Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections on a bitter-sweet 2009

2009 can be most accurately described as a year of chaotic stability.  I have experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life.  The challenges, successes, struggles, opportunities, and experiences that have characterized this year have lead me to great growth as an individual, friend, and student.  Although this year has been characterized by much loss and difficulty it has also been characterized by joy and celebration.  In 2009, I fell in love which in the end resulted in a broken heart.  This is something that changed my life profoundly and something I have struggled with more than most people realize.  2009 introduced me to one of my very best friends, Mandy.  This friendship was unique from the beginning and strengthened within the context of one of the most difficult situations I have ever been involved in.  A situation that challenged me as an individual and a friend.  I feel so blessed to have been a part of Mandy's support group, and am SO proud of the growth and progress that she has made throughout this year.

I have also had the privilege of being involved in a variety of joyous occasions throughout 2009.  I had the honor of being the maid of honor in my best friend, Rachel's wedding.  I feel so blessed that Rach chose to include me in her special day.  It was even more meaningful now that she and I are living at opposite "poles" of the US (she's in Texas while I'm in Minnesota). In August I had the opportunity to attend another good friend's wedding in Cancun, Mexico.  I felt so blessed to be included in Sophia's wedding, especially since she now lives far away in London.  This was my first real vacation and I had the opportunity to spend it with my best friend.  There is absolutely nothing better than lying on the beach in the sun, listening to the waves crash against the beach, with a mango margarita in hand.  I've NEVER been more relaxed in my entire life.  More recently, I've enjoyed celebrating the engagements of my brother, Josh & his fiancee Whitney, and my best friend, Leslie.  

Personally, I have made great strides this year in becoming the person that God intends me to be.  I have grown immensely as an individual this year.  I've uncovered my own strength and resilience; and have discovered my capacity to love unconditionally.  Scholastically, I've successfully completed half of my doctorate coursework and have decided upon my dissertation topic.  I have also made great strides in my professional development by presenting my thesis research in the form of presenting a research poster at the National Council on Family Relations annual conference in San Francisco.  

As most people who know me well know, I prefer a life of chaotic stability to a life of stagnation.  Although this kind of life is characterized by high highs and low lows, I would rather experience the lowest of lows knowing that I am living a passionate life.  Knowing that the life experiences I have are giving me opportunities for personal growth.  While in many ways 2009 has been associated with difficulty, pain, and heartache, I recognize the silver lining in these experiences.  As I have often been told, nothing in life that's worth having comes easy.  Personal growth is not easy.  Love is NOT easy.  Life is not easy.  The most profound realization that has occurred to me in 2009 is the importance of living and loving fiercely, passionately, authentically, generously, and wisely.  While this is not easy, and as I've come to realize, at times quite difficult and painful, in my humble opinion, it is the only way to live a life that is worthwhile.  


AngelaMae said...

All I can say is that you inspire me!

Rachel and Matt said...

You have been a great inspiration to me as well. You picked up and left the only place you have ever known and moved to a major city by yourself! And look at all that has come with that. I agree that it was a hard year for you but also a great one. You are truly a blessing to have in my life and I wouldn't have had my wedding any other way. You are an amazingly strong woman and I know that 2010 will be just as chaotic (in a good way). Much love to you up north!

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