Thinking back over the past year, I find that my emotions are a mix of:
Which one of these things is not like the other?
It’s not that the year itself has been terrifying. Quite the contrary, it has been one of the biggest and most dramatically different years of my life. But as we near the final day of 2010, I sense lingering rumblings of anxiety and anticipation as I ask myself, “what do the next 12 months hold?”
I recently reflected on this year’s personal goal on my other blog, Pursuing Our Passion. At the end of 2009, I challenged myself to love the ones I’m with – including myself. It seemed like such a simple goal at the time. No specific resolutions or must-dos other than to cherish the positives in my life every day.
But now, as I attempt to measure my success, I realize just how not simple it was.
January started out easy enough. I picked out wedding flowers and food, then got to hang out with two of my favorite people for a girl’s weekend. Yet behind the scenes, I was unhappy at my job and in the very early stages of figuring out how to change my working situation.
Fast forward one month and all of the sudden, Jill and I were taking the plunge. On February 12, we quit our steady corporate job. I celebrated a week later by making a big, sparkly announcement. And spilling the beans with some phenomenal bloggies at brunch.
When March 1 rolled around, I co-started a new blog and began working feverishly on learning the ins and outs of how to run a business. When I wasn’t researching tax and legal information, I was researching wedding vendors. Tough job, but somebody has to do it. 😉 I also celebrated Eating Bender’s 2nd Anniversary.
At the end of the month, two very wonderful, lifechanging events occured. POP! Social Media landed its first client – Flatout Bread – and we found out we were chosen to speak at BlogHer! We “popped” some champagne and looked forward to an exciting spring and summer.
In April, I traveled to Madison with Jill to speak with PRSSA students about personal branding. I was able to meet up with some special bloggers during my stay and Julie was kind enough to let me crash at her place, where we chatted about wedding planning and much more! My family and I traveled to Milwaukee to watch my baby cousin get baptized and Flatout Bread brought Jill and me to Michigan.
My absolute favorite month of the year, May, brought a combined birthday (mine) and Mother’s Day celebration in Arizona. I also attended SELF’s Workout in the Park with Karla and decided to go insane.
June was just a joy. I attended my cousin-in-law’s beautiful wedding and had a shower of my own (I also looked like I just got out of a shower in that Insanity recap video)! We celebrated my little brother Eric’s golden 17th birthday and wished Papa Bender a happy Father’s Day. I also was able to experience my first Sisterhood of the Traveling Pans dinner with Mara.
In July, I visited the Taste of Chicago and spent the 4th in Minnesota. The POP! Social Media team took a trip to visit our accountant (aka Mama Bender!) in Arizona and a whole lotta wedding planning ensued.
Perhaps one of the busiest months of the year was August! We traveled to New York for the BlogHer conference (Part I and Part II) and then I came back just in time for the Healthy Living Summit in Chicago (Part I, Part II and Part III). The third weekend, Bobby and I traveled to Wisconsin for a wedding and the fourth weekend I went to Arizona for my final dress fitting and plenty of other wedding details. WHEW!
**At this point in the post, I am wondering how I avoided going CRAZY.**
Annnyway, in September, my lovely bridal party put on a fantastic wedding shower and bachelorette party in Chicago. We celebrated Bobby’s birthday and things got a little sappy around these parts. I met up with some great bloggies at Flat Top and ventured yet again to Arizona, where we dotted more t’s and crossed more i’s…or something like that. I came back to Chicago one last time before the “big day” and saw my cousin Kelli.
Then, there was that pretty phenomenal month of October. All the months up to that point had been filled with fun and excitement, but this one took the cake. Literally and figuratively.
I said “I do” to the guy I don’t want to live without.
Much of it is documented on my wedding page, but there is more to come!
That month is a big, fantastic blur. Rather appropriately, at the tail end there was a trip to Vegas.
November was equally speedy and just as fun. My mom celebrated her 55th birthday and Bobby and I commemorated our 7-year dating itch. Then we embarked on our honeymoon (Part I and II so far) and came back just in time to give thanks.
And so, finally, the year of neverending love and laughter has reached December. I have admittedly done a poor job of documenting what has happened these past 30 days, but I think I ought to give the perfectionist in me a break on that one. There’s been one or two things going on…
Though I did make some delicious cookies. You should try them.
I spent Christmas in Minnesota with new family members and am fortunate enough to now be in Arizona for New Year’s with the “Bender clan.”
I can’t wait for a Papa Bender feast on New Year’s Eve.
I am never one to be short on positive adjectives, but there truly aren’t enough in my vocabulary to describe the year I’ve had. The people I’ve met, the places I’ve been and the things I’ve experienced are unbeatable…at least until 2011. 😉
Through it all, my amazing family and friends have kept me grounded, talked me down off the cliff (more than once) and provided me with the strength to keep calm and carry on with the seemingly insurmountable pile of need to-dos and want to-dos.
And once again, through it all, I’ve had YOU.
The amazing readers who have stuck with me, even when my posting was lackluster and unpredictable. When there would be an entire week of silence for no apparent reason.
After writing this post, I’ve realized – there were many, many reasons.
Thank you for realizing that, too, and for still being willing to come along for the wild ride.
Looking forward into the new year, my goals have a rather familiar theme.
- Love my husband.
- Love my family.
- Love my work.
- Love myself.
Still simple, yet to me, more powerful than ever. After all, this mindset is what allowed me to have one of the best years of my life.
Cheers to you, 2010.