Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The 52 Week Challenge: 2011 - A Positive Outlook

I don't know what I am thinking starting a blog post like this in the evening when my brain has essentially 'turned off' for the day.  I can already feel my eyelids getting heavy and I just want to sit here and be a lump until I call it a night in the next hour or so. 


I just so happened to check out Deb's Home Life Simplified site and came across the  52 Weeks to Simplify Your Life Challenge and upon reading the first challenge felt compelled to partake.  I love Deb's site and think it is brilliant, though I must admit I am not one to jump in with gusto when it comes to these life/self-improvement gigs (mostly because I am lazy!).  This one really called to me.  Right now I cannot promise I will follow through with the whole 52 weeks, but I am definitely intrigued!  And well, this first challenge I think would be a good practice for anyone.

So here it is, a post to look at the bright side of 2011.

Now, I confess that I already feel pretty good about this past year.  I know that in a recent post I gave a run down of what the year held in store for us, and there were a lot of not so nice things.  But I felt like I did a lot of soul searching this year, and I learned a lot about myself in the process.

Anyone who has read my blog up until now might already know that a lot has changed for us in the past two years.  In 2010 we had a new baby, and moved our little family 2hrs away from the only area I had ever known my whole life, where all my friends and family were.  My husband started a new job, and we started a new life.  And it was rough.  I really struggled to find my place.  I spent that whole first year here in a constant state of regret for having moved here.  While I have never actually suffered from post partum depression, all these changes so soon after having a new baby left me feeling lower than I ever had in my life.  My relationship with my husband really suffered, and I felt so alone in the world.  I really struggled with myself as a mother, trying to parent my toddler while also taking care of a baby that never seemed to sleep and left me in a state of complete sleep deprivation 24/7.  No friends to talk to, no time for myself.  In addition to all this, the entire move took a toll on our already hurting bank account as well, which made our situation all that much more stressful.

I know this sounds like a lot of terribly negative stuff for a post that is supposed to be positive, but bear with me here because I am getting to the point.  Afterall, dawn comes after even the darkest nights, and I consider the second half of 2010 and first bit of 2011 to have been possibly the darkest night of my life and it seemed like the sun would never rise.

After what seemed like a cruel and endless winter, spring arrived and with it the hope for a new chance to be happy in our new life, and not a moment too soon.  Simply being able to get out more once the weather was nicer was a huge step in the right direction.  In the spring we got a membership to the local Y, where I finally found some time for me.  I managed to put aside the martyr syndrome that meant I needed to be with my children every minute, and take time for myself to exercise.

As spring emerged so did everyone in hibernation.  Finally I was starting to see the same familiar faces at the playgroups that I had been going to for weeks.  Next thing I knew friendships were blossoming, and I was starting to connect with other moms in my neighbourhood.  That was another huge step for me, a breath of fresh air.  Meeting these women and starting to socialize was one of the highs of my year.  Since becoming a mother in 2008 I longed for other mom friends, and had yet to make any really good ones.  I was starting to think I would never meet anyone I could relate to.  I can't tell you how good I felt when I saw these friendships with these special women starting to take place.

Over the course of the summer I really saw my life turn around.  In fact, I have already blogged about it here:  360.  The change in how I felt about our life, about myself, about everything this past summer was one of the biggest changes of my life.  I really saw our life start to take shape, to take meaning.  For years we seemed so transient, never knowing where things were taking us, and finally it seemed like we were becoming grounded and focusing on what we wanted.

The end of the summer saw my husbands parents buying a property, moving here, and starting a business.  My husband quit his job, a job that he didn't enjoy, to work with them in starting their business.  From the moment he starting doing this I saw a change in him, I saw how he was now doing what he was meant to do in life.  It's amazing how different people are when they are doing what they love best.  I have loved watching him take so much joy and pride in what he does.  This family adventure of starting a hops farm has been an exhilarating and exciting event for us, one that leaves us in anxious anticipation of what the future holds.

Fall brought with it the exciting news that we would be adding a new baby to the family, something that I had been hoping for for a long time.  Even despite having a rocky first year with our second son, I always knew in a heartbeat I would do it all again and had hoped that we would be able to grow our family further.  To say that we are excited about this new addition is an understatement, we are ecstatic.

There are no words really to describe what 2011 meant to me.  It has been a year of change, of maturity for us as individuals, and as a family.  It has been the year where we have discovered who we are, what we want, and where we are going.  We have learned so much about ourselves and what we want out of life, and we are feeling so good about things going into 2012.

So in a list, the positives of 2011:
  • I have taken control of my health and have started eating better and exercising
  • I have made wonderful new friends and no longer feel like a loner
  • We have finally sorted out our finances and taken measures to save and get back on track
  • We have grown stronger as a couple, and as a family
  • My older son started school and is thriving
  • My younger son started sleeping like a champ and has become an amazing little toddler
  • My in-laws have moved here and we have family nearby to support us
  • We have joined forces with them to embark on the exciting challenge of starting a new business
  • We found out we are pregnant!
  • We feel like we have found our place, our home, and have begun to put down roots
  • Oh, and I turned 30!  Which I have come to look upon as a very positive thing!
I don't feel like this post has done Deb's challenge justice, as I am just not good at articulating how I feel (though it is apparent that I am good at rambling on and on!).  Deb asked, and my answers are:
What energised you?  Exercise, feeling good about life, the new family business venture
What made you feel happy?  Making new friends, watching my children grow, seeing my husband happy at work
What made you feel at peace?  The feeling that we are finally on the right track
What positive people lifted you up?  My wonderful husband, my children, my new friends, my in-laws
What filled your "tank"?  Finally finding time to take care of myself
What worked to bring your family together?  Making a conscious effort to spend more quality time together
What is something that made you feel excited to dive right in?  Everything about this year!
What did you learn (positive things)?  I learned that I can be the person that I want to be if I think positively
What are you grateful for?  My husband, my children, my family, my health

I feel like a student and this was my homework assignment.  It has been a long time since I have been in school, and I think we tend to forget how good it is for us to challenge ourselves with assignments.  It's easy to think "I'm done with that part of life, I never want to go back to school!", but these kinds of challenges are what keep us sharp, and keep us learning new things.

Thanks Deb!


  1. I am so happy to see you joining in and only feel bad that I have not been reading your blog lately (sorry lovely!) - your list was wonderful without worrying about my questions (they were just a guide in case people needed prompting) - so much goodness and I am glad you now feel you have found your place!

    deb @ home life simplified

  2. It sounds like you had an amazing 2011 - there is nothing like the feeling of finally being 'home' and like your life is in a 'spring' season.. looking forward to reading you more this year :)

  3. Thank you ladies! My blog isn't terribly interesting usually I'm afraid, but I'm hoping the 52wk challenge might give it more purpose! xxx

  4. It is so like a school assignment isn't it. Geez haven't been there for a good 20 years! :O

    I love that you made new friends and no longer felt like a loner. I feel like that all too regularly with our closest friends with children being at different stages of their lives (back at work, or only just having babies).

    How wonderful for your husband to finally be doing something he loves. Yay to your inlaws for making the move/change.

  5. What a huge turnaround from '10 to '11. So pleased for you.

    Loved your post!