Reflecting on the Year Past

The most recognizable song from one of my favorite musicals asks, “How do you measure/ a year in the life…”

The straightforward answer is this: you can’t.  Life is not a balance sheet.  You can’t simply add up the positives, subtract the negatives, and decide if you had a good or bad year. 

That said, the changing of the calendar is a natural time for reflection, and I’m going to take the opportunity to do just that.  No matter what the tally sheet looks like in the end, 2010 was a significant year for me.

Early in the year I went on one of the most amazing trips I have ever experienced.  With a small group of mostly strangers, I spent 2 weeks  birding throughout the country of Panama.  We worked hard for our birds; we hiked every day, we changed hotels several times, and we kept challenging hours.  The group even spent an intense couple of days with a native tribe in the Darién region for the reward of seeing a Harpy Eagle.  It was the trip of a lifetime, and I loved it.  (If you would like a recommendation, I traveled with Birding Panama, a tour company owned and operated by a Panamanian couple.) 

I’ll reflect on my work for only a brief moment; the year was good overall.  I was promoted, my department finally coalesced and stabilized after some transitional growing pains, an idea I had not only came to fruition but also grew beyond our expectations, and I gave two presentations at professional conferences.  I would say that’s a pretty good year, career-wise!

Another positive experience to add to 2010 is this blog!  It has proved to be a great way to keep me writing, as well as a constant source of encouragement and feedback.  You don’t know it, but your visit raised the little bar chart that I look at first when I log in; those visits add up and keep me writing. It may seem silly, but seeing a higher-than-average number of hits makes my day.  🙂  The best day so far?  My birthday, when family, friends, and friends of friends turned out in droves to drive my count up over 400! 

Unfortunately 2010 was not all sunshine and marks on the positive side.  In the opposite column of the tally sheet falls a major event that spent several months unfolding.  My “forever” relationship turned out to be less than permanent, and I spent most of the summer fighting to hold the quickly unraveling threads of my life and my emotions together.  The struggle proved to be futile, and my husband of 4 years and I separated and began the process of legally dividing our lives.  Surprisingly, the hardest part was the months leading up to the decision; once it was made and I started moving on, I almost immediately began to heal.  This is not a quick or simple process, but I am started on my way. 

Even from this painful experience came some positive events in my life.  I met myself again, and learned a lot about the person that I am and the person I want to become.  I connected more deeply with friends and even gained some new ones, including one that I value immensely.  This friend recently stepped in to help when I didn’t even know I needed it, with exactly what I needed.  Friendships like that don’t come around all the time, and I may have missed out on this one if it weren’t for the changes in my life.

A year can’t be totaled or counted or weighed or measured.  But for me, 2010 turned out to be pretty positive after all.