I always seem to struggle getting started on my year-end blog post. What in the world did I do last year? Will people be interested in what I have to say? Maybe I should give up doing this. How am I going to come up with anything? I didn't do anything special enough to write about. These are the thoughts that enter my head.
Then I take a deep breath and begin to list things that I did. This is followed by more thoughts entering my mind. Okay, that's a start, but it's not enough. No, that's too long to write about. I can't include that. It's too trivial.
What's with all this negativity anyway? That's not who I want to be. So I follow the advice of so many writers - just start writing.
It's true what they say. Once I get started the thoughts begin to flow and out comes an entire year of fun-filled, inspiring, and challenging experiences that helped shape the person I am today. Suddenly, all the questions and negative thoughts disappear. I don't necessarily have the answers to those questions, but having those answers simply don't matter anymore.
So, on Stephanie's birthday I present to you my year-end post for 2017!
1. Adaptive Climbing - Adaptive Climbing was new to me. I found out about this through my Spina Bifida support group and we made it one of our monthly activities in 2017. It was indoor rock climbing with assistance and it was an epic challenge for me! My yoga experience helped me get as far as I did up the wall. Mentally, I stopped to take deep breaths when I needed to. Physically, some of the positions I had to put my legs in felt like yoga stretches. I didn't climb all the way to the top, but there's always 2018! ;-)
On a related note, the adults Spina Bifida group really took off in 2017! We averaged about 10 participants per event, which took place almost monthly. It is a rewarding experience to lead this group because I can see what a difference it makes for those who choose to participate. A few people in the group have helped me plan activities. We are not just a group anymore. We are a group of friends. We already have tentative plans for every month in 2018!
2. Full Year Without Blood Sugar Medication - 2016 was the year I was given the okay to stop taking my blood sugar medication, but 2017 was the first full calendar year I went without it. This is a path on which I plan to continue. Sometimes my blood sugar is in the normal range and sometimes it's just slightly above the normal range. Either way, I am accomplishing all of this only with healthy lifestyle habits and no medication. I've come a long way! I am grateful also that I have been able to share what I've learned throughout this journey with other people and I plan to expand on that in 2018.
3. Meeting My Heroes - If you had told me in 2017 I will meet Deepak Chopra in person I would have brushed it off and called you crazy. Deepak Chopra has been one of the most influential people in my life over the past six years. It is largely through his teachings that I learned how to live a life of inner peace and joy, which continues to be a work in progress. To see him speak and then meet him afterwards was one of the most awe-inspiring experiences I've ever had.
In 2017 I also had the opportunity to meet Jay Beagle from the Washington Capitals. I used to be able to meet the Caps more often when they practiced closer to home, but that all changed when they moved to a different practice facility. What a rare treat this was! I also got to see them practice just before the playoffs started, which is something I had been wanting to do for a long time.
Meeting Jay Beagle and seeing the Caps practice was all in the same birthday week when I also saw Beauty and the Beast at the local dinner theatre. This is one of my all-time favorite movies and I'm so grateful I got to see it live! I met the stars of the show, Belle and Beast, afterwards. A memorable week, for sure!
4. Writing - Pen to paper writing seems to almost be a lost art. It is something I've always enjoyed doing and I picked it up again in 2017. I wrote handwritten letters and thank you notes. I also started keeping an analog agenda book and a Gratitude Journal. I even wrote nonsense just for the sake of writing! I plan to do more pen to paper writing in 2018.
5. Photography and Cook-off Contest - In 2017 I entered two kinds of contests for the first time - photography and cooking/baking. Of course I wanted to win both contests, but I also entered for the purpose of expanding on two things I enjoy doing.
For the photography contest, I entered five photos which were among countless other photos that were voted on by the public. For the cook-off, I entered my blondies. I did not win either contest, but I enjoyed both of them. I learned a lot from the feedback I received and also from seeing other photographs and menu items that were entered. Putting into practice what I learned, I would enter both kinds of contests again when given the opportunity.
Every year I complete this post I am always amazed at everything I've done in 12 months, and of course these are just some of the highlights. Some of it was planned, some of it was not. At the beginning of a new year, it's difficult for me to imagine living up to the year before. Then I realize it's not meant to be lived up to. It's mean to be enjoyed.