Friday, December 30, 2011

Happiness is...a feeling of accomplishment.

Wow, where does the time go? It's hard to believe that 2011 is nearly gone. This past weekend I sat down with the grand intentions of getting my scrapbook all caught up before I leave on my trip. I know I'll come home and want to get the new pictures (there are sure to be millions!) printed and everything documented before I forget or get too overwhelmed with the busyness of life that things get pushed aside. Which is apparently what happened last year because I haven't scrapbooked anything since last December. I'd love to blame it on the wild and crazy life I was so busy living but looking back through the photos and trying to determine which ones to print out and have waiting for me when I get home I was disappointed in the lack of scrapbook worthy photos and events.

That's not to say I wasn't busy. There were plenty of things going on but they fell more into the category of mundane every day life than exciting excursions, events or adventures. Here's a brief and highly guestimated accounting of some of the things I've done over the past year...

~~Number of books read: Goodreads has the count being just over 600 but I would up that to at least 650 as many of the picture books and review books I read don't make it onto the list. Reading that many, sometimes several in one day, they all tend to mush together in my little brain. Most of my favorites I've already reviewed here but here are a few that still stand out and I find myself recommending to others and thinking about even months after finishing them.
In 2012 I'd like to focus on reading (or re-reading) some of the classics, for both adults and children. I'd love some recommendations!

~~Movies attended: Counting up the ticket stubs I've saved gives me 24, give or take a few. I could probably stand to see a few less in the coming year (my wallet would thank me for sure) but I saw a few winners and there are a couple coming up that I'm particularly excited about.
2011 Faves: 
2012 Hopefuls: 
  • The Hobbit. Should I insert the trailer again? Yes, I think I should!
  • The Hunger Games. I only hope this lives up to the book.
  • Big Miracle Because I'm a sucker for animal movies, and whales
  • The Avengers Because I'm a nerd, remember (and without this, the summer of the superhero would have been mostly for naught)
  • The Dark Knight Rises Again with the superheroes...and Christian Bale
~~Performances (concerts, plays etc.) attended: 16. Oh, such a sad number! There should be at least 2 each month! Bon Jovi and Josh Groban were both amazing but I think Newsies tops out as the overall winner. There was also an abundance of banjos, all of which made me happy and Trampled by Turtles probably reigns in that arena. I vow to do more of this next year, even if I have to starve to do it!

~~Trips taken: Again with the sad numbers. It didn't help that I had to work nearly every 3 day weekend this year. That really cuts down on the travel opportunities. I did get to New York a couple of times, my trip to Utah this summer included some road trips to both Yellowstone and Capitol Reef, and we roadtripped to Pittsburgh for Monsieur Bon Jovi but all in all a rather sad showing. 

Next year is already poised to beat it with my huge trip in just a few days. I'd like to do some camping this summer (preferably on the beach), and maybe get out to visit my old roommate who is living in Oregon (that'd be one more state down only 8 -I think- to go!) My sister and I have grand plans to hit eastern Europe later this year and I'd love to visit Salem, Concord and Boston in the fall. We'll see how the money/job thing cooperates with all of those plans!

~~Goals/resolutions accomplished: I'd had a couple of different sets of goals, one being to do 35 new things (1 for each year I've been on this earth) and the other to do at least one thing a month that scared me, in addition to the ever-present hopes of exercising daily, losing a few pounds, finding my soul mate, winning the lottery and the like. I've made it up to 30 new things and 10 things that scared me. I guess I have a couple of days left to see if I can get them all in.

Next year I'm going to hang on to those lose a few pounds/win the lottery goals and maybe simplify the others a bit making it 2 or 3 new things each month or something along those lines. Here are a few I hope to try and accomplish:
  • run a 5K
  • learn to make bread--the real kind, with yeast and kneading and rising and the whole deal
  • attend either the Thanksgiving Day parade or the New Year's Eve spectacular in NYC
  • take a photography class
  • attend a Civil War reenactment
  • visit Lincoln's Cottage
  • visit the Newseum
  • snowshoeing in West Virginia
Some bigger habit-type goals rather than a one shot bucket list event include:
  • finishing one of my books
  • playing the piano every day--eventually I'd like to find a trumpet teacher and take some lessons but I figure I'd better brush up on some of my basics of note reading and counting before I do
  • improving my scripture study to include actual in-depth study topics rather than just skimming a few verses before bed
  • exercising (this goes along with the 5K thing listed above)
What are some of your goals and resolutions? What have you done that you'd recommend?

Let's finish with some year-end randomness...

Favorite discoveries: 
  • fresh figs-I've spent my entire life despising figs based solely on my interactions with Fig Newtons. Who knew that fresh ones were delicious?!
  • banjo music!! I've always loved the banjo but this year has really broadened my horizons and introduced me to some fabulous bands. My life will never be the same :)
  • Pinterest! it's addicting but has kept me sane many an afternoon at work. I've used it for party planning and dream house decorating,making dinners and Christmas gifts, planning imaginary weddings and feeding my need for list making. Again, my life will never be the same.
  • Blogging. Who knew I would enjoy this so darn much? There may be some format changes to come but I'm not going anywhere.
In addition to all that I have moved, said goodbye to old friends and made and developed some amazing new friendships. I've seen friends fall in love and friends get married and I've laughed and cried, and laughed and cried some more (though I think, looking back, I've probably laughed more than cried which is a good thing.) I've seen some breathtaking sights and eaten some incredible food. I've spent time holding hands with my grandfather and being smothered by hugs and kisses from my nephews. I've taken on challenges and struggles and come out victorious (for the most part). I've made changes and breakthroughs and even gone on a few dates! (Miraculous, I know!) Sure, there's always room for improvement and more change and adventure is on the horizon but 2011 has been a good year. To quote the chairman of the board, "it was a very good year." And may 2012 be even better!

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