. I didn’t share what I was writing, but I did lots of it. From taking a Second City satire writing course to signing up for Sarah Selecky’s daily prompts and getting back into completing 750 words a day, I’ve spent the entire year investing in my craft. Journalling has also been helpful in dealing with the loneliness of leaving my friends and the emotions brought up by the election.
My second marathon.
Whew. Ran it. With my best friend. For my 40th birthday. Injury-free. It wasn’t pretty but it’s done.
My meditation practice.
It’s been consistent and I’ve made a lot of progress since starting with a meditation coach in April. I’ve been sitting with my breath, looking into my third eye and asking hard questions of the universe. It hasn’t been easy, but I credit meditation for helping me stay present and remain sane throughout the big changes this year.
Traveling and moving to a new country has brought us closer. We’re stronger, more resilient now. Whether we're protesting down 5th Avenue, riding bikes around town or camping in the desert, my favorite adventures are with my husband and son.
It’s a part of the moving process I already mentioned but it bears repeating as it was such a big accomplishment. We went from a 3-bedroom house where we had lived for 4 years, accumulating toys, books & gear to leaving the country with 2 bags each. Getting rid of almost all our stuff helped to free me energetically, lighten the load physically and enabled me to make decisions easier.
I'm ready for anything. Bring it 2017.