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31 Dec 2009 / Julie

the world glows as we all reflect (or Happy New Year!)

it’s what you do. December 31st is when you take a look back at the year to see where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what you planned on doing and accomplished or never did. it’s also a time to set goals and aspirations for the year to come.

this period of reflection usually comes twice a year for me, every six months actually, as my birthday is strategically placed between one year and the next. whatever planning my parents did or didn’t do, i’m very grateful of my position on the calendar.

this year, as in every year, i wonder where the last 365 days went. this year in particular went vroom. last year i had a lot of big plans and didn’t do so bad on them, looking back. similarly in 2008 i had some genius words of wisdom to impart on any willing reader, but mostly as a reminder to myself.

but this year is a little different. this year, a 9 year traditionally (though not technically) marks the end of a decade. at my age, this is really the first time i’ve thought about “the previous ten years.” ten years ago i was 17 and didn’t think in decades.

but here it is upon us. we humans like concise wrap ups and nostalgia you’ll have no trouble finding the top music/albums, gadgets/tech stories, news, books, games or anything else “of the decade.” whatever is deemed the “top” stuff, you can’t deny that the world has been busy doing cool (and not so cool) things since the turn of the millennium, especially in technology (including going from the popularization and access of the internet to where we stand today, my goodness).

in the same time, my life has made similar humongous jumps. you grow a lot between 17 and 27. i don’t know it yet, but i’d imagine more growth (or perhaps just of a different kind) than between 27 and 37… but i’ll let you know.

so for my end of 2009 wrap up, i try to put the last ten years of my life into a nice little “defining events” list but i’d imagine there’s a lot more that has defined me that i never even noticed…

i’d say the first five years of this decade were the most life changing.  i graduated from high school and embarked upon a seriously amazing college experience making me realize that i am both invincible and very mortal, capable of making my own world start and stop. i dove into COUNTLESS ideas and topics and theories and books and… well lets just say it solidified that my thirst for learning was going to be with me for life. i made a handful of friends that continue to make marks on my life. all before the end of 2004.

the rest can fit nicely into a fun list:

  • started/fell into and finished a 2 year masters program
  • held 9 jobs (from 2000 – today) 8 of which i blissfully adored
  • dated about half a dozen people, the last of which i’ve been with for most of the latter half of this decade
  • bought my first car (2002) & had 125,000 miles (and counting) worth of adventures with said car
  • lived in 2 houses, 3 rooms, and 4 apartments
  • bought my own house
  • traveled to countless US and European cities
  • seen many friends date, break up, (rinse, repeat), marry, and birth
  • fairly successfully (although sometimes unintentionally) fed and watered my career to the point where my name isn’t unknown
  • met countless people who have taught me a great deal. really, everyone you encounter is a teacher if you’re open to it.

looking back i can see the list is long, but I don’t feel a whole ten years older, wiser, or closer to that zen state of self. the funny thing about your current perseption of self is that you always think you’re closer to past self than you really are. i don’t feel 27. but i’m sure that if i hung out with 17 year old Julie, while i’d like her, i’d finally realize that i am indeed very much more grown up.

so, having seen where i’ve been, do i know where i want to go? no. like my 60+ year old dad still says, “i don’t know what i want to be when i grow up.” but as long as i’m smiling (or laughing!), encouraging (myself and others), and always moving towards whatever the next joy is, i think in ten years time i’ll be able to write with a very big smile on my face.

in the meantime, here are some small goals for myself to get this year started. and i’m learning and picking only one. it’s manageable and something from which all my other goals (painting, staying healthy, sleeping better) will grow:

  1. give yourself time to exist. spend 15 mins each morning doing nothing but watching the sun rise.

so to you and whatever goals, aspirations, dreams, or hopes you have for this year, i raise my glass and hope for us all that the years to come are bright, healthy, and full of joy, peace, and simple and real solutions. Happy New Year!

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