2014 Roundup: Year in Review / The Learning

I am starting to see the "year in review" articles and posts that tend to pop up this time of year, along with "top 10" lists for the year in almost every category. It has me thinking about what was most notable for me about 2014. What makes this year stand out as distinct from the rest? Should I write a "year in review" list of my own?

Being a person who loves making lists, loves setting goals, and loves checking achievements off a list, it's so tempting to write up a list of what I accomplished this year. With some effort, I could possibly make it look juicy and exciting. But that's the thing. It would take some effort, because a lot of what happened this year was internal work, and work that may simply be the building blocks for future projects yet to come.

So, why make a list? Is it to make myself look accomplished? To inspire my own pride or hide any doubt I might feel about whether I accomplished "enough"? Is it to impress others?

I don't want to do any of those things.

What I do want to do is document the learning that came out of the year. I want to capture the insights that come from the various projects I took on, whether accomplished or not. I want to reflect on how I've changed as a result of what I did this year, or didn't do.

I find that identifying the insights and writing them down helps the learning to solidify.

So, after writing a first draft of this post which focused purely on the list of what got done, I've revised the post to put the learning first. It doesn't sizzle, this list. But it's more authentic, and more true, and more important. So, that said, here goes.

I learned about perseverance, and how to find the courage to keep moving even in the face of doubt (from writing the first draft of my novel.)

I learned about patience, and trusting the process, and that significant changes can arise from the small but repeated act of showing up (from my efforts to practice the Ashtanga Mysore style of yoga.)

I learned about the fun that can be had when you take a risk and bravely try something new that seems scary at first (from my more daring self-challenges, including riding a segway, taking a surfing lesson, inner tubing down a river through a dark cave, and indoor skydiving.)

I learned about my own natural inclination toward shyness and why it's so important and satisfying to try to overcome it (from my attempts to deepen some friendships, my experience joining a women's circle, my volunteer job to run the school's book fair, and the summer block party I hosted for the neighbors.)

I learned about the value of taking a break and investing in my marriage (from our 8 day kid-free trip to Vancouver Island, and an experiment where I scheduled a babysitter every Saturday night for four weeks in a row.)

I learned about how important a clean, streamlined, organized and visually appealing space (and wardrobe) can be to my sense of well being (from my significantly stepped up efforts in the area of de-cluttering and organizing and fixing broken or unfinished things around my home.)

And finally, I made progress in learning about how to make peace with -- and draw satisfaction from -- the countless little chores that are involved in running a household that includes two kids, two cats, a dog, and a husband (from the countless fried eggs, school lunches, home cooked dinners, emptied dishwashers, trips to the grocery store, socks picked up from the floor, sports practice pickups and drop offs, bedtime cuddles, insulin injections, walks with the dog, etc.)

In terms of outward "accomplishments," it was a fairly "quiet" year for me. But when I look for it, I can find change happening, inside, and that feels like an accomplishment too.

I feel like a woman in transition, though it remains unclear exactly what I'm transitioning to. Perhaps 2015 will bring some clarity. If not that, then hopefully at a minimum, more learning. More clues.

What's on your list for 2014? What kind of a year was it for you?

1 comment:

  1. Internal work is the hardest and to continually strive to learn and improve one's self is the foundtion of everything else in life.
    But you also finished your novel! In my eyes that's an amazing thing to have accomplished in a year!