Thursday, December 29, 2011

On Throwing in the Towel…Or Not

I think of 2011 as my crash and burn year. I lost my job and my momentum. Our house flooded...twice! After several years of go go go. I burned out. It was also a year of amazing adventures and success (just not financial success). I spoke at the Celebrant’s Collective Wisdom Conference and drove to Arizona, I tried my hand at pottery, became serious about blogging, and started taking my photography more seriously.

This has been a year of cognitive dissonance. The highs and lows of 2011 have been a roller coaster and I often felt as if I was leading two distinct lives with no middle ground. I need a change--actually Wookie and I both do.
I’ve started the last two years with resolutions and plans and failed miserably on most counts.

I’m taking a new tact this year and switching to hopes and goals. I feel that the looser frame actually leaves more room to define success and since we are in a bad place financially—and that does make for a lot of uncertainty, maybe we need to be open to an unexpected future.

After all, I never expected to be married, or a Life-Cycle Celebrant®, or a blogger. In fact, the biggest mistakes I’ve made in life have all revolved around giving up hope of something better and feeling resigned to life as it was at that moment.

I firmly believe that it’s best to always act as though what you want is possible—then you pay attention and prepare for that future. Giving up leads to stagnation and when opportunity presents itself, you’re unprepared. I admit I’ve lost sight of this ideal often enough as things have gotten harder and harder for us—but I have nothing to lose in choosing conscious optimism and plenty to lose by giving up.

So here I sit, nervous about the changes that I am sure 2012 is likely to bring, but hopeful that we will land on our feet, find a way to dig our way out of debt, and get back to a place of some security.

With that in mind, here are my personal hopes and goals for 2012:

  • I hope Wookie and I find work.

    It may seem picky to also hope that we can do work we love, or that I find another job that lets me work from home, but I do hold those hopes as well.

    Wookie would love to get a [paying] job as an EMT and has been loading up on advanced courses since he completed his EMT-B. He also volunteers as the training officer for a SCUBA search and rescue squad. Everything he does is focused on teaching others or helping them in some way. For all he gives, I hope this year rewards him with the satisfaction of a steady paycheck.

    As for me, if I could work from home, it would leave more time for my Celebrant work—and that would mean more money to throw at our debt. I can do a lot with the time I would not be commuting. (My average commute over the years has been two to three hours a day—that’s a third of a work-day!) I also work better without the distractions of an office environment.

  • My goal is to expand my Celebrancy practice. I started my zazzle shop in hopes of bringing in money for advertising. I will be updating my website as well. Realistically speaking, I will probably never be able to afford to retire outright. But I can be a Celebrant no matter what my age.

  • My goal is also to market myself better for freelance work and full-time work. I’ve gained some new experience this year that can take me in new directions. I also need to remember that the work I was doing is valuable—people need the service I provide. With technology touching every aspect of our lives, people need help guides and instruction manuals. I just need to sell my service better.

  • I hope we can keep our home—but if we can’t, I hope we land somewhere safe and comfortable. As long as we’re together and can take care of the cats, we’ll be fine.

  • My goal is to get us better organized in terms of our home and our finances. I confess that things are a mess but if we work together we can figure it out. I just have to remember that if there are things we have to give up, we will be making room for the things we need and want.

  • I still hope for us to have kids. I’m 41 and I have my fingers crossed that we still have time to make that happen.

  • My goal is to take better care of myself and encourage Wookie to do the same. We’ve gotten caught up in our troubles and that makes it hard to focus on eating well and getting exercise. Wookie’s in better shape than I am, but we could both use some tuning up.

Of course, these are all personal goals revolving around my family.  I have wider hopes for the new year as well. So many of the people we love have had their lives touched by loss and illness. I hope for a year of good health and healing. And I know that there are people worse off financially than Wookie and I—I really hope the world gets its act together—that people start to see that focusing on the common good benefits them more in the long run than greed will.  (Okay, that may fall more into the category of dreams, but I can still hope for change.)

So as this year rolls out, I’ll open my heart and my arms in hopes for a better future for all of us. I try to remember that life is an adventure and that rather than throwing in the towel it’s better to always know where your towel is, because it might come in handy.


  1. It's been a hell of a year for a lot of people - I think many will be happy to see the end of 2011. I hope you achieve all of your goals and more in 2012.

  2. Thanks Ezz! I wish you the same.

  3. You and Wookie deserve all good things and more for all you give to the world. Your hopes are my hopes for you too.


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