The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on everything that has happened over the past twelve months. I've mentioned before that I feel 2009 was probably one of the most fun, most powerful, most enlightening years I have ever experienced. When I think of how I started the year and where I am now, I marvel at the changes that have occurred in my life and, more importantly, within me.
I started out the year with six months left in my MBA. I had a boss I detested and was absolutely miserable in my job. I was even revising my resume and had taken steps to start looking for a new job because I knew no one should be that miserable. I questioned my ability to do anything. I deferred to my husband more often than I should have. I was angry and unhappy.
Shortly after the new year, I started blogging. It took me a while to get comfortable with it and to discover/decide just how I wanted to manage it. I struggled with the idea of being popular and getting lots of followers versus staying true to my interests. I had to decide what and how often I wanted to post. As I got more comfortable with blogging in general, I started feeling comfortable playing with the code to make my blog truly mine. I threw away the desire to be popular and focused on writing what I wanted and when. I stopped apologizing for my opinions and no longer hesitated to share negative and positive book reviews. In general, I created an electronic mirror of who I truly am.
Simultaneously, I started participating in a personal development course at work. The first exercise was a 360-degree evaluation, where friends and co-workers and managers rated me. It was a very painful but eye-opening experience to see just what others thought of me. I followed this exercise up with another one that also required my co-workers to define me using adjectives. Again, it was quite the experience. The rest of the year followed along the same vein. Every month required me to take a look at who I am, my relationships with others, my core values, what items about which I refuse compromise, and so forth. One of the most powerful exercises I did for this group was the StrengthFinders quiz, where I found out just what my strengths are. This quiz (and reading the book to help analyze the results) single-handedly helped me understand just what makes me tick. I cannot begin to express how empowering this knowledge is.
I received my MBA in June and felt a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulder. I took a few months off and decided that it was time for me to take the next step on proving to myself that I was capable of in the business world. I studied for and sat for the first two of four exams to become a Certified Management Accountant (CMA). The relief and power I feel upon passing each section and the knowledge that I am accomplishing something so rare and unusual makes the stress worth it in the end.
Added to that, I finally took ownership of my anger issues. I got tired of constantly yelling at my husband and blowing up at my children. I hated endangering my relationships with my friends because I could not get my anger under control. I went to the doctor and discovered that hormones truly were affecting me as badly as I thought they were and have been working with my doctor to get that under control. That has helped tremendously, but I still was struggling. I started researching meditation and finally took a meditation course in December. The changes in my mental state, even after four weeks, is almost unbelievable.
If I were to define 2009 for me, it would be one of self-discovery. I started out the year an emotional wreck - unhappy and not in control. I end the year calm, happy and relaxed. I have a sense of self-confidence that I have never felt before in my life. I am not afraid to express who I am and my opinions. I no longer worry about what others think and rather worry about what I can control. I am empowered, content, and not afraid to stand up for ideals and values that are truly important to me. I no longer get bogged down in the details but rather look towards the big picture because in the end, the big picture is more important than the details. I feel that I am a better wife, mother, friend, co-worker, and most importantly, a better person than I was a year ago. I could not ask for a better year and can't wait to see what 2010 holds for me.
Life is awesome.