The quote on the page of my personal journal for one year ago, December 31, 2015, is by Lao Tzu: When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.  Next to that, I wrote: Who am I without you?  I still have no definitive answer one year later, but clearly, I am not the same person. Here are a few quick looks back:


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A look at my calendar shows that I was certainly active, literally in every month of the year.   I had 4 personal  trips to see siblings or kids, and also was able to add on personal days to 5 of the 6 work trips I took so that I could see family and friends.  Seven times I had company visiting me.  It’s no wonder that I was in desperate need of some quiet time by November when I left my job.  But being involved with my family is a significant, non-negotiable part of who I am, and so is supporting them. A new baby, a wedding, a few birthdays…and giving of my time to show people around this area, were the times that saved me when I obsessed about my priorities and considered the uncertainties of this Solowing future.

A look at my checkbook shows that I also didn’t stay home too much even when I was in town.  I ate out several times every week; I spent quite a bit on gasoline going hither and yon; and I managed to buy about two dozen books.  I also spent a huge chunk on restyling the house – from paint to furniture to floors.  And when I felt like I was unable to stop worrying about having enough, living by myself in this big house with no safety net of a second income, far away from everyone, I gave some money away to those who needed it more than me. I ended the year with a positive bank balance and no income for the foreseeable future but I feel okay about that.

If that’s all that went into the equation to describe a year in the life of me, it would be an acceptable balance.  But it’s the intangibles that tell the story of the subtle changes in me. A year ago I tried to run away, and now I am staying home.  I stopped crying somewhere around spring, and last week with my daughter I laughed so much it nearly became a giggle-fit and I had tears (of joy).  I was sleep deprived and lethargic until late fall, but now I can stay up until 10:30 or 11:00 and don’t even need a nap the next day.  (Seriously.)   For months, I couldn’t concentrate and read more than a page or two in a book, but now I am back to reading 2-3 books per week. (The current ones are The Brothers Karamazov, and Simple Abundance. Last week I read The Enlightened Gardener while on vacation.)  But the big deal is that I even am on this sabbatical for this coming year: that I found the strength again to trust myself to walk into the unknown, and I gave myself permission to examine my life, to listen to my own self tell me whatever it has to say, to be open to … well, just to be open – heart, mind, and soul.

The past doesn’t exist anymore; it’s gone; it’s only memories now. I have fully blessed Kevin’s passing, and at the same time, blessed myself here in the present.There are differences in New Year’s Resolutions, bucket lists, vision boards, goals, and everyday to-do lists.  I think I’ll work on a little of each today and tomorrow, and ring in 2016 as a girl with options.