The last twelve months have taken me to two dozen states, but it has also moved me from a place of earning to one of experiencing. For the first time in a long time, possibly ever, my personal life has taken priority over my career. Instead of focusing on achieving professional milestones in 2011, I discovered how to be happy in my role as a wife, mother, and friend. That shift is one I never expected for myself, and I’m still a little baffled by it.
It’s always amazing to me when gifts or lessons you don’t seek out show up on your doorstep anyway.
These are some of my favorite posts, my happiness highlights, from 2011. Looking back, it gives me a little hint as to how I got to where I am today, in this place where my purpose in life is to love and be loved.
The year began with a declaration of acceptance. There’s Nothing Wrong With You
In February, I started letting go of the old in preparation for what was to come. On Getting Rid of My Shoes
And then we sold pretty much everything else in March. The Real Cost of My Stuff
In April, I went to New Orleans for a week without my family and got my first taste of how much I had come to need them around me. Without Balance
And then it was time to say goodbye to everyone else I’d come to love having around me. It sucked. Going Away
On June 1, 2011, we moved into the RV.
And then I told you about What We Did With Our Car.
Early on in the trip, I struggled with managing expectations. It wasn’t a happy highlight exactly, but it was a very significant part of finding our way on the road. Stress Confession
The month of August might be my very favorite month of the entire year. I got to visit my favorite place in the world, New York City, and discover a brand new love – and I did both with my husband and kids. Happiness Highlights: Running from Irene
September was spent falling in love with yet another place, Pittsburgh, a city so great we’re actually considering living there. It was the perfect place for coming to terms with my new role as a happy person. No One Likes a Happy Girl
In October I got to go back to New York City, this time alone. I learned something shocking about myself on that trip. Happiness Highlights: Where My Heart Is
As it became crystal clear that my focus was now on the people in my life, I had to think about how I would survive without a constant focus on making more money. Me, Myself, and My Money Issues
Ironically, we ended 2011, the year of the journey, back in our hometown of Parkersburg, Iowa. Coming home always brings up questions for me, questions that don’t have easy answers. While this visit was no exception, it did remind me how important it is to ensure that the questions about tomorrow don’t distract us from enjoying today. The Last Christmas
I’m excited to be able to look back on 2011 and know that I made memories I’ll carry with me always. I embraced more days than I wasted. I learned. I loved. I am happy with where I am today, and excited about what 2012 might bring.
Where have you found yourself at the end of 2011?