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My friend Karin and I always think up a catch phrase for the new year. When we both found ourselves recovering from holiday breakups (mine – December 27, hers – January 1), 2008 became 'two thousand great .' I attacked the new year with a positive attitude bordering on vengeance, throwing myself into volleyball, hiking, meditation, and Internet dating, determined to give myself the fullest chance possible to make a life in Los Angeles work. It did. Within six months I was fully enjoying all of my activities and had started an exclusive relationship with a wonderful man. I was writing more and had started a blog. My former boss hired me to assist him on a hepatitis B outreach project – a well-paying part-time job. As I turned 40 and the holidays arrived, 2009 really did seem like 'two thousand fine .'
The year soured a bit when my relationship ended in February, but I kept up with my activities and expanded my role in them, planning a few trips and hikes with girlfriends myself. It was a year of firsts – camping out alone with my 14-year-old nephew; organizing a holiday dinner (for 10 people) with turkey, stuffing, and pie; playing in a few volleyball tournaments; finishing a feature length screenplay. In July I started dating another wonderful man, much better suited for me than the former, and for the first time in my life, am enjoying a relatively drama-free relationship. That is due in large part to my work in therapy with Sandy Gartin, MA, MFT, first in a women's group and now individually doing EMDR, and to Gay Hendricks' 14-page ebook Love and Enlightenment that I bought online for one dollar.
'If not two thousand ten, when ?' I told Karin that her year could be 'two thousand men ', but my choice for a catch phrase is much more serious. Now 41, in a healthy, meaningful relationship, as I see the realities of adulthood within my reach, I am honestly panicking. If the responsibilities of being a wife and mother should come to me, am I ready for them? Am I able to overcome the internal barriers that have been keeping me from the traditional successes of adulthood, including a happy home life and career? AM I EVER GOING TO DO ANYTHING WITH MY WRITING???
In order for 'if not 2010, when ?' to work for me, I have a lot of improvements to make. My friend Bert inspired me to follow the advice of Leo Babauta and focus on one change per month. I made a pact with her that I would finish the first draft of a book by July 1, a memoir about my time living in Russia and my struggles with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). My boyfriend said if I finish by June 1, we could go to Hawaii for his fortieth birthday, a place neither of us has been. So my first goal is to write 10 hours a week. I'm going on a cruise the last week of the month with my boyfriend and his family, so I actually need to do 13-14 hours per week for the first three weeks of January.
I'm writing this to keep myself accountable, to encourage others, and to ask for support. Every little bit helps and is much appreciated!
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
-- Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss