Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year

2013 was a disruptive and emotionally challenging year. I began the year with a job hunt that led to moving to Orlando at the beginning of May. The day after we moved, my father suffered a massive stroke. I traveled to Chicago this summer for the national conference for my profession, and ran my first 5k while there. That experience encouraged me to train for and run in my first half marathon. I’ve been dealing with some minor health issues – weird blood work results that are still lingering and that still have no attributed cause. I spent Christmas with my family in upstate NY, and the rest of the holiday season back at home in Orlando with Carly and Emmy.

This year has been one of self-assessment, mindfulness, and a renewed passion for healthy living. I started up this blog again in early August, and have posted 69 entries since then. I didn't keep good track of my mileage since I began running outdoors faithfully in May, but from the records I did keep I estimate that I ran around 400 miles from May-December. I have found a passion for podcasts, and for interacting with various health and wellness related online communities. I read 84 books in 2013, up from 75 last year. I really enjoy reading and am aiming for at least 90 books in 2014.

My Dad started in the hospital, moved to an in-patient rehabilitation facility, then to a nursing home, and finally came home the day after Thanksgiving. He is in a wheelchair and relies on the help of others to get in and out of bed. He has limited use of his right side, but is still working with a physical and occupational therapist on a weekly basis. He initially had a feeding tube and is now able to eat pureed food. His speech is not where it was, but he can easily be understood and hold a conversation. Most importantly, he is as mentally sharp as ever and almost beat me in Trivial Pursuit at Christmas.

My Mom is incredibly tough and has persevered in the face of this tremendous adversity. I know she reads this so I won’t get too cheesy, but I have seen her adapt and become a much stronger person as a result of this hardship. We are hoping to find a time in 2014 for her to come visit Florida for a leisurely weekend.

Last run of 2013, 5 miles! Posing with one of my favorite Christmas gifts!

In the next year I am looking forward to keeping on track with my running goals. I would like to start two habits this year: journaling and meditation. I bought a new journal yesterday and am tackling that first, with a plan to write at least a paragraph every night before I go to sleep. I kept a journal in this fashion for almost 3 years without a break when I was 12-15 and I look forward to the experience. Once I have cemented that habit I will work on meditation, a tool that I have used sporadically throughout this year. I have been working on not obsessing about how much time I have, and I have often let meditation slip because I fear the time spent will detract from other things. I am hopeful that I can remedy this in 2014.

New shoes should help me stay on track!

In my professional life I am embarking on some projects that will hopefully lead to publication, and will continue working on several national committees to give back to my profession. I enjoy my job and my work environment, and remind myself daily that this is a blessing. In my personal life my biggest quest for 2014 is to make more connections by meeting people and fostering friendships that have blossomed this year. I went to my first bikram yoga class on Monday and enjoyed the sense of community I felt there. I have joined some new Meetup groups and hope these will engender new connections.

The beginning of our New Year's Eve and darts!

I wish you all the best for 2014. I know from experience that you can face enormous challenges and still live a healthy life. In fact, I think a focus on health and wellness equips you to better handle anything that comes along. Happy New Year!

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