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December 29, 2010

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes (and the last roundup of the year)

When I started this wonky little idea, to post a monthly check-in on my 2010 New Year's Resolutions, I thought it would be fairly easy. You know, blah blah blah, life is grand, etcetera. That's what New Year's resolutions do to you, they lure you into easy hope and optimism. I blame it on those little bubbles in the champagne.

My 2010 Resolutions were:

1) Get really healthy
2) Come from a place of yes (later redefined as "Happy!")

The first month of 2010 was a big fresh start, two-thousand-ten! It seemed momentous. Like something might happen this year. Oh, how right I was. When I read back on that first roundup, January was a blur.

By far the best thing I bought for myself all year came that month, though -- I purchased the Nike + SportBand to track all my walking. I LOVE this thing. I have used it all year with no glitches or issues, and the battery on the chip is still going strong. I love that I can see how many miles I walked this year and it's a visible chart of my improvement. There were some months where I logged exactly zero miles, but by year's end I was hoofing it 20 miles a week. That and a great pair of shoes were my big investments in exercise and were absolutely the least expensive, most useful wellness-related things I have ever purchased.

By the end of the January 2010, I had the "loosen up/get happy" resolution fresh in my mind but I wasn't exactly the picture of cool, calm zen.

In February I did the best I could. The book signing was fun and I got to see lots of old friends. I didn't eat my vegetables and I think chocolate became a food group, whoops.

I tried to get it together, a lot, and mostly succeeded in re-arranging my bookshelves and knitting.

The slow trajectory of the new year became a wacky train ride.

One of the best things I've ever done happened in May -- my mom and I went to Bermuda together for her birthday. It was one of the best trips I have ever taken in my life. We traveled so well together, and the island is spectacular and the hotel was like a dream and room service was amazing and I even got on a boat and was not attacked by Jaws! It was relaxing at a time when what I needed most in the world was the get the hell out of Dodge.

But there were also a few days in May when I wondered, Is it possible to join the circus at my age? Lots of changes on the horizon!

My last day at the bank was June 4th. It was so hard and to this day I still miss all the good folks there but I had a great opportunity for change and I took it. It's funny how once you wrap your mind around something, even a huge change like this, you start to make it work. In other news my parents got into town, finally, and my dad was so ill, and my grandmother had another stroke. These are stressful events. So I tried to smile a lot and Stay Positive! and Be Happy! I was thankful that I got to spend time with my family and I went to the mountains for a week with my folks and I made my first pair of handknit gloves(!) and I had the completely new and novel experience of going to the grocery store at 10 a.m. on a weekday, something I can't really ever remember doing. I was completely freaked out seeing my dad so sick, but I pretended I wasn't. Not sure I fooled anyone.

I spent a lot of time with my family, and I woke up each day continually astonished that I didn't have to sit in traffic. Also, working from home is a big adjustment! You're near the fridge ... a lot...

In August something happened that was nothing short of divine intervention: I got the idea for this book I'm writing. I scrapped the hugely over-ambitious fiction project I had been fixated on and spent the month working out a new plot in my head, over and over, until I knew this character so well I could picture her every nuance. I did it to the exclusion of all other things, well, except chocolate. Yeah. August.

In September I wrote, and I wrote and I wrote. My brother came to visit. I didn't see it at the time, but I think things turned a corner for me in the fall, in a good way.

October was a fresh month, we have amazing weather in October, sometimes it's so hot you think your brain will melt and sometimes it's so clear and blue you want to snort the sky. It was a month of bittersweet endings and beginnings, my parents left the state and my Grandmother sold her house and moved permanently into a care facility and I don't really love change all that much but something was different with me because I wasn't all puddled up and crazy like I can be. Prelude to good.


The month I wanted to have all year long. Beautiful autumn weather, delicious Los Angeles with the Boulevard full of holiday lights and shoppers and people out walking their dogs with little jackets and sweaters on their canine friends. One day I was in my apartment and the cats were stretched out by the fake fireplace and my tree was already up and I was stretching my sore legs after an especially long walk and I knew with absolute certainty that I was happy. Most astonishingly, I was happy on the inside. Not from some achievement or success or money or a hot guy or a new purchase or even a book contract. It wasn't just one contented moment, a fleeting thing. It was the total belief that tomorrow I could have another happy day just like this one if I wanted. And I wanted!


Well, here we are.

Goofy, sparkly, finish-what-you started month. It started with the Kansas City surprise party for my Uncle Truman, a mini-family reunion. It's still December right now and I have almost-very-close-to finished my first-ever fiction novel (!!) and I've already plotted the sequel(!!!). I don't know if I will actually completely finish the manuscript by the time it hits midnight in three days, but I will have given it a very good try. I thought I would be really let down if I didn't finish, but I know what I have so far is good, almost 40,000 words and I could hand it over right now and not be embarrassed by it. So that in itself is an accomplishment.

My favorite part of each day is all of it, but especially writing and cooking for friends and waking and sleeping and all the spaces in between. I still have my moments, my dark corners, but in general I feel hopeful and ready.

- - -

So there you have it. On the eve of 2010, I made my two little resolutions -- get happy, get healthy -- because I was so desperately unhappy and unhealthy and I wanted to be better. As each month passed I began to feel more and more desperate, because I seemed to be going in the wrong direction! If you had seen me in August you would have suspected I was two shakes from the rubber room.

But the very lowest point of my year also gave me the most surprise gift, a book idea that lit a fire under me for months. I maybe overdosed on research for a while but I finally plugged into a project and into my real life, this life, the only one I have. My days changed because I changed. And I invested in myself. I did things that were scary and annoying: I went to the doctor, I started acupuncture, I walked, I learned to cook, I learned to breathe instead of taking mallomar infusion. (Well, most of the time. Rome, not built in a day.)

What a weird, freakadelic, unpredictable, unexpected year.

Thanks for hanging in there and living it with me.

Posted by laurie at December 29, 2010 2:06 PM