The Big Roller-Coaster Ride of 2011

I am so grateful for all of the support I’ve gotten from each and every one of my fantastically awesome readers this year. This blog, and some of the accomplishments I’m about to list wouldn’t exist without you!!! Words can’t fully express the gratitude I feel — if I could hug you in person, I would. Thank you.  

When 2010 ended and 2011 began, we all had resolutions.

Some of us wanted to lose weight

Some of us wanted to simply maintain the weight we lost. In February, I celebrated losing 50lbs over the course of about 8 months, and although I did teeter-totter up & down about 5-10lbs throughout the year, I am ending the year right at that 50lb lost mark. Sure, the first half of the weight came off because of mono, but the 2nd half was due to my change in attitude over food… and life. Losing 50lbs is definitely an accomplishment I am proud of; the fear of gaining the weight you worked so hard to lose is a heavy weight to carry. But I didn’t obsess about it, I just monitored my weight on a weekly basis and if it went up, I really focused on eating smaller portions, being active, and my weight would shift appropriately. 

Another resolution I had at the beginning of 2011? Maintain a positive attitude. 
Maintaining a positive attitude was a bigger challenge than I imagined this year. My world was shattered when I heard about the Tucson shooting. Closer to home, I saw several loved ones struggle to survive… and pass away… a couple friends passed suddenly. Just when I felt life was so good, the rug would be ripped out from under me, challenging that positive attitude. I learned just how fragile the heart is… and that cancer is a dirty whore. However, through these life-altering moments, I did my best to embrace & cherish every moment I had. Because of my niece’s fragile state of living, the hubs & I lived many days of this year with a big question-mark-shaped-cloud over it… yet… we did our best to fully embrace, and sometimes laugh at each big and small moment we had with the children & as a couple. Living for today.

Despite these ups & downs, I accomplished much more than I imagined in 2011.

* I maintained my weight after a decade of yo-yoing up & down ok, mainly up. 

* I kept up with Momma Needs a Beer by writing about 2-3 a week, and even wrote daily, wait, make that 32 posts in April!

* I started practicing yoga in a studio again.

* I celebrated my first blogiversary — and that same day I was knocked out while having a growth on my foot removed surgically. I had to stay off my feet for 3 weeks — not a huge accomplishment, but the growth was cancer-free, and I maintained my sanity… and enjoyed wearing sandals again!! Even little victories should be celebrated!

* I attended a few beer events! Michigan Winter & Summer Beer Fests and the first Beer Social GR!
* I travelled: all over Michigan, from Petoskey and Manistee to East Lansing & the Detroit area, but the big trip of the year was San Diego and Salt Lake City with the hubs.
* I finally found a swimsuit I loved and actually enjoyed wearing a swimsuit again this summer if you’re a woman with kids & stretch-marks, I’m sure you can understand the level of accomplishment here.
* I attended my first Blogging Conference and rubbed noses with a celebrity!  
* I became a work-at-home Momma! I am now a paid, free lance writer. Email me if you are in need of content articles and beyond! 
* I prioritized relationships with my kids, husband, friends & family… while doing my best to put my own needs first at times. 
* I watched my children grow up — we now live in a diaper-free home, my now 7 year-old decided to chop her hair and both kids are in school! WOOHOO! And *sob*… 
* I captured a week in my life with Adventuroo… and I’m so grateful I did
* I savored a few opportunities from the Clever Girls Collective and was even featured in a CGC video with P!nk!
* My writing was featured on BlogHer, Daily Buzz Moms, Mommy Page and Band Back Together
* I attended a few amazing concerts with people I adore!
* I survived a full week of single-parenthood while the hubs worked in Switzerland… and we all lived to tell the tale!
* I hosted a Christmas cocktail party… without freaking out! 
* I kept singing at church, on a few beaches, in my car, etc. 
I went with the flow of life more than ever, while doing my best to maintain a positive attitude.
I’ve had a few years where I thought good riddance at the end of it. But have you ever reflected on a year and realized just how much you packed in… how much you evolved? I mean, I worked my ass off to accomplish some of the above. Other moments fell into my lap. I am damn proud of all of it. Feels so good to finish off a year and know you did your best to soak it all in & make the most of it.
The downside to living your life to the fullest? The guilt you feel when great things happen to you, while terrible things are happening to the ones you love. The guilt you feel when you have a bad day, but soon realize that your day isn’t nearly as awful as a loved one’s definition of a “good” day. I’m sure my sister would take a mono-relapse over watching her daughter suffer right now. Finding the light through these wicked storms is tough, but I highly doubt the people I love would want me to wallow and stop doing the things I love simply because they are suffering. I empathize with their situations and do what I can to reach out and help them if I can, but sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to fix the situation the way you’d like to. Accepting that was one of my toughest challenges of the year.

Life is truly a roller-coaster ride: sometimes it’s more fun than you imagined, sometimes you feel like you could fall out or vomit. Other-times, you want to find a way to exit because it’s too damn scary! There are surprises, twists & turns. Whether your arms are up with excitement, or you’re white knuckling your way through, holding on for dear life… my wish to all of you is to ride the roller-coaster with your eyes wide open, and find a way to scream with joy — or fear, for that matter — through it all. Don’t keep your emotions inside. Express yourself. Life is too short to sit on the sidelines, watching the roller-coaster of life fly by. 
Cheers to all of you… may 2012 be your best year yet! 
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