Last year of the decade.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Doing a lot of evaluating, goal setting, plan making and then putting my head down and working. It’s been good.

Part of the evaluation has involved me looking back at what I’ve done. It’s been really helpful. I’m sure I’m not alone in underestimating myself, but I’ve actually accomplished quite a lot in the last ten years! My goals for the next ten are totally doable!

A few fun numbers:

I lived in Slidell, Louisiana for 18 years, Baton Rouge for 4 years, Exeter, UK for one year (interrupting the third and forth BR years, actually) and now Chicago for 17 years. One more year and I’ll have two places tied for the longest places I’ve ever lived. Those numbers were really interesting to me.

More interesting was when I began to look back at what happened in 2009 and what I’ve done since then. In 2009 I got my probationary black belt, and then my first and second degrees in the subsequent years. I was teaching martial arts regularly and realized that I enjoyed teaching. If I could make it a profession, I would be so much happier, I thought. Also, in 2009 I started competing. I fought internationally for the first time. I continued competing regularly all the way up through 2013.

In 2011, the company I worked for was bought. I was laid off and I was so excited. I now had unemployment and the time and the means to begin perusing teaching fitness. I continued acting also. That summer was golden, I was in two shows, one that rehearsed during the day, one that rehearsed in the evenings. It was amazing. I got my group fitness certification. I went out and started teaching.

During the end of 2011 to the start of 2012, I was feeling like I was making strong transitions and that most of my life was moving in a positive direction. I started letting go of relationships that were stagnant and toxic. It was some heavy emotional lifting on my part. I had asked someone why I always chose partners who would never put me first, and if it was something I was doing. If it was my fault. She told me, in a nutshell, that there was a part of me that enjoyed being unattached because it was easier if I just did everything myself, because I always had, BUT that I was meant to connect. “And if you put out into the universe what you really want, the universe will respond.” Months after I let go of that old relationship, I met Dean.

By the end of 2013, I was flying pretty high. I had a solid relationship, physically I felt great, I had chosen a 200 hour yoga certification, I decided to go for the Chicago Marathon. I left the one ‘safe’ desk job that I had been going to two days a week and went full time fitness. I had been using my bike as a vehicle and was loving it. I was excited for 2014.

The winter between ‘13 and ‘14 was brutal, but I biked through it somehow. I got engaged. I got hit by a car a month before the marathon. I still managed to finish the marathon and my yoga certification, although my right shoulder is separated. At that point I was feeling fairly disconnected from and unsupported by the school that I had been training at (although I still have some very deep connections with friends there), and the injury solidified it for me. I stopped trying to train to fight.

The next few years were filled with little battles and victories. I did a lot more training, gained more fitness certifications, started moving to higher end facilities, began taking on private clients and building my own workshops, etc. I took a break from theatre. I was beginning to feel exhausted and drained and I wasn’t enjoying the auditioning and rehearsing as much anymore. I had one show that really ran us into the ground for no reason and very little pay and that really killed it for me. I did a few shows after that and I continue to do commercial and film work, but the passion hasn’t returned. Maybe it will, but I’m not going to force it.

Last winter was very rough. I experienced Seasonal Depression, which I didn’t know I was susceptible to, which in fact, I didn’t even know was seasonal until it went away suddenly for two weeks after a four day vacation where I was in the sun every day. Then it evaporated in the spring. I believe now that there were other causes that made me a little more vulnerable to it at the time. The company I was keeping, a few professional challenges I was dealing with and just not knowing why the hell it was happening, to name some possibilities.

There were good things about that dark time. I do believe that something always comes out of discomfort if you try to look for an opportunity. I took some online marketing courses. I took a writing class. I’ve been writing ever since (not all of it public). I also did a lot of evaluating.

The year didn’t go vastly smoother once the weather improved (other than the SAD departing). I experienced a running injury that lingered and finally caused me to stop running altogether, which was rough mentally as well as physically. But I did a lot of work and got through that as well. There were good things. I saw my grandma in Idaho and had friends visit from England. First time in many years for both. A bad relationship can bring you down, but a good one is like an internal sunshine clearing the clouds from your mind. It realigns you and brings back perspective, as well as feeling awesome and warm.

It didn’t happen this winter. The depression. I have been very careful about my vitamin D intake and I have a Happy Light now which I turn on whenever I sit down to write during daylight hours. (It shines on me right now!) I’m also being a lot more careful with who I spend my time and energy on. As well as WHAT I spend my time and energy on. It could be that we have had more sun this year and that December was pretty warm (November was horrifying though, so I think they cancel each other our), but I’m hoping it’s also part of the changes I’ve made.

There is more change to come! I am making small changes, but they are sticking and they will turn into big, big things. Lots of little snowballs all rolling together to make my snowman army.

That made me smile.

There’s been more of that lately. I’ve been doing my best to give more smiles and give out the energy I would like to receive. And recharge when I need to recharge. I did a lot in the last ten years. After looking back, I’m setting big goals for the next ten. There’s no reason not to.

Meredith Lyons1 Comment