Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Reflection Questions


Tsh at Simple Mom posted a list of reflection questions about 2009 over at (in)Courage. You know me, I can't resist a questionnaire or a form. I thought I'd share them here. Please visit Simple Mom and (in)Courage to read the full posts.



Here are my responses... A bit long. Sorry. :)

Reflection Questions for 2009

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?



The single best thing that happened this year was our vow renewal ceremony in my grandparents' backyard. Casual, warm, and wonderful. It wasn't really just that single event, but the work that transpired between me and E from when we went to Retrouvaille in February through that beautiful day in May. That day was the happy culmination of so much work and decision. I can't say our wedding wasn't heartfelt, but at the point when we renewed our vows this year, we had both been stripped down to the rawest layer of emotion. There was a knowledge there of what life was going to be apart, and a decision to come together and choose love, knowing what a difficult decision that can be. We were surrounded by our family and it was one of the most joyful days of my life.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

We've had a lot of challenges this year: being single and alone at the start of the year was miserable for me, then our financial struggles were punctuated with difficult news about E's career from the end of the summer through Christmas. I can't say there was one single challenge, but it has been trial after trial after trial. I think this is just our road to be on this year. Even coming back together was work. Worth it, but work. This has not been our time to rest or to coast. Everything this year felt like a fight.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

An unexpected joy was how many people this blog brought into my life. When I made the decision to open up about some of our really personal struggles with our relationship, I was surrounded by support and kindness. As I continued to document the day-to-day journey we're on, the support grew. It's a pretty cool thing to have an ongoing scrapbook of our lives. I hate scrapbooking, so this worked better. And finding Lucky Puppy was certainly an unexpected joy.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

An unexpected obstacle was how hard it has been for E to find a job with a BA and a law degree. I (incorrectly) assumed that he'd be able to find a job once he graduated, even if he didn't pass the bar yet. He had a door closed on his future this year with the CHP, and then to not be able to find any job... that was disheartening. Topping it all off with not passing the Bar was hard. It just didn't seem like all of this would take so long. I'm hopeful to see it work out in the new year, and thankful that he finally has a full time job while he prepares to retake the Bar.

5. Pick three words to describe 2009.

bittersweet, demanding, over

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).

emotional, successful, challenging

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009 (again, without asking).

arduous, defeating, difficult

8. What were the best books you read this year?

Light a Penny Candle, Strengths Finder, The Lacuna (still reading), The Road (still reading), Me Talk Pretty One Day, The Thorn Birds, The Lost Symbol (fluffy, but good), Hamlet (as always)

Book reviews from this year here.

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

My parents and sis/ Darin for getting me through being alone. E, of course. Redefining our interaction was really important and helped me to get that relationship back where it should have been, my first priority. I had a lot of other relationships come and go this year that I thought were important--as I get older it becomes more clear to me that it's hard to really know someone who isn't your family, though. People are fickle and that hurts me. I'd also have to say I'm always so grateful for ML/B. They're going to be our friends/family forever. And E's parents and sister. I had to bite my lip a bunch of times on Christmas morning to keep from crying, I was so happy to be back with them. Being separated from E meant losing them and I was so happy to be back with the rest of my family this Christmas.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

Um, being not single is pretty big. But I've also come into my own a little bit. I've made some decisions at work that were pretty big this year, like not teaching dance anymore so I could be there for my family more. I became a runner and ran a half marathon. I also decided that one of my top priorities in life is being home in the afternoon to make dinner and then not leaving all night. It makes me a much happier person to be with my family after a long day at work.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

I had to learn (from Retrouvaille, specifically) to communicate what I feel without judgment or blame. I also had to learn that there is a delicate balance in a relationship that has to be maintained, and the way I was approaching that relationship for the past 14 years wasn't really working. Being alone was so hard for me--I was very afraid and very overwhelmed. I'd never done that before. I believe it gave me courage and belief in my abilities that I didn't have before.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

This wasn't a good year or a consistent year for me going to church or being outwardly churchy, but it was a major year of internal spiritual growth, which is really the only kind I'm concerned with. At each point of this difficult year, there was some lesson to be learned. A couple of close friends really helped to show me that there's a lot of peace to be had, even when things are their most hopeless. I also believe that the major arena for my spiritual growth was the work we did to repair our marriage. I have to believe that it was God's plan for us to come back together and that it was a healing process for us to do so.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

Well, I gained about ten pounds. Does that count? Seriously, I did not get skinny this year. I went from teaching dance to not teaching dance to running to teaching dance and back to running again. The running was a major lifestyle change for me. I started in April not being able to even run a half mile without stopping. I ran my first half marathon this October in 2:36:47.0. Now I'm hitting the road in the middle of December in tights. I wouldn't have ever thought that would happen. Running gives me peace like nothing else I've ever done. I savor the time alone. I found that running really helps me work through a lot of my anxiety and helps me sleep. I love the feeling I have after just completing a run. Nothing at all was like finishing that half marathon for the first time. It kicked my butt, but it was amazing to finish. I really want to continue with running for the rest of my life.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

I don't know that I did, other than the stuff I've already mentioned about E. This was really a year to focus on him and the kids and my place within that structure. I know I was a horrible friend to everyone in my life for most of the start of the year--a real Debbie Downer and then I basically ignored the world. It had to be done; I'm not sorry except that I may have let some people down and I didn't want to hurt anyone. I guess this was the year of lameness but I hope that once my family is stable and I confidently know my place within that I can rejoin the rest of the world.

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?

Ha. What kind of question is this? I hate managing my home, primarily because when I'm working I'm never in it for long enough. I guess what I learned is that more time at home = more time to work on it. Most of the time it still looks like crap, though. I learned that I hate when E dumps the laundry on the couch because he always says he'll fold it but then a week goes by and then it's still there and there's no good way around that occurrence. I hate when that's the first thing people see when they walk in our house. That wasn't really what I was supposed to learn, was it?

16. What was your most challenging area of home management?

Laundry. Effing never-ending laundry.

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

Facebook. I don't mind, though. I'm a social media junkie. Oh, and I spent a lot of time watching LOST but let's not call that a waste.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

Crocheting.

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?

Choose love. Even when it's hard. Especially when it's hard. Especially when you don't feel it. Make a choice and the feeling will follow.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2009 for you.

Anything is possible now that we've been through 2009.


I'd love to read your answers to the reflection questions. Here they are so you can cut and paste them on to your blog or a note on Facebook:
2009 Reflection Questions
1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
5. Pick three words to describe 2009.
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009 (again, without asking).
8. What were the best books you read this year?
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?
16. What was your most challenging area of home management?
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2009 for you.
Be sure to leave me a comment with a link if you answer them. Happy New Year!

And don't forget about my GIVEAWAY POST. Be sure to click over and enter.

2 comments:

  1. I decided to answer them ... I had to think about what a year it has been! I sure am ready for 2010!

    www.thisisntaperfectlife.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Heather
    Sounds like you have had a challenging, but rewarding year. Wishing you all the best for 2010!!

    Happy New Year from Australia!! xx Julie

    ReplyDelete