Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015: A Year of Celebrations

I don’t set a New Year’s Resolution each year, but when I do set one, I try and make sure it is something simple, worthwhile and something I can truly invest myself in. 

In 2015, I resolved to find something to celebrate in every single day.  Similar to some people’s 365 day photo challenge, I took a moment each day to record something.  Rather than take a photo, though, I wrote a brief description of what I chose to celebrate that day.  I challenged myself to think, not just what I was grateful for each day, not just what was good about the day, but what was really worth a celebration. 

A year later, I now have an 18 page word document which catalogues the high points of my last year. 
Looking back through the document brings back a flood of memories, reminding me both of happy and sad times.  I can track a relationship’s arc, from start:
3/13/15: A fun first date.
3/22/15: Watching a movie at home with a guy who makes me feel relaxed and cared for.

to the high points:
4/18/15: He calls me beautiful. 
5/7/15: A shared meal, escargot, The Avengers…perfect date night!

all the way through its rockiness, the end, and the transition into friendship:
8/10/15: An end.  I have to celebrate it.  If I don’t, I’ll break. 
11/20/15: Spending time with him as good friends, and nothing more. 

I can also look back on the little things that make life special:
1/3/15: Bright blue skies and sunshine.  An 11 mile run.  A day with my best friend.  Real laughter. 

2/21/15: Watching a little girl in a cheerleader’s outfit dancing, all alone, beside a marching band (at CAG Sports Morning). 

3/11/15: Watching Amy play soccer.

5/2/15: Playing in the ocean with the rain pounding down on us while we laughed like children.

7/15/15: Hearing snippets of Spanish at the Shedd Aquarium. 

11/5/15: The hummingbird survived its window crash!

I can remember the days where everything seemed to go perfectly and I couldn’t choose just one thing to celebrate:
1/11/15: Everything.  Slept in, French toast and coffee/cocoa mix for breakfast, skype with Liz, Ultimate Frisbee, finished Framingham work, tea and sunshine in Cayala with Becky, dinner and Dr. Who and Into the Woods (Bernadette Peters version) with Kenra.   New earring holder in my bedroom closet.

4/2/15: Great memories.  Sunrise over the mountains, administering Amy’s shot in the woods, playing on the rock field on the Altiplano, impromptu soccer game with local kids, a semana santa gift of bread from a local family and chatting with them about their lives, homemade Mad Libs with Alex

8/15/15: Everything.  The perfect day!  A breathtaking drive, fun with Chris.  Ruins with a view, Quiche city feria, good food, a market, carnival games, winning at Rummy.  

8/20/15: Best day ever!  Random chocolates from a student, free post-its in the office (who knew?), great lesson plan, a 2nd morning to swim opened up each week! 

11/25/15: The perfect day.  (Hike to San Pancho, delicious breakfast, beach chairs and an umbrella and rum punch and nachos and sunshine and perfect ocean waves and swimming and EVERYTHING). 

And then there are days which I needed only one word to sum up my celebration:
10/8/15: Annette.


8/11/15: Perspective

9/10/15: Richard. 

3/19/15: Life.

And I can even track current events and a few life-changing experiences over the year:
8/27/15: Peaceful protests.  A country united and set on justice.  (Schools cancelled, businesses closed, thousands gathering in the central square to make their voices heard). 

3/20/15: UNOP—a children’s cancer hospital in Guatemala that is providing free care and focusing on all aspects of curing cancer in a society of poverty.  (The entire family eats well while the child is receiving treatment; family bus fare is paid for to get to and from the hospital, etc).  An amazing, heartwarming, heart wrenching tour of the facility. 

Looking back on all of the posts, it’s easy to see themes—things that keep coming up over and over again:  friends, sunshine, food, my health, good memories.
3/17/15: Eating raw cake batter.  And loving it. 

10/6/15: Supportive friends who go out of their way to make my bad day better.  Have I ever had a support system like this?  Also, Spanish class.

9/9/15: Sunshine at 3pm.

7/11/15: Giggle fits on the couch with Rachel. 

4/7/15: Health.  Energy. 

More than anything, as I look back on my year of celebrations, I am reminded just how lucky I am, and just how full of joy life can be.  I have so much to celebrate every single day, so much to be grateful for.  Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in life’s drama, but the important thing to remember is that there’s always something worth living for. 

So happy New Year.  I hope you celebrate each and every day.  

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