Monday, December 30, 2013

Ring it, 2014!

It's my end of the year post, and I probably should be writing it tomorrow because this morning I have such a heavy heart. When I think back on this year, I'll remember so many amazing things: a scruffy little dog joining our crew, John finding a job he loves, our wedding, how the kids have grown and blossomed, finishing my book, finding an amazing community at USSB (and jumping in with both feet), and exciting new ventures on the horizon. It has been such a great year.

And still, there are things to do. Today the youngest kiddo got on a plane back to Pennsylvania, throwing the house into a gloomy quiet as we all deal with missing him. We have more work to do to replace the band-aids put in place when we moved to California and it's tough to know what to say to him when he tells us he doesn't want to leave. We don't want you to either, little guy.

This year challenged me to heal and forgive myself for past mistakes. Early in the year, I took a deep breath and told the truth about a past relationship, which was hard and scary and long overdue. After I finally just said the truth out loud, I realized that although we're all the heroes in our own stories, you can easily be cast as the villain in someone else's. Do any of us really see ourselves as a villain? And yet, we make mistakes, we hurt other people, we act out of selfishness and fear. We all do it. As we travel along our paths and make good and bad choices, some of us look at others with compassion and love and forgiveness for the mistakes that we make. Others call names and throw stones and vilify people for their bad choices. I guess it all depends on how you look at the world and how you write the story of your life. I have never thought in terms of good guys and bad guys; real people are so much more complicated than that. And yet every day you meet people who throw a label on you, fitting or not, and there you are, cast in a role you didn't audition for.

This year I've come to terms with being other people's villain. It hasn't been easy. When you're your own toughest critic, it's easy to hear the bad stuff because it justifies that little voice in your head that tells you you're not good enough.  I want to be worthy of all of the good in my life, and it's so easy to believe that I'm not. When I see the amazing people our kids are, when John shows me every day what an amazing partner I have, when I walk out the door in the morning and see ocean and's easy to wonder if I'm worthy of all of this beauty. Maybe I'm not. And yet, here it is.

If there was a word of the year for me, it was appreciation. I do not take for granted a single second of the happiness of 2013: so much growth, so much joy, so much love. I'm looking ahead with wonder at the possibilities of 2014 and the work I still want to do. And with that, here's the resolution recap and reveal. It's good to have goals :)

In 2013, I had 3 resolutions: play more games, run another 5k and get to know the local Unitarian Universalists here in Santa Barbara.
I definitely played more games, although they were more of the board game variety. Maybe it was the fact that I can't get much console time with all the kids in the house, but I branched out to mobile and new board games this year. All in all, I'd say mission accomplished, although I'd really like to up my video game play in the next year.
I didn't run another 5k because my doctor told me no. Shortly after running my first 5k, I threw out my back spectacularly, and afterwards was basically cut off from running. Instead, I did p90x before the wedding, which would have been great, but as soon as the wedding was over we were DONE. Not a total bust, but not really what I had in mind in terms of consistent training.  
I totally pwn'd the third resolution. Not only did we join USSB in January of this year, but I'm now serving on the Worship Committee and the Membership Committee. I have grown so much from being part of this community. I can hardly remember what it was like to not be part of this church and am so looking forward to the opportunities to participate in the next year. 

So, for 2014, I've been giving the resolutions a lot of thought. There are some big ones. Let's see how it goes!
My first resolution is to consistently practice yoga. Back in my pre-kid days, yoga helped  me overcome anxiety attacks, kept my back in shape, and generally made me a happier person. Plus, I like it. So for this year, I'm committing to practicing yoga consistently again, finding a studio or two that I like, and carving out an hour or two a week for some time to find my center. 
Second, I'm resolving to find my focus in my "hobby" ventures. I've had a couple great starts in 2013, but 2014 is all about follow-through. There's some great things ahead and I'm ready.
And finally, the big one: I'm giving up meat. This one is going to be a huge challenge, and I don't want to say I'm going to be vegetarian, because I'm still planning on eating fish and eggs. I'm also pretty sure that I'll eat bacon, and if I go to Michigan and my mom makes venison steaks, well...I'm eating them. Despite these exceptions, I've just been reading too much about factory farming, and I've come to realize that I don't believe in the practices that provide us with meat. Having grown up a butcher's daughter, I knew exactly where our meat came from. Today is very different, and while I have no moral opposition to eating meat, I want to know how it got on my plate. I already started on this resolution, and so far, so good. 
Thank you 2013 for all the adventures and wonder and love. You're gonna be a tough act to follow.


  1. Hi Koreen,
    I was moved reading this, and wrote a longer comment, which was lost when I left the page to use my Google profile with the wrong password. Now I don't recall what I wrote. Something about sharing your coast-to-coast longing, since my son's life has for a while been in SoCal with his wife. We dropped him off to fly back there from Philly yesterday.
    Anyway, best wishes for a fruitful 2014!
    David Calloway

    1. Thank you, David, and sorry to have missed out on your longer post! Wishing you all the best in the new year; 2014 is full of promise :)

  2. Hey Koreen, I share your views/concern about factory farming. It is crazy how people can treat animals and what some people deem "edible". Definitely, avoiding that type of product is a great way to help. In addition to that, another thing you can do to help affect change is to support local farmers who are raising healthy animals with sustainable practices. Ceasing to support factory meet, while at the same time voting with your dollar for local farmers is like a double-whammy! Whatever you decide, I applaud your decision and wish you good luck!

    1. Happy new year! Your suggestion is a great one and I do need to put more effort into finding local farmers to buy meat from; we buy much of our produce at local farmer's markets, but it's been difficult to find organic meat options, so we mostly buy at the grocery store now. With 6 kids, organic is expensive, but now that I'm out and my daughter is an almost-vegetarian, I think it's important to feed the rest of everyone with food I believe in :) I used to order from an organic meat service...maybe there's a local option. In any case, thanks for the suggestion and time to do some research!