Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.
Image: Clock striking midnight in celebration
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.

Image: Signature Block

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