I have a bit of a blogging love-fest going on with Amy Gutman these days. I recently “met” her online (we’re meeting in person next month – expect the universe to be GREATLY IMPROVED come mid-September) and discovered her smart writing. This morning, I was looking for something a bit lighter to blog about – we’ve covered some heavy stuff lately, no? – and found this smart idea Amy posted back at the end of 2011, when she refused to close out the year without acknowledging that while it had been a difficult 12 months, she’d still accomplished some big things. And thus, “Take Stock of How You Rocked” was born.
I ADORE this idea. I think she should make T-shirts. There should be a one-day conference. Bumper stickers. I envision a movement, and a PARADE of red convertibles!
My real “new year” happens in September. So I thought: Why not treat today as a New Years Eve of sorts, and list the things we rocked this year? I’ll go first, but you can do it too! Share in the comments if you’re feeling brave (I’d love to read them. I’m so encouraged by other people’s accomplishments – they makes the world seem bigger). Or make a private list. But take ten minutes to acknowledge that no matter what this year looked like, you rocked.
Here’s my list. Since last September I have…
-Created a new edition of my first book (available next week!)
-Designed a new website & blog
-Read 45 books.
-Taught writing as a Visiting Artist at Wheaton
-Loved a 4 year old foster daughter and learned about parenting, trauma, early childhood development, play therapy, and every cartoon on PBS.
-Recovered (mostly – still in progress) after losing her
-Written a first draft of a new memoir, 1/2 a novel, and most of a book on praying for a husband.
-Kept a 17 year old dog alive.
-Gone swimming almost every time I’ve gone to the beach this summer, no matter how FREEZING the water was.
-Survived the past 12 months without losing my mind, my marriage, or my faith.
In Amy’s post, after she shared her list of things she’d rocked, she acknowledged, “This was an especially interesting exercise for me given my initial assessment that this had been a long hard year primarily defined by failure.”
Wow, did that hit home.
And yet it’s weird to write this list. It feels like that obnoxious Facebook thing where people pretend their lives are comprised solely of vacations, puppies, and endless professional success. And of course the list of things I’ve blown this year & that have broken my heart is twice as long. But Gutman’s post challenged me not to over-correct, to steer around the trap of only sharing the hard parts, because that’s a mistake, too. (Especially if your sense of humor tends toward self-deprecation. I once had a woman who met me after reading my books & blogs say, “You know, you’re not nearly as dumb as I expected!” Probably time to stop setting the expectations bar quite so low :) )
We need balance, even though life is never really balanced. But it is a mix. The new job comes two weeks after the breakup, or an opportunity to try something unexpected lands in our in-box just as we’ve decided to spend the rest of our waking hours watching Bravo TV. And in the swirl of daily living, we rock lots of things. We just lose sight of them afterwards. But they’re worth mentioning, and reflecting back on.
Today, take stock of what you’ve rocked. Then tell me about it :)