I was watching the children in my neighborhood head off to the school bus, for the first day of school. I was a little nostalgic, remembering how great it was to have such a definitive starting over point every year. It was great to get new clothes, new pencils and paper, new teachers and start off the year completely fresh. As an adult, we don’t get that completely fresh start every year. However, as my birthday also falls at this time of year, I do take stock of my life and see where I’m at…a Birthday Check In.
This year has been a truly unique year. Much like the kids going off to school, I got a completely fresh start in January. I was able to close the books on my corporate job, and start fresh. Unlike the kids, I didn’t get a supply list and told which room to report to.
Birthday Check In: This Time Last Year
At this time last year, I was almost a year into, what was supposed to be a six month extension of my corporate job. I was working from home in SD, but traveled back to CO frequently. I had absolutely no idea when, or if, the project I was working on was going to be finished. After spending a month of the fall, away from home, I did get enough of the pieces put together that I was able to finish at the end of the year.
For the last nine months, I’ve been blogging. While it hasn’t yet paid off financially, it has been very educational. I’ve learned new writing, computer and social media skills. Blogging has forced me to update my skill set a little bit, and join the 21st century.
Heading into my birthday last year, I did several weeks of an elimination diet, and lost 20 pounds. I managed to keep the weight off through the stress of living away from home for a month, through the holidays, several road trips and vacations. Yeah, Go Me! I have struggled with weight most of my adult life, so this is a huge win. As someone who has lost significant weight several times, only to put it back on, my goal this year was to learn to manage my weight.
I’ve been able to manage my weight by eliminating certain foods that just really don’t agree with my body, and by changing my overall eating habits. We’ve been following a low carb style diet. Since we’ve been gluten free for years, and have already dabbled in a paleo lifestyle, this wasn’t a huge stretch. I also won’t consume chemicals in my food, such as sugar substitutes. So, I’ve been learning how to cook and bake the foods I love in a much healthier way.
At last year’s Birthday Check In, I was completely stressed. I had absolutely no idea where my life was going, and was really stuck on the fact that I didn’t know how, or when, to prepare for my career future. In January, I just wanted a break. I needed some time to breathe and slow down. We had a couple of trips planned, and I made the decision to hit the pause button. Starting this blog gave me something productive to do with my time, as well as a creative outlet. Learning to publicly express myself was a huge hurdle.
It has taken me the better part of the year to clear out doubts and limitations I had placed on myself. Which isn’t a long time, considering they had been planted and nourished for a whole lifetime. As I approach my birthday this year, it is with feelings of faith, empowerment and a sense of calm.
Life is not meant to be lived solely on the physical and mental planes. I’ve discovered two major things about myself this year. #1 is that I need to spend time in nature on a very regular basis. I need that communion, and I can really tell when I’ve skipped my weekly hike. #2 is that I have a need to work with my hands. I just feel better when I’ve spent time on a physical project, especially if it has a creative focus to it. While still a work in progress, I’m learning to set aside more time to just be creative and do things for fun. This is a huge transition from only allowing myself occasional creative expression, and thinking the focus needs to be on work and practical matters.
In addition, I recently started a Meditation Group. I had no idea that the sharing myself in this way would be so impactful. This one action has made my soul sing. It is one of the main reasons why I feel so good, as I close out this year. The only explanation I have for this, is this action has put my years of learning into a purposeful place.
Birthday Check In: Where I’m Heading
As I prepare to embark on another year, my thoughts have been on what I want to do. What do I focus on? Where do I put my efforts? What is going to make me happy?
I have chosen to start off my new year by put my focus and efforts on my Physical Health and Well Being. Knowing that I can maintain a weight loss, empowers me to go that extra step and release those extra pounds. I am no longer afraid that I will just be back in this same spot a year or two from now. I am going to put to use all of the skills and knowledge I have gained over the years. Plus, I’m going to share it all with you, here at Mama Cranberry.
It is time. I have spent a great deal of time and effort nourishing and nurturing my mind and soul. Now is the time to bring it all together, and take care of my physical body.