First off, Happy New Year to all!
Good. Now that that's done... I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I was fortunate enough to escape the cold Montreal winter for 7 days in Cuba with my parents on the beautiful beach of Varadero. It was a great experience - my first of hopefully many Cuban escapades! - and yes, I've got a great tan.
And what a grand way to cap off 2009!
They say that what you do on New Year's Eve and Day is a prediction for your year. In that case, 2010 will see me feeling lonely in a crowd but ocean and beach-side, traveling, spending good times with family and missing my friends.
Looks like nothing's going to change.
For me, 2009 was a year of self-discovery.
I put an end to some toxic relationships and pulled myself away from some that might have become toxic. I realized that sometimes, it's okay to put "me" first.
I wrote many proposals and started a few projects and didn't get to finish most of them... but that's just business. I applied for a whole lot of jobs, revamped my CV and re-launched my personal brand as a freelance broadcast TV technician, translator, and online branding specialist. And I designed my very first set of business cards!
I learned not to care so much about the actual work but to cherish the moments, opportunities and people I get to work with instead. I also learned my lesson - more than once! - that politics can wreck perfectly functional business relationships and destroy potentially marvelous opportunities.
I picked up the guitar again, got my very own gorgeous (red!) instrument, and have almost mastered Bm, F, and Bb. I spent time in a choir, which helped me re-acquire some of the vocal range I had lost.
I started reading again and learned how to turn off the TV, the computer, and the BlackBerry... without panicking! I re-acquainted myself with the gift of nature and truly fostered my love for the elements, fresh air and trees, despite my allergies. I fell in love with the activities of my childhood: hiking, paddling, cross country-skiing and simply exploring the wonders of the outdoors.
I spent most of the year in a wonderful relationship that left me a better, richer person than at the start of it. I gained a precious friend, and through him, many more great friends and experiences that I will never forget. I remembered how to love, and more importantly, how to be (and feel!) loved.
I did some yoga, then stopped doing yoga when I got too busy. But I will never forget the relaxation and respiration techniques I learned, and in fact, I use them unconsciously when I get stressed out or have been sitting for too long.
I spent lots of time traveling in planes, trains and automobiles: Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Cleveland, Niagara Falls, Lake Placid, Kenya, Cuba...
I devoted myself to a cause I strongly believe in and earned a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see for myself how beneficial my volunteer work - and that of many others before me - truly is, at the ground level. My trip to Africa left me deeply inspired by the hope of a better world and thankful for all that I have and am.
In 2009, I built myself up, higher, faster and stronger than ever before. I picked myself up, time and time again, and struggled with personal and professional aspects of my life. I was unhappy at the surface but happy deep inside. I was angry at life and the world, but felt blessed at the same time. I was presented with a bunch of marvelous opportunities but worked hard to get those offers. I had high hopes for myself and others but was repeatedly turned down and broken down.
If there is anything I learned in 2009, it is to manage my expectations.
Looking ahead, 2010 promises to be full of surprises and blessings. I kicked off the year in Cuba, inspired by the moon, the sun, the sand and the ocean. I will be traveling again in less than a month, going to Vancouver for the Olympic Games. I will make new contacts, new friends, and continue to develop myself, professionally and personally.
I will allow myself to take more time off and spend more time away from the TV and other media. I will continue to read more, focusing this year on all the non-fiction I've been meaning to dig in to.
I will continue to work on being healthier, mentally and physically, and start by simply getting outside more. I will not limit myself with false pretenses and silly excuses but acknowledge my motivations and use them to encourage myself to stay active.
I will laugh more than I have ever laughed. I will live and I will grow. I will cry and be frustrated at times, but that's okay. I will let it all out - privately - then move on. I will enjoy my life, and if I don't, I will take matters into my own hands and make the improvements I seek. I will be the change I want to see in the world.
I will be honest with myself and with others. I will back down when I'm just being stubborn but I won't back down when I am right or defending my rights.
Most importantly, in 2010, I will be happy. I can feel it in my bones, even as I am managing my expectations: whatever happens in the next year, positives and negatives, ups and downs, the sine waves that regulate our lives will leave me with a higher average leading in to 2011. That's not to say that I won't have any deafening lows, but the peaks are sure to make up for that, no?
And so determined, I march in to 2010 with a big smile on my face, because it is sure to be another defining year.
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