There is nothing quite like ending a year with a bit of closure. For me 2012 was a year where great strides were taken, and some issues came back after I thought I knew better.
I learned that my heart worked perfectly fine. I learned that I could love other people's children as if they were my own. I dug deep and tried to mentor, to set a good example, especially if that meant standing my ground for positive values and ethics...even under considerable fire. I loved so deep that I thought my heart was going to burst in two, then loved some more. I loved angry kids, troubled kids, cuddly kids, and shy ones. Most importantly I learned how to navigate the difficult terrain of loving a child who is incapable of love. That one was no picnic, and I shed many tears, but learning of an other's emotional shortcomings rarely comes without facing some tough emotions in your own right.
I learned a great deal about personality disorders this year. I learned as much as I could, but was still reeling when a beautiful soul decided to take her own life. No matter how much I read, I could never understand what she felt.
There were many ethical issues that I had to navigate through this year. I had to learn how to say "no" quite effectively in both work and personal circles. I had to remind myself of the diplomacy skills that I hold dear to my heart. I was surrounded by people with grossly different political views from mine, from Washington state onwards. I bit my lip so hard so many times as I let others speak, but made sure not to let them speak for me.
I learned a lot of things. I put my money where my mouth is and wasn't a dreaded "talker." I dug in dirt, built gardens, edited video, bottle fed baby animals, and fixed a car. I returned to teaching for a brief reminder of the power of sharing knowledge. It was a hands on kind of year.
I made a lot of great recipes this year. My stomach ruled 2012. I went well out of my way to tamper with tried and true recipes and make them suitable for others with intolerance. I remembered old friends like molasses cake and Irish soda bread, and maintained the continuum that food creates in our lives.
I was very kind to animals this year, caring for numerous creatures of all sizes and temperaments. One such memory is of rescuing a horse from a hail storm. The look in the horse's eyes was unforgettable, it is burned into my soul.. I fell in love with the intelligence that animals display, if you bother to watch.
I returned to old friends to remind them that they are forever in my heart. I told them that they are worth traveling for. I logged many miles to remind people that they are unforgettable.
I had to learn how to deal with another person's addiction this year. It is a touchy issue that I had to revisit. Finding the balance between having empathy for an other's choices, and enabling those choices was a very fine line to make. It was also a matter of quality of life for myself.
I took considerable risk this year. I went out into the unknown, simply because I knew it was time. I had to find courage, and believe in myself.
So as I sit looking forward into the new year, I see several areas where I can do better this year. More experiences that I would like to have in my life, and qualities that I want to nurture in my own person...but more on that later.