December Report Card: I spent the last afternoon of the last month of the year burning. I attended a yoga session called Burn Away 2018 and Breathe into the New Year. The focus was to release the regrets, negative energy and unexpected scenarios that became life lessons. I wanted to meet the new year cleansed of the disappointments and open to the possibilities in a new year. I burned 7 pieces of paper. On six, I wrote things about myself that I wanted to release. I wished to no longer allow them to consume my energy. On the seventh, I wrote about a dear friend’s current unhappiness to help him enter into the new year lighter.
It felt good to acknowledge the hardships of the year while making a definitive action to not give them space in my heart and head in 2019. 2018 didn’t break me. It broke me open for new experiences. And I’m grateful for the opportunities to shift my journey onto a new and exciting path.
Serving = 15 shifts! Wood continues to be my main source of income. I pick up any shift I can. I continue to work a double on Sundays much to my knees’ chagrin. I’m grateful to the entire crew that make the shifts fun, the customers that help pay my bills and my resilient body that complains but doesn’t stop working for me.
Job Search = 16 applications and 2 interviews! I’ve applied for some very interesting jobs this month. After chatting with my friend Sue James, I broadened my geographic focus to include contract work in DC or other remote scenarios. Also, when I was giving a reference for a former employee, the consulting firm asked me if I was interested in interviewing with them. I’ve chatted with two of their team members. One was based in Singapore… how cool is that? Both conversations gave me great career advice that included the idea of doing contractual consulting for them. We’ll see.
Workout with Josh = 8 times! I recommitted this month to 10,000 steps daily. I was on a 16 day streak of FitBit success when I fell. Literally, I went splat in an Elf inspired dive bar with a crooked floor. I did a full belly flop on the ground. The brunt of the impact knocked my shoe off. My right knee, the ‘good’ one, took the biggest hit. I hobbled home that night and all the next day. Since then, I’ve upped my icing, stretching, and Advil regimen to ensure I’m able to serve. Josh, as always, has been helpful with suggestions on how to strengthen and mobilize my legs.
Yoga = Daily Practice! I continue to do a 20-30 minute mediation practice daily. I also did both a restorative yoga class and yesterday’s day burning ritual. I feel the practice is helping open me further. When I am able to still my mind, I’m able to listen for the guidance of Divine Intervention/the Universe to guide me forward. It’s hard. My active mind would rather ruminate over the past or plan the future. I continually must shush the noise and untangle the distractions to make space to listen.
LinkedIn = 5 online classes! I’m taking advantage of time and the LinkedIn premium package. This month, I took courses on career success, managing brand reputation, digital leadership, and career advice from the biggest names in the business.
Theatre Reviews = 6 reviews! I saw and reviewed PLAINCLOTHES (Broken Nose Theatre), YIPPEE KAY YEAH CHRISTMAS (Yippee Company), THE SANTALAND DIARIES (Goodman Theatre), ALGORITHM (The Second City), CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE (Cirque), MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM (Chicago Shakes), and LA RUTA (Steppenwolf Theatre). I also was gifted a HAMILTON ticket. I was fortunate to see it for the second time. It remains my favorite musical of all times.
Journaling = 14 entries! I continue to chronicle this journey in my third book, “Unexpected Changes.”
Playing = YES! I had a lot of festive fun this month. I do love December for its lights and merriment!
I went to the movies with Maryam, James, Ellen, Robert, Bill, or Abby and saw “The Favourite”, “Boy Erased”, “Can you ever forgive me?”, “Roma” , “Mary Poppins”, “Mary Queen of Scots”, and “Spider-verse.” I am positioned perfectly for the Oscar nominations. I also had coffee with Katelynn. I had lunches with the Hamilton show goers, Maryam, and Abby & Taylor. I had dinners with Bill & James, Abby, and Josh.
I couldn’t wrangle anyone else to go so I wandered Zoolights by myself one foggy evening. On my birthday, I hosted a small wine, cheese and Christmas cookie gathering at my place. I was invited to 4 parties on December 15th but I couldn’t attend any of them because I had to serve that night. I did attend Bill, Roger and Ellen’s holiday party at Magnolia Manor on the next Saturday. I went home on Christmas Eve and celebrated with 75% of my family. It was our first Eve focused family gathering. It was ideal! On Christmas Day, I went to church with mom and dad. Afterwards, I got back into my pajamas. The parents, Jenny, Abby, Dolly (pictured above) and me lounged around and ate leftovers all day. A super chill holiday! I loved it!
Post Christmas, Crid & Derek were in from London so Bill & Roger hosted a dinner. And Scubi had a movie night featuring “The Greatest Showman.” It was a big month of socializing and I ended the month and the year with early drinks with Bill & Joe and Bill. They went on to their dinner reservations. And I went home and was fast asleep by 10. Yes, I found plenty of time to eat cookies, drink wine and laugh hard with family and friends.
I’m going to spend the next few days honing my goals for 2019. My yoga instructor encourages a list of at least twenty specific goals. After we burned 2018 down, she shared how she focuses daily on her list. I’m game. I’m ready to make changes in how I approach my goals. 2019 is going to be my big year!
Still, here’s one last look at my 2018 goals…
Student for life: I’ve listened to 1.5 books.
I listened to Shonda Rhimes’ book, The Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person. The very successful TV writer, creator, producer has a candid book about her personal struggles and challenges. She used a year of saying ‘Yes’ to things that scared her to reimagine her life and rid herself of unhealthy relationships. It’s very inspiring. It’s also written and narrated by Shonda in a playful and informal tone. She sounds like she’s talking to a friend not a reader. Loved it!
I’m also deliciously savoring My Dearest Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamole. It’s the amazing story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton. I’m always in awe whenever I hear the line in HAMILTON where Eliza sings ‘I stopped wasting time on tears, I lived another fifty years.’ And then she lists all her accomplishments. WOW!
The entire book has that awe effect on me. The authors wrote it from Eliza’s letters and diaries. It’s an intimate portrait of this woman who defined herself as the daughter of a general and wife of a patriot. She was very active in the Revolutionary War and forming the United States. History books fail to recognize the presence and participation of women on the battlegrounds and in the rooms ‘where it happened.’ I’m only halfway thru but I’m so inspired by this woman that I want to get a dog and name her Eliza Schuyler Hamilton Walsh.
The book also gives me solace in the current political climate by understanding real American history. I always thought The Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War united the country. It didn’t. There were factions that opposed both. Later, political parties sprung up to divide the nation with their difference of opinion on how the government should operate. They threatened violence. They conspired and schemed to get their way. President Washington and Secretary Hamilton lived in fear of an uprising that would see them executed. Eliza also was afraid. She worried her entire family might be hanging from the gallows for the pleasure of the Anti-Federalists, a group that included Jefferson and Madison.
The United States has had a tumultuous political history from its origins.
I feel best about exceeding this goal in 2018. Primarily because of my underemployment for the last six months, I’ve read a lot more and taken online courses and bootcamp workshops. 2018 has been a learning and growing year. I am a student for life.
Be an advocate for marginalized populations: I spent the first six months of 2018 working hard for runaway and homeless youth. The rest of the year I wasn’t as active in any cause other than myself. I know my new career will either be in a mission-driven organization or at a corporation. If I’m not working in a job championing a marginalized population, I plan to get involved with a cause that I can support as a volunteer or board member.
Be kind: I made Christmas cookies for friends, family and the Wood crew. I made another donation of clothing and knick-knacks to Brown Elephant. Although I work on being kinder, I’m blown away by the kindness of others. Michelle surprised me with flowers. Sue James got me a Target gift card. Steve and Mike treated me to a Bandera gift card, my favorite restaurant. My family spoiled me with unexpected extravagant gestures. I’m grateful for the kindness. It fuels my spirit and makes the journey so much nicer! I will pay it forward in 2019 and for the rest of my life.
Bye bye 2018, Hiya 2019! I’m practicing being more open to the limitless possibilities you bring me!