Climbing to 2012

Even as 2011 rolls bumpily and noisily on its way to 2012 I see that life, God, everything that is “planned”, continues to remind me that life is not a plan.  It is certainly not what I planned anyways.

2011, much like 2008 but thankfully not nearly as severe or heartbreaking or disastrous or destructive or horrific, was the year of plans being tossed.

I started off the year with a new title under my belt: College Graduate.  It was a proud moment in my life, one that I hoped would lead to a better career or position.  It did neither, but it did confirm my belief in myself to pursue my passions more wholeheartily.  It has taken a lot of work, but throughout 2011 I managed to land some jobs in copy writing, piano studies, creative writing tutoring and travel writing.  Essentially I didn’t get a better career but many more fun positions.

I won a Wyndham Women on their Way travel writing contest!  While I expected it to be “without a catch” there were some unexpected hiccups that meant adjusting the way I planned my travel and my finances.  Either way, it gave me the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica which was my first trip outside of North America and U.S. territories.  It was amazing and it stretched me a lot.  I learned a lot about the way I enjoy traveling (and not) and the types of places that suit my travel needs.  I still prefer a tent to a hotel room and a forest to a city.

A hallmark moment this year was becoming a first time (official) Auntie.  My little monkey was born on February 24th of this past year and I can honestly say that she spurred on lots of healing in my life this year.  Her birth rocked my world, and still does.  She’s sunshine in my life, constantly.

This year I learned about opening up and sharing with others, especially widows, things that I struggled to share publicly.  I began intense EMDR therapy to work through the trauma from Kevin’s illness and death.  This therapy helped me a lot to work through big chunks of the grieving process where I stuck, and also helped me in my relationships.  It allowed me to connect better with my boyfriend and for us to develop deeper ties with one another that I was afraid to commit to before.

I held 2 Team Sarcoma events with the help of amazing companies, family and friends.  I have been able to share on numerous guest posts and my story was even featured in a local paper.  I joined a writer’s co-op and have learned so much from them and felt more confident in my own skills.  I completed the first draft of the memoir.  I was invited to play tuba in a women’s ensemble at Carnegie Hall…

I broke my back.  I got my back fixed but wasn’t able to play at Carnegie.  I got teeth removed.  It took longer to heal than I ever imagined (I’m an inpatient patient).  And now I have colds that I am spreading all around me (sorry friends and family).  And the plans that I expected out of the year changed on me, as they always do.  The broken back too me out of commission halfway through the year and greatly altered how I planned to spend the latter half of 2011.

Hiking at the Delaware Water Gap - 2010

Part of me uses these changes as ammunition to ask “Why should I even bother dreaming?  Why should I even make plans?  Why should I try when it is all going to change anyways?”  But when I reflect on some (not all) of the changes, I do see that they were brought on by the efforts I put forth.  It doesn’t mean the final outcome was what I desired, but it wasn’t always bad, it wasn’t always good, but it was unique and challenging and wonderful.

My hopes for 2012 include editing my memoir and actively seeking a publisher.  I know this could mean that 2012 is the year of rejection, but I sincerely hope not.  I look forward to treating my body with care, gentleness, and feeding it with the attention that it desires after such a difficult 2011.  Most of all, I look forward to climbing mountains both literally and figuratively.  I am not afraid of what will come but what I am able to conquer.

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Comments 8

  1. Brenda,

    I wish you the best of luck, peace, and happiness for 2012! I look forward to keeping up with all of your adventures (climbing a mountain, eh? I can help with that), and I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things that this new year will bring you. Cheers!

    Katie Boué

  2. Sometimes we all feel so alone, like our problems are unique to the world. I can’t say I have been through what you have; but the changing of plans, the evolution of life (not always for what we deem ‘the good’) I’m beginning to realize is a common thread. I am not alone. Thank you for sharing your story, and best of luck in 2012!

  3. I hope you reach all your goals in 2012. I will be cheering you on!

  4. Thanks Sandy!

  5. Thanks Katie, same to you!

  6. Thanks Matt!

  7. Brenda —

    Even with only a partial year of being fully functional, you did so many things to be proud of and happy for in 2011 — you inspire and motivate me! I hope to make 2012 a great year, and this post helps me get in the mindset necessary to make that happen. You should be proud of what you’ve done, lady!


  8. Wendy, thank you for your encouragement! I can only hope that my 2012 is smoother, maybe even a bit less adventurous 😉 I wish a great 2012 to you as well!

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