Sunday, January 01, 2012

what I learned in 2011

365 days ago
I feel almost required to sum up the year in a blog post. Reflecting back on the past year & past blog posts, I kind of laughed to myself as I read my January 2, 2011 post:
My Pro-Life new year's resolution: more compassion. The "I know I'm right, how can anyone think differently" attitude has to go and an "I am lucky enough to have been granted understanding and wisdom at a young age and it is my duty to share what I've learned and help those in difficult situations and love those that think I'm crazy" attitude needs to come in.
 Did I accomplish this goal? I believe I made some positive strides towards improving my attitude, but much can always be done in the field of compassion. One thing I noticed that has changed in the past 365 days is that I don't allow my spirit to be crushed by others quite as easily; my heart still aches for those hurt by the injustices of our world, but I've realized that allowing my sadness to paralyze me really helps no one.

What I learned in 2011

  • the value of the individual
    Meeting a homeless man named Chris while in D.C. for the March for Life was one of the most incredible hours of my life. Taking time to talk to strangers was a huge part of my growth this year and Chris was the first who opened my eyes to the poor & suffering, my ears to the stories of the homeless, and my heart to those in need.
  • the power of good
    Also at the March for Life, feeling the presence of hundreds of thousands of people who share many different beliefs, but the common goal & belief in ending abortion... that was just what I needed to refresh my weary heart.
  • the surrender to calling
    Realizing that double-majoring in Creative Writing and Spanish was not for me was long overdue. Thanks to an incredible teacher, Stacie McGee (if anyone Googles her and this page comes up, all I have to say is TAKE. HER. CLASS.), I decided to switch my major to Social Work after my first day in Intro to Social Work. Now I am OFFICIALLY a Social Work major and I feel that this is what I was intended for.
  • the shame of irresponsibility
    One of the most painful and embarrassing lessons I have had to learn... don't bite off more than you can chew. I did that this year and I am still catching up from everything I delayed and everyone I have let down. Still, I can't think too much about my failures of this year because it literally makes me sick with just feeling bad, but I plan to make up for this in 2012, because being afraid to check voicemails, emails, and answer the phone shouldn't be scary... and when you let like 5 people down every week, it gets scary.
  • the importance of taking care of myself
    This goes hand in hand with the shame of irresponsibility. When I take on too many tasks, I forget to take care of myself and then I make myself sick and then I can't accomplish anything and then it is just a horrible downward spiral of disappointing others, feeling nauseous, and constantly hustling to catch up.
  • the joy of friendship
    This year taught me a lot about friendship, and getting older for that matter. Seemingly strong friendships that couldn't stand the test of time broke my spirit for a while this year, but it was such a short while because of the new found friendships, no, sisterhood, I discovered in my NRL Academy sisters. The whole "count your true friends on one hand" saying became more true, only I have to use both hands and probably a foot, too, but still- I'm realizing that as I get older I am just "catching up" with old friends maybe once or twice a year, because that's all we have time for. I'm only 20 and I only have time to see some of my close friends once a year. That scares me a little, but also comforts me knowing that I can count on some people with such certainty even though we see each other so rarely. This year also strengthened bonds with my TRTL Babes. One of the biggest blessings of friendship, my sweet Ryan friend who is now my super hot bearded boyfriend, also sweetened my life this year.
  • the love in sacrifice
    The older I get, the more I realize my parents love me. If I think about this one too much I start to cry because I think of all the ways that I have failed them and then think of how continuously they love me and make sacrifices to ensure my happiness...kind of like how the Father loves his children. I've got really great parents.
  • the fragility of life
    The passing of Jon Scharfenberger shook me in a way I didn't quite understand. I felt wrong for feeling so emotional and destroyed over his death, as I did not know him well. I spent a lot of time praying for him and thinking about him and am still incredibly inspired by his life and all the amazing work he did while he was with us on this earth. I think of him often, especially one of the first times I saw him at the NRL Convention when he was over by the doors the Republican presidential candidates were coming in and I thought to myself, wow he looks official for an intern! It scares me that death can come so quickly and so unexpectedly. I learned to appreciate those in my life more; never let the sun set upon my anger.
  • the courage to carry on
    There were times when I felt so broken in 2011 that I wanted to crawl into a hole and stay there for a long time until everything was good and happy and perfect (aka forever I guess), but the resiliency of the human spirit and the uplifting power of friendship and prayers from those friends got me through. I learned that sometimes everything really feels like it sucks, and lots of those times things probably do really suck, but at the end of the day I just need to go to sleep so I can wake up. Few things are as bad in the morning as they are at night - except for a sore throat. I learned a lot about myself and my values. I recognized things in myself that I need to change- my emotional responses to things that just need to be thought out and rationalized, my negative attitudes, etc. 
I think 2011 was a good year. A lot less crying than 2010. Heck, a lot less crying than just Fall of 2010 - LOL. Tomorrow I want to write out my goals for 2012. I've got em in my mind but need to get em written out.


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