Oh, hey there, 2012!

7 Jan

{Image found via a Facebook share – please let me know if you know the source!}

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions but I do try to spend some time reflecting and making goals for the upcoming year. As 2011 came to an end, however, I found myself feeling even more reflective than normal. The thing is, I’m not an overly sentimental person. Single days don’t often hold much meaning to me. But, for some reason, it felt really good to close the door on 2011 and have a fresh start with the new year.

Interestingly, 2011 wasn’t that bad of a year. There were a few overwhelming stressors that don’t get talked about on the blog because this is my happy place. But it also wasn’t the worst of recent years. In fact, to go along with the bad, there was also quite a lot of good this year. Time spent with family and friends near and far, new friends made (even those I’ve never met in person), weddings, babies, new adventures with Pete, healthier eating habits as I strive to nurture our bodies and my soul, a new camera, the confidence to take on photography clients and even shoot my first wedding.

We have a good life. A good life indeed. And I am grateful.

But I still don’t feel very good. I’m exhausted. I’m stressed. I am always SO. FREEZING. COLD. (Though my new Eddie Bauer down coat – kind of like this one but down to my knees – is maybe the best purchase I’ve ever made in my life.)  I’m pretty sure I’ve trained my body to be in a constant state of fight or flight. And, in case you’ve never been to Chicago, let me assure you my daily life is pretty safe. So, needless to say, it would be helpful to my nervous system if I could give it a break.

Now, the people who know me in real life would probably say these are not the things you see on a regular basis. I hide it well. But the pieces are getting harder to hold in as the cracks are getting bigger. I’ve been saying it for several years now (check out my 2010 and 2011 goals) but I really really need to learn balance and find peace.

And I am trying. Oh, am I trying. I started getting acupuncture a few months ago to try to calm my system. I stopped drinking coffee and am limiting alcohol and dairy. We switched to all organic food to hopefully increase the nutrients my body will take in (considering I don’t exercise and sometimes accidentally lose weight, I’m worried I don’t generally get enough nutrients even when I am eating. Sometimes when I’m really stressed I stop eating which is another issue all together.) So my body is getting more attention than it has in a long time.

I also took “Winter Break” for the first time in I can’t remember how long. And I spent it doing as close to nothing but taking care of myself as possible. It was a bit strange and confusing and sometimes made me feel anxious that I was supposed to be doing something else. But the point was, I wasn’t. And I’ve discovered a few books and blogs (like The Conscious Perspective) to help me work on calming my mind and soul.

It sounds like kind a lot all at once. Almost overwhelming. But, actually, it feels good. It just doesn’t leave much of me to share with everyone/everything else right now. From seeing friends to blogging to focusing on those clients and possibly growing this photography business. I want and need to do those things too. But I’m probably going to have to keep putting myself first for a while as I get this all figured out.

The good news is, I’m feeling at least a bit more re-charged, I’m ready for 2012. My friend Kristy shared the image at the top of this post on Facebook last week and it sums up my high-level goals for 2012 pretty well. I would, however, have to make the following tweaks:

  • Change “Drink Good Coffee” (now that it’s out of my daily habits I may as well keep it that way) to “Be Mindful”
  • Change “Write More Books” (writing blog posts takes me long enough, I can’t imagine trying to write a book) to “Share Even More” (I forgot it was on the top, but as this is a big one for me this year, it seems fitting to put it on there again)
  • Change “Grow My Blog” (I still don’t often tell people about it, see “Share Even More” above) to “Start a Photography Blog”
  • Change “Workout until it shows” (this isn’t about how I look, it’s how I want to feel) to “Workout until you have more energy”
  • and, under “Learn New Stuff” I would cross off what’s there (I tried to make macaroons once, actually, and totally failed) and change it to “Photoshop, my food processor, and spontaneity)
  • I’ve also been instructed to “Have More Fun” so we should go ahead and add that one on there too.

Putting them out there like that, they sound more like resolutions than usual. But perhaps that’s not a bad thing. Let’s see what we can do around here. One day at a time.

{P.S. Sorry for such a long post today. I just have a lot on my mind. Clearly. I promise to get back to projects and happy things though. There’s quite a lot cookin’ over here lately. Now to just get a chance to photograph, edit, and blog them!}

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6 Responses to “Oh, hey there, 2012!”

  1. Lauren January 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    yay for resolutions and introspection!!

    • pleasantandhome January 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

      Exactly! :)

  2. Keeping it Real In Chicago January 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    I’m proud of you Jackie! You’ve come along way this past year and even though you don’t know it, I’ve been noticing you change (and for the better) all year round. Keep up the good work and take good care of yourself! Your post is motivating to me knowing that I want to feel good about myself too and to keep my energy and nutrition levels up for a healthier me and family. Good luck to you in 2012! :)

    • pleasantandhome January 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

      Interesting… And thanks! :)

  3. Charise January 10, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    In grad school, we had to pick one word to write a life mission statement off of, and balance was mine. It is pretty much a never-ending process, trying to find balance, but I think over the last few years I have gotten so much better at it. I like to think of it in terms of overall, long-term balance. At any given time, something may be taking up more of my time/energy (say, grad school before I finished up, house projects, occasionally an extra focus on lots of working out, travel). But once that starts to wind down, I figure out what I haven’t been spending enough energy on (blog, friends, sitting around reading), and make sure to put some time into those. It helps me not stress so much when I’m in the middle of something consuming lots of energy, because I know I intentionally chose to be busy with those things and {mostly} enjoy them and that I’ll make time for other things soon. It works in the reverse too – too much time just “relaxing”? Time for a new project!
    It looks like you have made pretty big steps toward living intentionally, what with the changing the food you eat and spending your free time doing things you really enjoy (like the photography), which I think goes a long way toward achieving balance.
    I hope you end this year feeling much better and less anxious and exhausted!

    • pleasantandhome January 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

      Love the reminder about overall long-term balance. So true!

      And yes, there have definitely been some big steps taken in the past few years. I feel things getting closer but there are still a few big ones to go. I think it’s one of those – I’m not always enjoying the journey but will one day appreciate the wisdom it brings – kind of things. Some days I’m just more frustrated by the journey than others. Ha! :)

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