Reflections on 2012, and happy new year

Oh 2012, you have brought some colossal changes. I am feeling reflective and sentimental and so, so full of gratitude. If gratitude overload is not a good occasion for reflecting or sharing, I’m not sure what is. So here we go.

This was a year of so many transitions.

Work

In January, I started a new job. I took a bit of a leap on this. Last year I knew I needed a change, but I lacked clarity about what that was, or how to make it happen.

Yoga was my anchoring point, and even though I felt largely uncertain about what I wanted out of my job, a “5-year plan” or anything else having to do with career, I stopped letting that totally freak me out. I knew that I enjoyed yoga, enjoyed teaching, and wanted balance in my life to pursue lots of different things I cared about. Luckily, enough time on the mat gave me the confidence to trust my intuition more than anything else.

It sounds nuts to finally admit this, but whatever; the clincher for me in changing my job came from my yoga mantra.

For a year I had meditated and chanted and worked with a mantra, “Om namah shivaya” – which translates “salutations toward that which I am capable of becoming.” It was my prayer as I sifted through some things in my life. A prayer for whatever I would become – while releasing expectations for what that might look like and finally being willing to admit that the track I had been on for so long was no longer making me happy.

I scheduled a meeting with a woman who was the head of a company I was almost 99% certain I’d never end up working for. When she arrived, she walked up to me, shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and spoke the words, “Om namah shivaya.” I had never met her before. I can’t remember much of the conversation after that.

So yeah – I quit my job and took a new one because I felt the universe was sending me a message in three Sanskrit words.

It ended up being a good decision.

House

Last year on New Year’s Eve, our offer on a home in Clintonville was accepted. We closed right before my birthday (happy birthday to me!) and moved in in March. The house is so incredibly perfect for us, and we absolutely love it. It was the very first house that we saw, and we put in an offer about a week after seeing it.

Homeownership has been awesome, though at times exasperating. For months it seemed that my forearms would forever be covered in paint, my fingernails chipped and blue and black. My parents were extraordinary. They came down every weekend for weeks on end, helping us sand, paint, clean, and renovate the kitchen and other areas of the house. Their toil was pure love. We couldn’t have done it without them. It reminded me how happy I am to be living in Ohio, happy that we’ve made the choices we have to be near them.

We’ve had storm damage, and had to replace our patio. We barely know how to create a basic wood fire.

At the worst of times, homeownership is humbling (and expensive). I realize how little I actually know, how little I can actually produce with my hands when it comes to this stuff.

At the best of times, homeownership makes me feel like a real adult. And gives me an outlet to be creative. It makes me want to learn more, to be competent at things other than working a computer and doing my job. I really like that.

Work, again
About two weeks after we moved – right before our first mortgage payment was due, Mike quit his job. It was unexpected, to say the least. It wasn’t on his time, or his terms. It was the equivalent of getting fired. It was shitty.

We felt untethered, unanchored for a little while. This wasn’t in the plan. But Mike, who was already seeing about 10 clients a week in his private therapy practice, decided this was the moment to sink or swim. He didn’t want another job, working for agencies that were driven by factors (like funding) as much or more than the interests of their clients. He wanted to expand his private practice. This was his ultimate goal anyway, but the transition was much harsher than planned.

In April he was seeing 10 people a week, and I was feeling nervous about paying our bills.

Three months later, he was up to 20. By the fall, he had a full caseload. This truly had become a full-time job for him, and one he loved a lot more.

My worries felt so silly in hindsight. Just as all fears really do.

And the best of all

And the most exciting news of all from 2012: we’re having a baby!

Baby O’Leary will arrive next July, probably right around Mike’s birthday. I’m really excited to let this phase of our lives unfold. The timing of all of it feels perfect, and really validates the decisions we’ve made over the last year.

Of course I’m terrified, too. 🙂

But mostly, I can’t wait to meet Baby O. and teach him or her all the amazing things life has taught us lately.

To follow your heart, even when it seems to take you into really odd places.

To find opportunity in trials, to dig deep to find gratitude even as you’re being knocked over by a challenge. To see it as a rare chance to grow, to learn, to change, to improve, or to turn around.

To question what other people tell you about yourself, what you should do with your life, what you should sacrifice in order to make money, what you need to be “normal,” what your priorities should be.

To try to see the truth in all situations.

To make the world a better place.

To not apologize for who you are.

To envision something you want, and then go after it.

To live unapologetically about what matters to you. To cling hard and fast to hope, and to people who mean the world to you.

To stand with them even when their decisions seem crazy.

To remind the ones that you love that they are good, so good, and capable of anything.

To always believe that about yourself.

I already have dreams, vivid in color and sound and smell, of holding this baby, simultaneously terrified at how big and impossible the world seems around us, but inspired to depths I’ve never ever felt or understood.

Feeling a rush of love that makes no sense to me just yet, because I’ve never loved anything or anyone that rarely and ferociously.

I wake up with my whole body smiling. Mike is still asleep. I still sometimes feel like we’re just kids, without a clue about real life, but always sticking by one another and trying to do it better the next time. We’ve been through a lot this year. We’ve been through a lot in the past three years, five years, this whole lifetime really.

We all have, haven’t we?

But we’ve also learned so much. Learned to believe in ourselves a little bit more than we did before, to realize our resiliency, to understand that’s more important to have than most other things. To realize we really don’t have it all figured out all the time, and we certainly won’t when this baby comes along. It’s terrifying and daunting, but that’s ok. That’s part of the experience. And we’ll look back later and appreciate each bit of it.

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