2011: One long Panic Attack…without chocolate.

Mostly, for my own retrospective sake, here’s the highlighted events of the past year. It hasn’t been easy, by any means, but I have learned much; hopefully this next year will be a little kinder.
  • Monasteries I was able to bookend 2011 with retreats to Sacred Heart Monastery in Alabama. In the beginning of the year, I realized how beneficial it is to give myself space and time to think and reflect on the past and the future. It was a blessing to find this opportunity and the people who find value in that. In August, recognizing I needed that space again, I took a personal retreat to a Monastery in Sewanee, which was beautiful. It was nice to have space to breathe. Sunset over the mountains (Taken with instagram)
  • Community I helped organize and plan a community meal in April for a nearly homeless community currently living at a temporary camp ground. It was a great opportunity and a good learning experience. I got to work with some interesting people and create a really fun day.
  • Jobs I’ve been trying to find my vocational nitch for a while (pretty much since I graduated college), in my search I found a few jobs that I thought I would enjoy. One in Arizona, as a community organizer for a local church-connecting the church to the community needs so they could reach out in the most efficient ways. And one in San Francisco, as a community organizer in a multifaith cohort. These to jobs came to the interview process at the same time, I got offered the Arizona job and went to interview for the San Fran one. Turning down the Arizona job on some really simple advice of “If you are uncomfortable with this, don’t do it….something better will come along.”, I went to interview and got passed over for the San Fran community organizer job. Looking back, I am grateful that this is how this situation played out…I never would have made it through the year being so far away from family and friends.
  • Travel Yet again, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel much this year. I took my annual beach trip to St. Simon’s Island, GA with my friends from college. I was able to go to California for the first time for the job interview, and see the Golden Gate Bridge with a friend. The Wild Goose Festival took place in North Carolina, which was a great experience of progressive, emergent Christianity. I also got to use my passport this year in a birthday road trip to Canada. It was one of the best road trip/travel experiences to date. We would drive until we found something interesting, like a roadside gospel meeting tent show, and then drive on. It’s a great way to see a spinet of a country. 
  •  Niagara FallsRainbow over Niagara Falls! (Taken with Instagram at Niagra Falls)
  • Lake Huron Lake Huron is surprisingly blue green! First stop on Canada! (Taken with instagram)
  • Golden Gate Bridge Golden Gate Bridge (Taken with Instagram at San Francisco, CA)
  • Igor Last year I discovered a begin tumor that I named Igor, this past year I went through ups and downs of trying to control and maintain it. To put it simply, it was painfully consuming. Looking back, I can see that it pretty much affected everything that I have felt in the past year; I’m still learning and realizing things that I just accepted as normal that were side affects of the tumor. I finally had surgery to remove Igor in September which included a blood transfusion and more time to heal than I realized. I’m finally back to my pre-tumor state, I believe, but I have spent the past few months recovering physically and mentally from Igor.
  • Chocolate- This past year I gave up chocolate. Now, I really like challenges, but I actually enjoyed this more for the discipline it took. I never ate anything without thinking about whether or not it could have chocolate in it, and I have really learned to value that attitude of mindfulness. Sure, I probably ate something that had cocoa in it, but never intentionally which was the point. 

We’re only a couple of weeks into 2012, and it’s already been kinder than last year. In reflection the past few weeks, I feel that the further I get away from 2011, the more I will value the experiences and lessons I learned. I’ve heard that everyone has these years, and the best you can do is make it through; I made it, and if 2012 is one of these years for you, you’ll make it too.

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