Goodbye 2011 — Hello 2012!

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I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!  And this post is going to be a long one. So, if you’re just here for music, here you go. Otherwise, read on.

Ok.  Sooo… It’s 2012.  I took a few minutes to look back through my blog posts and what this blog used to be, and I feel like I want to go back to staying true to 1.) posting on this blog consistently but more importantly, 2.) I want to go back to this blog being more than just a music blog.  Originally, I had recipes, thoughts, opinions, updates, PHOTOS! on this site.

However, as the blog continued to grow, so did the pressure of having more playlists with more music. Believe it or not, the reason why I started this blog in the first place (which was to share music I find to all of you) started to get lost.  The pressure of having a playlist every week kind of sucked the fun out of searching for music.

So – blog – my New Year’s resolution to you…!  I will go back to my original blog roots and keep true to  posting any artist I find that I love without feeling pressured to do so!  I want to share the music I find, and for the past few months, I started to dread making posts.  NOPE!  Not anymore.  I’m going to post anytime a song strikes a special chord with me, makes me want to jump out of my chair and dance, or will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

Anyways!  I pulled up my brief post for the beginning of January 2011, and I had stated:

Happy 2011 everyone.  Since #11 is my lucky number, I’m hoping that this year will be a good year.

And wow — what a great year it has been for me.  I am so so grateful for what this year has done for me.  During this past year, I felt like I could really grow and become (or try to) the “adult” I want to be.  I made more positive decisions that favored myself.  Now, that might sound selfish, but I’m the kind of person who will go out of their way for everyone.  This past year, I really taught myself some constraint when it came to dealing with issues beyond my control.  However, I realized that there were several things in my life that I could control and jumped at the chance to do so.  I’m not one to put everything out on the table (especially via the internet), but 2011 is over… and I need some reflection time 🙂

Favorite parts of 2011:

Renting our “first place” together.  Up until Regent Square, Bret and I lived with his housemates, and then we stayed in that same house until we found our first place.  April 2011 marked us being in Macon for a year, and it is going to forever be an important part of our lives as being our first “home” together. Edit:  I just had to have Bret come over and give me a huge hug because I do miss Macon a lot…. 😦
Running every day in Frick Park with Nutmeg.  This might sound cheesy, but Nutmeg really got me back on track with my weight and working out again.  She was the best running partner and kept me devoted and dedicated to jogging every day.  It was awesome to look down and see her jogging right next to you with the BIGGEST SMILE on her face.  I love her, and she helped me get through some personal physical mountains this year.

2011 Christmas Gift – 8 months of CSA items.  Best.  Decision.  Ever.  I’ve never cooked with so many fresh, healthy food items before…  and it was great.  Having the CSA box really taught me how to cook healthy dishes for Bret and I.  I learned how to LOVE kale, radishes, collard greens, and pickled beets (to name a few).

Surprise birthday trip to Michigan.  This trip was such an introspection trip for Bret and I… We had TONS of good laughs and smiles and quality time with one another.  We also stayed up every night to watch this sunset at 9:00 (Yes, the sun went down at 9:00 at night).  It was beautiful and perfect and everything we needed at that time.  Little did I know… Bret would be proposing to me in less than a month.

Getting engaged to my best friend, soul mate, partner in crime, other half… Bret.  There’s no better feeling than taking every step forward in life with someone right there by your side.  Bret and I have been together almost every single day of our post-teenage life.  Eleven is my lucky number, and 2011 has been such an AWESOME year for me.  Twelve is Bret’s lucky number, so I hope this can be his lucky year ❤

For those who know me, I’m a HUGE list maker.  If I put it on a list, it will get taken care of or addressed.  Last year, I wanted to make some personal changes, so what did I do?  I made a list (it had 10 things on it, but I’m only including 5):

1.       I will make sure I spend 1 hour a day to something that makes me happy

This was by far the MOST IMPORTANT item on my list.  By telling myself to put aside ONE HOUR to do something that made me happy — listening to music, making a new dish in the kitchen, reading a book, jogging outside, playing tennis with Bret, driving to a coffee shop that’s out of the way — I felt like I could add some spurts of happiness into my day. I should have also put a sidenote that the one hour thing had to be something related to not being on the computer or in front of a TV.  Sometimes everyone gets so caught up in life and work and busy schedules that they start forgetting to take care of themselves.  I found it important to stop allowing myself to get lost in the mix.

2.       I’m only human…  I’m allowed to make mistakes

I never thought I was a stressful person until I went to CMU.  Additionally, I personally have set high standards for myself and have always been an overachiever.  You want 100%?  I’ll give you 110.  You want that done tomorrow?  I finished it yesterday.  However, this kind of pressure can really wear and tear at you. NO ONE IS PERFECT.  For anyone who thinks there is a perfect someone/idea/world out there – you’re wrong.  This isn’t me being cynical.  The reality is — you have full control over the life you want to live.  People make mistakes, and so do you.  I have learned to embrace my mistakes and flaws because at the end of the day, those flaws are a part of who I am.  I can learn and grow from any hiccups that I make along the way as long as I take the time to recognize those mistakes  and work to change them.

3.       I have a purpose in life… and I will discover that purpose

One thing I’ve adopted for myself and have tried to pass on to other people is the action of asking a simple question when making a decision:  “Will you regret doing this?”  I have found that simple question has helped me in both small and large situations.  Some of my favorite moments this year have been the results of answering that question.  “Will you regret taking Nutmeg for a run?”  “No.”  “Will you regret taking this new job?” “No.”  I even had Bret’s Grandma ask herself this question during Christmas when she didn’t really want to go shopping with the ladies of the family:  “Will you regret not going?”  And she said, yes.  So, she woke up the next morning and went (I don’t know if my question helped, but I hope it got her to think a little bit).  Regardless, I have found that the saying is true:  LIVE LIFE WITH NO REGRETS.  I’m working on finding my purpose in life, but I’m definitely taking the right steps towards getting there.

4.      I will stop taking what others do or say personally

There are some mean people out there that simply don’t care about you or your feelings and will say mean things to cut you down.  There are also people out there who will things they don’t mean.  I used to have a habit of sometimes taking what people said or acted as a personal attack: “She didn’t call me back — Did I do something to make her mad?”  Or… “She didn’t listen to a word I was saying.  She was ignoring me…”  Sometimes, I used to over-analyze certain situations (don’t get me wrong… I still do) so much that it was exhausting.  Bret has really taught me how to not be so defensive in situations and how to learn to take constructive criticism and advice which everyone needs.  By doing this, I feel like I’ve become a more positive to those around me while also adding even more positiveness to my life.

5.   I will learn to say “no” without feeling guilty

This was the second biggest positive addition to my life this past year.  Now, it might seem weird that saying “no” would be a positive thing, but think about it:  how many times have you been in a situation where you wanted to say “no” but instead you said “yes” and ended up being miserable?  I spend so much time wondering what everyone else wants instead of focusing on what I want.  Usually, if I say “yes” instead of “no,” I would make the best out of the situation regardless.  However, just the process of deciding between “yes” or “no” started to get a little tiring for me.  So, this past year, if I was on the fence about something and weighed more heavily on the “no” side… I went with the answer “no.”  If my gut or brain told me “no,” I went with my immediate thoughts.  I actually save this article (click here to read it) which explains my inability to say “no” perfectly.  I’m already an honest person, and saying “yes” at times when I wanted to say “no” seemed dishonest… so I started going to honest-to-myself-and-others route.

So 2012.  What do I want to accomplish this year?  This year, I’ve decided I’m going to continue to work on my personal goals.  However, I have some basic “habits” I’d like to change starting this year (HERE COMES ANOTHER LISTTTTTT!)

  1. Any recipe I use must come out of the 30+ cookbooks I own.  Once Bret and I are up and running in our new place, I’ll be able to get back into the groove of cooking every night.  However, I want to pull every recipe I cook from a book.  Adios, AllRecipes.com!  *teaaaaar*   I want to write notes in my cookbooks.  I want the pages to curl from being worn.  I want oil spots to show up here and there on the pages… I want my books to be loved and right now, they are not.
  2. Do a 10k, then hopefully a half marathon.  I really would like to commit to a 10k this year.  I was already running 5-6 miles a day during the spring/summer, so a 10k should be no problem.  However, I just need to do it.  Check it off the bucket list.  Once I do that, hopefully, I can do a half marathon (but I also have the world’s worst ankles, so we’ll see).  For now, I’ll focus on the 10k.
  3. TAKE MORE PHOTOS! and put them in frames.  This is one resolution I think I make every year and don’t keep.  I NEED to take more photos.  So, I’ve decided that I will take photos if I have frames to put them in.
  4. Visit Friends Out-of-State.  Since most of our buddies are no longer in PA, Bret and I need to make sure we visit all of our friends.  I’m definitely on board with doing a bunch of mini-weekend vacations during the year.
  5. Buy things I need without feeling guilty.  This is similar to the “learn to say no without feeling guilty” thing.  I am the WORST shopper.  I hate shopping — every part of it.  I don’t like the crowds.  I hate dressing rooms.  But most importantly — I hate the price tags.  I don’t shop because I don’t like spending money. GASP!  ALL GIRLS LIKE TO SPEND MONEY!!!  Uh.  No.  It is so hard for me to spend money.  This year, if there is something I want or need, I’m going to get it without putting additional stress into the purchase decision.  Don’t get me wrong — I’m not about to go on this massive spending spree!  But… if I have a coat covered in hot chocolate and coffee stains with holes and a broken zipper and have owned it for over 8 years (yes… I was wearing this coat), I’ll replace it — AND I DID!

Thanks for reading.  I’m back everyone.  Watch out… 2012 — I’m coming for ya’.

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