Tuesday, December 31, 2013

There's no end to this quest, just another chapter

This time last year I was contemplating what 2013 would bring and hoping that this year would be a good one. I was also thinking about personal growth and how I would tackle my 34th year on this planet. I settled on being the leading lady of my own life. Eventually, I selected a few key ways I thought I could quantify this quest. Throughout the year, I've chronicled my progress on these items along with my musings on movies, music, and how we're all doing everything wrong. As the year draws to a close, I can honestly say that I feel less like the best friend and more in charge of my leading lady life. I did a lot of what I set out to do: try new things, bring new people into my life and spend time with those already there, be more adventurous in fashion, and travel somewhere I've always wanted to go. My year looked something like this:
  • I wrote a novel in a month (November). Now I know that I can write a novel and now I can go back and edit this one and start on the next idea (which will not be written in a month and will require heavy research and maybe a visit or two to Detroit).
  • Traveled to Paris (alone) for a birthday champagne toast at the summit of the Eiffel Tower. I did other things too but seriously this was pretty cool and definitely a highlight of my year. 
  • Designed and created my first Lego purse. I had so much fun with this and will return to the world of Lego purse creation in 2014. I have several that I'm designing right now and hopefully will have them done by the end of January. Who knows where this will lead?
  • Became an information desk volunteer at the National of Women in the Arts. You should come visit. 
  • Wrote 66 Island posts this year (including this one). 
  • Made some new friends, joined an album club, and went out more than I probably have since college. That's pretty good for an introvert like me.
  • Shopped my closet, found a pair of boots I love, and added skirts and dresses into the rotation so I don't wear jeans every day of my life.
  • Read 50 books this year. The national average is 4. And I took November off.
  • Convinced several senior leaders to participate in a contest where one of them would have to dress as Santa and another as an elf. For the children (for charity). Shocked when most of them came through and it was a successful event overall. 
  • Gave a short presentation on this blog at a work event that was very well received. This was the highlight of my professional accomplishments this year.
That's a lot of stuff. What's been most revelatory for me is that I focused on what I wanted to do and accomplish and not so much on what others might expect or want me to do. That's a change for me; I'm a natural counselor in the sense that I'm usually most concerned for others and what they're doing and how their actions impact their lives. And how I can help. That's why I was so good at being the best friend. What I discovered this year is that you can be both the leading lady of your own life while still being the best friend in others' lives. You don't have to sacrifice one to be the other. Like everything in life, it's about balance, focusing on what you want, and telling people the truth.

People often lament leaving a certain time in their lives. I read a lot of articles this year in which the author discussed his/her desire to relive their twenties and I can honestly say I don't want to go back. I'm more confident and interesting in my thirties and I'll probably be even more awesome in my forties and fifties and beyond. It has taken me 34 years to be good with the person that I am and this year has been particularly helpful in that journey. I am not perfect and I don't have to be. It's not easy to say that but it's true. Leading ladies aren't perfect - that's just something the movies has made us believe.

The quest doesn't end because the calendar does. I just move to the next chapter. A new year is all about possibilities. I don't have to have it figured out to know that it's going to be a great year and I'm going to do some amazing things. I just know. And knowing is half the battle (as G.I. Joe tells us). 

Thanks for visiting the Island in 2013. I hope that you'll come back in 2014. Lots of good things are coming your way: my love letter to Treme and New Orleans, a post about waffles, some more Lazy Movie Weekends, we'll make it to the 200th post, and I'll make my annual attempt to answer Pumpkin's questions on Answer Your Cat's Questions Day. It's going to be an exciting 2014 here on the Island!

Happy New Year from the Island! 
Make smart life choices - have a DD or take a taxi if you're out partying like it's 1999.

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