*Coca Cola. 'Tis a southern sacrilege to say this, but my life would be just as good without it. And my enamel would thank me.
*Fear of Judgement. Oh, the amount of time I spend wondering what people are thinking. "Wait. Why is he looking at my shirt? What does it mean that she is squinting her eyes at me right now? Did that car just cut me off because they think I'm not driving fast enough? Why did she say that?!" So much wasted thought.
*One overpriced luxury apartment. We are moving. Again. Yay! At least we stayed here for two years. That's pretty close to a record for me. This will be the fifteenth move in 11 years. Something about that spells good luck, doesn't it?
*All my yearbooks. This is what scanners were made for!
*Blank canvases. There are entirely too many of these around my apartment. Getting rid of them will be a pleasure! My paints and brushes are just waiting for me.
*What Ifs. These pop up far too often in my conversations with myself. "What if I'd stayed on campus instead of taking that year off? What if I'd hit the snooze button one less time last Tuesday morning? What if I'd said no?" It doesn't matter. I am here now. I want to be in this moment and grateful for it.
*Wait/Weight. I have too much of both. I let both of these things hold me back from my goals and my adventures. I am not setting numerical goals, but I am going to put down excuses and lace up my walking shoes. I am going to forget the times that I was told I did not have an athletic bone in my body and I am going to celebrate the bones that I do have. No delays or self doubt, just action.
Getting rid of these things will free my life of more physical, spiritual, and mental clutter. Looking at the list that I wrote this time last year, there are many similarities. A year later, I am still heading in the same direction, still striving to leave many of the same things behind. I am glad to be here walking this path.
What do I wish that I had done more of in 2011?
Deep breathing. Settling into yoga poses. Kneading dough instead of just selling bread. Playing with children, with adults, with words, with paints. Taking risks. I’ve been reactive and safe. I’ve been distant and removed while grinding myself into a boring and work focused being. Instead of looking at the words tattooed on my wrist ("Live Now") and feeling taunted by them- I wish that I had used them as the reminder that I intended when I had them placed there.
This weekend my great uncle James was buried in Fayette, Alabama. The man who taught me to love college football and introduced me to the wonders of fried okra is now gone. He lived 96 full years. I last saw him the day of his 90th birthday party. I remember him breaking into song to entertain the huge group that had gathered to celebrate him. I am thankful that I was there that day. I love that I can close my eyes now and see him standing in the church rec room, spontaneously performing for us all. There are not words to describe how much I regret not being there for him in the years between then and now. The years when the pain in his knees increased, his ability to grow his once magical garden faded, and his body allowed him less independence and mobility. My heart breaks that my strong and beautiful aunt has lost her partner and that I’ve not made space or time to be there for her.
I didn’t go to his funeral. I worked a 10 hour day instead. I was afraid to go. Having not been around my family much, I worried that showing up would hurt some of my family members. I feared judgment for my absence and my distance. I realize now that the harshest judge of me and my choices is in my head.
What do I wish that I had done more of in 2011?
More living. Less hiding. Less grinding away at work that I don’t care about. More letting the people I love know how much I love and appreciate them.
In the most unexpected places,
During moments of chaos or crisis,
The gift of laughter has found me.
Appearing during late nights of work,
Long rides on traffic clogged roads,
and moments of doubt or despair
Belly shaking laughs have helped me recenter.
Sparked by children's words, sitcom scripts, my own mistakes, animal antics, surprising typos, tilted traffic signs, and countless other gifts from
I am grateful for every chuckle, snort, giggle and guffaw that this year brought my way.
Peering over people's shoulders in coffee shops. I love to sneak a glimpse into the lives of the people around me.
Cheese. Were it not for the deliciously addictive nature of this magical substance I could easily walk away from dairy.
Driving. Sometimes I reach my destination and just keep my foot pressed down on the gas pedal. Music blasting, tires turning... Bliss.
Watching sports on TV. I simply cannot get enough. Football, baseball, racing, bowling, tennis, golf... Sometimes if I haven't gotten my fill, I even watch poker (I still don't understand why ESPN calls this a sport). My heart wants to play along, my body insists that I use my passion to cheer.