Thorn = a not-so-fun/bad/sad thing that happened
Rose = the highlight, a wonderful thing that happened
Rosebud = something you are looking forward to
Thorn- I really, truly only have one thorn this year, our financial situation. Unlike a lot of people I don't blame the government, I don't blame anyone but us. I know looking back at choices we made exactly why we are here right now. Some days it makes it easier, but most days it is still just hard.
I attended school full time from 07-09 and worked only a few hours per week during those two years. We burned through our rather generous savings account during this time. We sold not one, but two houses in 2009, one at the beginning of the recession and the other smack in the worst part of the fall of 2009. We had put a lot of time and money into rehabbing the second, and didn't recoup it during the sale. Why did we sell when we did? Well, my husband lost his job in Pennsylvania and we decided we wanted to move back to the south. When he landed a job, it was at a fraction of his former salary. But it helped us get back home. So, 2010 has been a year like the two of us have never seen, financially, since the early days of our marriage 16 years ago. Our life right now is literally paycheck to paycheck for the first time in probably 14 years. We have nothing in our savings account for the first time in 10 years. I haven't found a job here. It is hard. But we'll make it through, with lots of hard work. I know we will.
Roses- My first rose for 2010 is my weight loss. It has been about so much more than just being a smaller person, it has let me be the person I used to be. It has changed me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am not done, but I have lost about 80% of what I wanted to lose, and I feel like a real person again. It wasn't easy, and keeping it off will be even harder, but it has pushed me into wanting to be fit and knowing that the only way I can keep feeling good is to continue to exercise and eat healthy.
My second rose for 2010 is the flash of realization I had last April, and all that it encompasses. Turning my life around, figuring out a life plan, knowing I want to write, writing 50,000 words toward a novel during National Novel Writing Month, seeing my first published pieces in the local paper and receiving seeing my first paycheck from writing. Wow! What a year. Just goes to show that when you KNOW what you want, you have more confidence and things just fall into place. I heard people say this for more years than I care to count, and I was always so jealous and resentful that they found their true passion. I know now that getting there takes a tough journey and a lot of introspection, and sometimes seeking out something way beyond your comfort level.
Rosebuds- My first rosebud for 2011 is that I am enrolled at WKU to finish up a bachelor's degree. I am so excited about taking my first ever writing classes that I can't stand it. I know it will be hard, and possibly soul-crushing at times, but I am really looking forward to it, and feel so fortunate to have received a small scholarship this year to assist me in returning.
My second rosebud is that I have 3 big design projects to finish up in 2011 and I am looking forward to getting more design work once those are completed and out in the world. I am looking forward to being paid for all the hard work I put in this year, of course, but I also think I will get more leads from these three clients than I had all year last year.
My third rosebud is that I am looking forward to getting back to exercising and getting my body firmed up from my weight loss. I can't wait to be back in shape. Losing so much weight so quickly leaves your body in such a state, I don't even want to go into it. But I am looking forward to continuing yoga, water aerobics, walking and maybe adding Zumba in there somewhere.
This year has been pretty amazing, really. It has been more financially difficult than I could have ever imagined facing in my 40's, but I think in the end we are going to learn spending restraint and many other valuable lessons from our horrible 2010. I can't complain, they are probably lessons we needed to learn anyway. I am looking forward to some great things happening in 2011 and have been spending my week mapping out all the goodness that will go on to get me where I want to be in 2012.
I want to add another rose actually, for which I am so very thankful this year. It is something wrapped up in my realization, but deserves mentioning on its own. I am so happy to be making writer friends in the virtual world, simpatico people who are like me and who are better than me. Who make me laugh and inspire me, who challenge me and who make me think. I love all of you shiny new friends.
If you want to meet some of my bloggie friends and participate in Jana's challenge here's what ya' do: