I read the book, 'Best Year Yet' by Jinny Ditzler in 2010, and although I haven't read it since then, the idea of the book really stuck with me. While I can't remember what the ten questions are that have you review your goals, accomplishments and expectations from the previous year, I've kept with me the basic premise: make each year better than the last one. I'd like to think that I've been doing this for the past five years: taking trips to Maui, going to the gym regularly, leaving careers that were of no interest to me anymore and then...
This last year, my 35th year on the planet, was absolutely, hands down, MY BEST YEAR YET!!!!
1. I started my 35th year doing a one-handed handstand!!!! What a way to start a year, by challenging my body and doing something that I never in a million years thought that I could, or even wanted, to do!
2. My dad came to Grand Cayman to cat sit while the boyfriend and I were in Peru. He's never been to the Caribbean, so we took him out to see some pretty blue water and swim with the stingrays. It's an experience I'll never forget; watching him hold the stingrays on a sandbar in the middle of the sea, smiling so bright and in complete awe of what he was witnessing. What a gift to give someone, an experience that they never thought they'd have.
3. Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu!! A trip of a lifetime! I planned the entire vacation myself, with the guidance of a friend who had been there a few months prior. (I swear I'll get that trip and those pictures up on this blog!!!) We had a life-changing time. It was pretty much a make-or-break situation with our relationship. If you can't travel with someone, there's no point in dating, so we were a little on the edge of our seats until we realized that we're AWESOME together and had a freaking BLAST!!! When you experience the consequences of drinking 3rd world water, and your boyfriend still loves you after watching you lay on the cold bathroom floor because you think your insides are going to be your outsides soon, that's love.
4. ONE YEAR SOBER!!! October 7, 2013 is my sober date. We came back from Peru and I celebrated my year of sobriety with my best friend and lovahhhh, and my dad. What a great day. We did a toast with cinnamon buns the size of my head at Waterfront Cafe, in Camana Bay. I would not be where I am today had I not gotten sober. The most time I had sober was nine months a few years ago, and I always knew in the back of my head that I was going to go back out. It wasn't really getting sober, I just wasn't using. I knew this time was going to be different, it HAD to be different. If my life was going to be what I wanted it to be, I had to make this commitment to myself. I was finally ready, and I am so grateful that day finally came. I remember sitting in my therapists office, sobbing, because I prayed for the day that I didn't want to party anymore. "I just don't want to WANT to use anymore. When will that happen?" Neither of us knew, but we both prayed that it would. And it's true, everyone else around you can want it for you, but if you don't want it, it's never going to happen.
5. February 20, 2015 was the day my life as I knew it changed. All of the yoga, weightlifting, and 50 hour work weeks came to a crashing halt. I slipped at work and shattered my right wrist, my dominant hand, the hand that did everrrrryyyything for me. I was forced to not just slow down, but to completely stop life. I was out of work for 9 weeks. The first two weeks I was completely bedridden, barely able to get up to even use the bathroom. I spent a few days crying and playing the "why me" guessing game. That got old and I knew where that thinking would get me, so I just embraced it. What were my choices? Be a grumpy bitch or shrug my shoulders and say "shit happens" and make the best of it. It was an opportunity for me to read, write, build this BEAUTIFUL website that I'm so proud of, and take naps by the pool. I was able to use my left hand, so I journaled and typed. I realized that there are so many ways to do yoga, that the physical asana part is just one small branch of yoga. I took yoga nidra classes and fell in love. It was the only time that I was pain free. Yes, I was on pain killers, but I was still in pain. They just made it so I wasn't crying all day. Yoga Nidra was exactly what I needed, and I knew that this was the class that I was going to teach one day to help other women heal.
6. I went back to school!!! In April 2015 I started classes at the Institute for Life Coach Training. I left the psychology field in 2005 after working with domestic violence survivors and teen drug users. Two extremely hard populations to work with, that I felt I was no longer serving because I was burnt out. I didn't know how to take care of myself and let the stories and the negativity get to me. I wish I had a mentor so I could have known that coaching was even an option, but that wasn't my path. I guess I needed to be doing other stuff first. Like doing hair and makeup and partying until 5pm the next day. Yikes. I also joined an amaaaaazing coaching community of women called the Inner Glow Circle. What an amazing group of powerhouse coaches and inspiring women. So grateful for our paths crossing.
7. I went back to Seattle and was able to hang out with my sister, my and Dave's families. Seattle in May is usually nice and Springy for Seattleites, freezing for those of us that live in the Caribbean, hence the scarf and sweatshirt at Pike Place Market.
8. Venice!!! Dave sent me on a travel writers retreat to Venice, Italy in June through Pink Pangea, a group for women travelers. What an experience!! Travel writing is an expensive hobby, and I'm so lucky to have someone who supports me and my love of travel. I was able to write, explore and share my life and stories with other women who have the same ideas and passions as I do. Whatever your hobby or interest, I really recommend connecting with other like-minded women for support and a sense of community. It's been an honor to work with the women I met and to see all of their adventures. And now I have more connections all over the world with wonderful women. And figured that since I was over there I should hop on over to Rome...
9. And then I went to Prague! What an trip! I met my bestie, Erik, over there while we has on a business trip. We went on a food tour, walked across the Charles Bridge, went to the castle, and just stood in amazement and wonder at the architecture that was kept intact during the wars. I saw just a snippet of the city and can't wait to return with Dave.
10. After years of problems with my lady parts and birth control, I took my reproductive health into my own hands and made a decision that I have been trying to make for the last five years but the cost and unhelpful doctors kept me from doing it...I had a tubal ligation...my tubes tied. I am sterilized. It's not the right choice for everyone, just as having kids isn't the right choice for everyone. But just as being able to have children is an empowering and exciting time for some women, I finally feel empowered and excited about my reproductive health. I am fortunate enough to live in a country where health insurance is mandatory and partially paid for by my employer, and so fortunate to have a doctor who didn't even question my decision ONCE! She trusted that I knew what I wanted, that this was what was best for me and that it was not a decision that was made lightly. It's a really empowering feeling to have a doctor actually trust ME and the decisions I make for myself.
11. Traveling Wild Woman is now in business!! Company is formed and we are just waiting for permits to go through. I remember when I was a hairstylist and I always said "Noooooooo" when someone asked if I wanted to own a salon. It's too much work, that's not my deal, I'm not good at business. And ten years later here I am, opening my own business. I never would have been able to get this all done without my team at Omni. Kerry Whitaker is WONDERFUL and such a helpful and friendly woman. Without Kerry I'd still be trying to figure out what paperwork I needed and would most likely have called it quits before it even started. She's a lifesaver!!
12. Start the year with a handstand, end the year in a handstand!! It will be a while before I can do a one-handed handstand, but on August 27, 2015, six months after I shattered my wrist and had a plate and seven pins installed, I hopped up into a handstand. My surgeon said it would be a year for full recovery and I'd get back 90%, but I never let that get me down too much. I mean, of course I had days in physio where I'd cry and have a pity party about how weak I was and that I was never going to be able to get back to my old self. But I knew deep down inside that I was going to make it happen, and sure as shit, 6 months ahead of schedule, here I am.
I am imagining what my 36th year will look like, and it's going to be THE BEST YEAR YET!! It's going to take a lot to top this last year, but I am sober and have a great team on my side, so I can do anything I put my mind to!
What are your goals for this next year? Don't wait until New Years to start fresh, you can use your birthday as a starting point, or the beginning of the month. JUST MAKE SURE YOU START!!!