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For last year’s fourth 2011 Quest, I resolved to stop caring so much about what other people think of me. I’ve come a long way with that… while I still ask for validation sometimes through questions in unsure situations, I can confidently rely on myself in almost any circumstance. I think a lot of that has come with living alone again and relearning independence in that way. While there is no comparison to having a wonderful and supportive partner, we need to always be prepared to provide that emotional security for ourselves.
2012 Quest #4: To become financially secure.
Since becoming single again, my bills have gone up… but I’ve been able to manage pretty well. For 2012, I think it would be a wonderful goal to raise my standards for what I consider to be “financially secure.” I’d like to have a good system for saving money and I’d like to invest more for my future. Living paycheck to paycheck is no way to go through life, and there is no reason why I need to have that mentality or pressure. The more I stay ahead of the game, the less I have to think about it during the times when I don’t want to. Also I’d like more freedom to take random trips or make important purchases, and the only way to do that is to have a plan.
2011 Flashback #4: Injuring my knee.
This was a devastating time for me. I was so close to not only finishing my first marathon, but I was prepared to run it in a really good time. About two weeks before the race in mid February, I felt a pain in my knee that I had never experienced before. Since I’ve never had a serious injury, I tried to push through it. When race day came, I made it to about mile 5 before breaking down in extreme pain. I was a sobbing baby watching all of the other racers pass me by until Mike came to pick me up. I had no idea what was wrong and I thought I was being a wimp for quitting. I was even tempted to go back and finish by walking, but that even caused me pain. Pain in my heart, and pain in my body. Why was it so important for me to finish that marathon? I have no idea, but I really really wanted to. Mike make me a “Most Awesomest” medal anyway and my mom gave me flowers. They did make it better as best as they could. After seeing a doctor, turns out I had torn my inner meniscus on my left knee and had pretty bad inflammation all up in that sucker. I had to go to physical therapy for about 10 weeks which got me in good enough shape to give my Half Ironman a shot in late April. That was a big day for me and brought everything around full circle. While I had to walk most of the 13 mile run portion b/c of a little pain, I was able to complete the 52 mile bike with no problems and I crossed that finish line like a champ. Definitely one of the best highlights of 2011!
To view last year’s third Quest and Flashback, click here. My Quest from this day last year was to maintain my weight during 2011, and I’m proud to say that I’ve stayed around 152/153. I’m very, very happy with that. My body is healthy, strong and beautiful. I appreciate that everyday.
2012 Quest #3: To get a book contract.
I’m closer than I’ve ever been to having a concrete launching pad to a pretty kick-ass book. I think it’s fair to say that this has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever tried to do… even more so than training and completing my Half Ironmans. Writing takes so much discipline, especially in long form. Since I have zero experience in the book world (like that’s ever stopped me before…) I’ve had to learn a lot of things along the way. Just this past weekend I finished what I consider to be a pretty great outline with each chapter fleshed out. I’ve also made a pretty good dent in the first chapter. Once I have that completed, my next goal is to try to get a book contract. Hopefully I can start doing that by the end of January, as I see no reason why I wouldn’t be able to. I don’t know how long that search will take, but I am hoping by summertime I will have everything locked down. I’ve said this before, but I would like to eventually turn this book into my first feature film… but one thing at a time. This is strange to say, but I have a definite genre that I tend to lean toward – romantic comedies. Which is a very interesting situation because romantic comedies don’t do well in the independent film world… but they would do very well as books and bigger budget movies. I always wanted to be the dark tormented artist with deep thoughts to share (ha!), I really did, but turns out that I’m more inclined to write feel-good love stories. I’ve learned to own that, and there is certainly nothing wrong with being a little more marketable.
2011 Flashback #3: Co Directing and Producing CRUSH
This year I co directed and produced a little short film called CRUSH with my friend Rebecca Pugh. It is about the relationship between a woman and her favorite chair. It’s colorful, emotional, fun and experimental. This is my second short film to make, the first being Piece of Cake in 2006. Making CRUSH really reminded me of my love for filmmaking, as it had obviously been a few years since I took the reins on a project. We have high hopes for this film, and I think it has a pretty good shot at getting into some fun film festivals in 2012. We should start hearing back in late January/early February on some of our first submissions. Fingers crossed…
To read last year’s second Quest and Flashback, click here.
2012 Quest #2: To start blogging Monday through Friday.
Do you know what really works for me? A good old-fashioned schedule. That’s why I’m going back to one for 2012, just not every day like I did for almost a year and a half when I first started out. I love to start out my day with a blog entry, as my mind is most clear in the mornings and it helps me to focus on what’s important. I’ve also developed a real passion for writing because of my blog, something I never really expected to happen. I’m not saying I’m the worlds best writer, but I think I have relatable stories to tell… and I’m not afraid of being fairly open about myself. As a matter of a fact the more I write about my daily life the more normal I feel, if that makes any sense. And while the whole premise of my blog is to become “extraordinary,” I think most people would hope that for their own lives as well. I am just really glad that I happened upon this medium of expression while also getting to document some pretty amazing experiences in my life.
2011 Flashback #2: Going to Bonnaroo for the first time.
Bonnaroo was a major shifting point for me this year due to how it was timed with other events in my life. I was very excited to go, but honestly didn’t really know what to expect since I’d never been to a music festival before of that size. It was such an adventure full of highs and lows – from only getting to use Porta-Potties for 5 days straight (low) and extreme heat (low) to listening to life changing music (high) and exposure to a great variety of people (high). There were times when I wasn’t sure if I was having a good time or not, but from the second we left all I could think about was going again the next year. While my friend Chez Knox Rox and I had some really great times together, my best moments were when I was walking around alone or taking naps in the shade between music acts. I think what Bonnaroo did the most was remind me that there are so many experiences out there that I have yet to even know about and try. Getting to do new things are what keeps us young in spirit. Read my Bonnaroo recap post here.
To read last year’s first Quest & Flashback post, click here! My 2010 Flashback at this time last year was reflecting on the birth of my niece Anna Marie, and my 2011 Quest was to become a paranormal investigator. :) Well, that didn’t exactly happen, but my love for hunting ghosts still remains… and probably better left as a Halloween hobby.
2012 Quest #1: I resolve to take big risks.
I know this is a pretty general statement, but I’m not ready to verbalize (or bloggerize) it just yet. There is one thing in particular that I hope I find the means and courage to do, and it’s exciting and scary all at the same time. I’ve been given the opportunity this year to start over in many ways, and who knows how big of a window I have to make some of my bigger dreams a reality. So, I resolve to take advantage of this time and make it happen!
2011 Flashback #1: I became more authentic.
Without a shadow of a doubt, if nothing else happened in 2011 I became a better version of me. It happened because of some tough decisions that had to be made, and were. I discovered the most amazing therapist who I was so lucky to accidentally find through a good friend. Her specialty is helping others to find and listen to their authentic selves. A lot of the pain I was feeling from the big changes surrounding me was able to be put at ease just by realizing that I was getting closer to a better version of myself because of it. I made a lot of choices in 2011 that took some guts to follow through with. And because of that, I say without hesitation that I couldn’t be prouder of “me” that has emerged and is continuing to unfold.
I am doing something this year that I’ve never done before… I am making no plans for New Years Eve. Why is that so scary? Well, there is nothing worse in my mind than being alone on that specific holiday. It’s not that I haven’t been invited to do things, because there are options, but this year I want to be flexible. I also don’t want to put any expectations on it like I usually do. I think I get so excited about the New Year because it’s like getting to press a reset button… and you get to dream of all the things you’d like to accomplish or experience in the upcoming year. I remember in high school my best friend and I would write down our top 10 wishes on New Years Eve and burn them at midnight so they would come true. I’m not really sure why burning them made it any more lucky, maybe we just like the mystery of it all. As I did last year, I plan to do 2011 reflections and 2012 hopes everyday next week. It will be an emotional journey, but an exciting one as well.
Blogging is great, if you have any interest in doing it I couldn’t recommend it more. It is a good way to share common experiences, passions, and ideas while documenting your life. But I can’t for the life of me go back and read past entries… it makes me cringe. It’s just like your childhood diary, everything seems so cheesy after you’ve written it. But I find that others see value in it, and it is so rewarding to know that a little piece of your life exists indefinitely. It has also helped me to become more authentic in general and really own who I am.
Sometimes a rainy day is just what you need. Last night while going to sleep, I could hear the wind blowing hard against my mini house. It was so peaceful. When I was in high school, I used to always think that wind like that brought big changes along with it. It’s as if it blew away the bad so good could fill its place. I still like to think that might be true.
Do you know what I love most about Christmas week? The cheesy holiday romantic comedies on TV. So far I’ve watched The Holiday and Love Actually. The film The Holiday always reminds me of Italy, as I first watched it on a return flight on the way back from Rome. My soul was full of Italian memories and food, and I couldn’t have been in a happier place. Speaking of Italy… I really miss it. It is one of the few places that I feel a strong connection to and dream about when I’m not there.
Life is so strange, and there are so many different kinds of people and paths along the way. There are people who step out on their own with confidence, then there are others who are afraid to go against the grain. There are people who want simple things, then there are others who like to have great variety. Some thrive on experiences, while others prefer the comfort of routine. If I’ve learned nothing else this year, it’s that I’m highly adaptable. Change and experience are very important to me, and I’m good at the unexpected… even if it is bad. I also love to dream, and hope. Even if some of the things I dream about never come true, I need to apply my imagination in that way. I think that’s why writers write, and painters paint. It takes you to another place or mental plane just for a little while. It’s a way to escape what may not be so perfect in real life, and it is rarely perfect.
When I was a little girl I always thought that there was a magical realm beyond what we were capable of understanding as human beings. I always drew these weird space alien families. I would change their makeup and clothes, make them fall in love, and gave them little planets to live on. I even drew little space babies. I wish I still had some of these drawings… but unfortunately I do not. But I remember them clear as day in my head. Maybe I should recreate them sometime, that would be really fun. I wonder why I felt the need to draw these strange creatures? I wonder if I felt strange or different myself somehow, and it was a way of identifying with that. Or… maybe I just liked aliens. We will never know.
Since I’m not writing everyday anymore, I find that it’s much harder to prioritize and sort through what I would like to write when I do sit down to do it. If I had a bad day before, I didn’t really worry too much about expressing why or why not, as I always knew that I would feel better the next day and rebound with something positive. Now I fear that if I put something out there that isn’t what I feel is a true “average” reflection of me, there will be this lingering negative energy until I go back and set it straight. That may be the superstitious part of my brain working, but it’s something I think about nonetheless. I believe that your outlook determines a great deal of what actually happens for and to you, so while it’s OK to feel down and bad sometimes… it shouldn’t be your permanent state of mind. All that to say – I’m lacking some super positive things to say today.
It’s not that anything bad is going on, it’s more an indifference. And I don’t like indifference. I like to be excited about things, I like to feel that things are moving forward. And while I know that I’m constantly moving forward, whether I want to or not, sometimes it feels like a snail’s pace. It’s kind of like that quote from When Harry Met Sally – “…when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” And in my situation it’s not a specific “somebody,” but more of an idea or a concept of what I want my life to be. But maybe what we think should happen to us and what actually happens to us are very different things… and sometimes better than what we could have ever imagined for ourselves. I’m sure when I’m 80 that I could have never anticipated some of the paths that life ended up taking me on, and I’m also fairly certain that I wouldn’t want to change what was “my life.” I think wants and desires are more of a compass to lead us in the right direction, but the destination isn’t always clear. I also feel like the bad days are what make the good days so wonderful. Otherwise, how would we know the difference? Learning what you like and don’t like, want and don’t want through trial and error leads to better decisions, higher living and greater experiences. Life is one giant, complicated and fascinating experience… if nothing else.
It’s a cold and wet Tuesday morning, and even though I have my heat blasting I still have chill bumps on my arms. If I squint a little bit I can see little snow flakes falling outside. Nothing is sticking of course, but it is still pretty fun nonetheless… especially since it’s still November. It makes me think of the real “snow days” to come, some of my favorite days of the year. There is something magical about seeing your whole environment drastically change overnight to another form of beautiful. Of course, some people hate the snow, but I am not one of them. On the other hand it does make me think about the people and animals without shelter and heat. Last night all I could think about before going to bed were the poor kittens in the alley. Hopefully they found a nice warm place before it got too cold.
December is two days away, and 2012 is officially one month away. December is always an interesting time of the year with all of the holiday parties and such. And if you are anything like me, you are already evaluating the year past for personal growth. I have to say though, I am getting better and better at not measuring myself against an unrealistic ruler. I am beginning to exist in a world where timetables don’t exist, and whatever is just is. All I can do at any moment in time is make the best of my present situation… and just relax a little. Simple joys are always around if I look for them. Right now, the heat is a simple joy. The hot shower I’m about to take is one as well. Little snowflakes in November make my heart smile. There are just so many things to be grateful for.
Do you ever think about what a blueprint of your daily decisions and choices would look like? Any given day can take so many different directions based on the smallest ways we decide to turn. Endless possibilities. That is very exciting to me.
It’s been a strange few days not posting in my blog, but it’s also been a little like turning over a new leaf. I find myself thinking of things to write about, only to realize that it isn’t urgent for me to get it out there. I keep telling myself that this isn’t anything unusual, that the fact that I was blogging everyday was out of the ordinary. All that to say, getting back on the computer to write something feels really, really good. I have missed my blog so much in the last few days. If I could send it flowers, kiss it on the face, hug it, give it a high-five… I would. :)
Since I’ve had some extra creative juice left over, I’ve been working on some other things in my life that needed some right brain attention. I’ve actually gotten the downstairs of my home in a state that I feel comfortable with… it just needed some extra warmth with candles and lamps. Plus, having cable has made me want to spend more time just lounging around. Lounging is good sometimes, especially when Sex and the City is on.
Tonight while buying groceries I purchased some milk that expires in the first week of January, 2012. I realized that soon I will be looking back on this year as a whole comparing it to my dreams and hopes from almost 12 months ago. I think it is pretty fair to say that I didn’t fully anticipate what was to come. So many things are different now. I don’t have a firm grasp on anything it seems… I feel like I should come with an asterisk that says *May be subject to change. And while this all may seem like scary unchartered territory, and believe me… it has been on some levels, I don’t think I’ve made a bad decision yet. I am going in the right direction, I can feel it in my bones.
Growing up, I always looked forward to getting older. It seemed like the older you were, the happier and wiser you became. On top of that, the age 32 (which I currently am) always seemed like it would be fairly significant… along with the age of 34. No reason other than just a gut instinct. From the outside, this year may seem like something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy – divorce, job change, big moves. But it’s all been driven by choice, my own choice. I have given myself an opportunity to totally reinvent my whole existence. It’s pretty exciting when you look at it that way, because I know that I will take full advantage of it.