November 20, 2010

Happy New Year

I have never been the kind of girl who was interested in going out for New Year's Eve. Partly because of weight-related shyness, partly because I'm not really a big drinker. But I think mostly it's because even though January 1st is the beginning of a new calendar year, most of my life has been based around other annual rhythms. The school year, for example, usually brings new opportunities - new beginnings as well as new notebooks and new pens. A new school maybe, or new classes and new teachers - and always, the promises I make to myself to be a better student - or at least, less of a procrastinator.

I've also paid special attention to my birthday for the same reason, making plans of things I'd like to get accomplished in my next year. Like most New Year's resolutions, I have always devoted myself one hundred ten percent for the first day or so, and then my efforts taper off. No time, no motivation, no whatever - it seems I'm always short of everything but excuses.

my sweet little sign
My plans for November 20, 2009 to 2010:
1 - Lose weight.
2 - Read 10 "classic" novels I somehow missed in high school/college.
3 - Stress adequately over MA exams and PhD or job searching.
4 - Stop talking to Scott.
5 - Do wonderful things for other people as often as possible.
Unfortunately, I'm still no closer to reading "The Odyssey" than I was last November, but I'm more than satisfied with my progress on the other four.

Doing nice things for other people has felt just as rewarding as I thought it would - of course, it's something I already try to do in my daily life, but being extra conscious of it for a year has made me more aware of just how many people I interact with every day. I say hello to every bus driver and grocery store clerk, I leave change in the tip jar of the café every morning when I buy my cup of ice for ice water, I smile at kids, and I try to be there for anyone who might need help or someone to talk to.

Cutting off contact with Scott (a painful person from my past who needs an entry all his own to explain) was fairly difficult, but I'm happy that I've done it. I'm a year older, a year wiser, and in a completely different emotional place than I was last November. He is not good for my heart, and he is not good for my head. And I am very glad that I am maturing enough to recognize that.

It's so strange to think back to a year ago, with my impending exams, and recall how completely stressed out I was. They were already seven months ago! And after my oral defense, when they called me Master and told me I had passed, it was both exciting and terrifying - like most things in my life lately, I guess! It meant I would get my graduate degree, but also, that I would need to find a job. I was so lucky to get a full-time university lecturer job, and I'm so grateful for everything that has come with this opportunity - working with great faculty and staff, educating students, staying in Chicago, and making enough money to support myself *and* have a little fun sometimes.

And then, finally, there's the weight loss. Even when I wrote out my to-do list, I thought this year was going to be like every year - great intentions, but little to no action. Yet, as of yesterday's weigh in, I have lost 72 pounds so far this year. This is still so unbelievable to me. I haven't binged in months. I routinely choose cooking for myself over takeout. I've done a stair race. I've been doing 5k walks. Today, I'm going to run for two miles, which is two miles more than I could do last year; in about a month and half, I'll be running a 5k. This is, hands down, the best gift I have ever received.

And speaking of amazing presents, I cannot give enough thanks to everyone who sent me their birthday messages!

anne takes the most amazing day trips - so jealous!

lesley takes incredibly scenic walks - and she's overseas! luckyyy

ellen has made it to goal - such an inspiration

haha yeah the scorpio thing explains a lot...

caroline is another blogger who has 'made it' - her wisdom is invaluable to me

one of my very first blog friends - loretta is strong and brave and i admire her greatly

You ladies are amazing - creative, supportive, funny, and just all around awesome! I am so lucky to have such an strong community here. This is, without a doubt, my best birthday ever; this will be, without a doubt, my best year ever.

So, here's to my twenty-fourth year, and all the chances and opportunities I have in front of me. Happy New Year! Tchin-tchin!


Amy said...

I feel kind of the same way about New Years - I don't get it - I think having September ingrained in our heads as the first day of the school year makes me believe New Years is September 1, and I still have an extremely tough time not buying a new agenda on September 1 for my job - since I should start buying it for January 1 (I've last which is actually a pretty crazy feat for myself)

And this year I changed my focus as well, and decided my New Year is my birthday as well and that each year of my life is a new year to my life.

I truly hope this is the best year of your life (so far) (and for me as well!).

Happy Birthday - may today be the best start to your new best year :)

NAN said...

Aww how nice. I recently found your bog and am so impressed. My younger daughter is your age- 24 in January- and will have her masters degree in information sciences and technology in April- she will be a librarian. She and her BF of 4 years moved to Austin, Texas the end of September- a 1000 miles from my house boohoo. You are doing great with your weight loss and it won't be long before you are 250 and then 200! Happy birthday- I'm a scorpio too (November 7th). PS- I had 3 years of French many moons ago. Bonne fete (if I remember correctly; I'm old!)

Tim said...

Happy Birthday!!!!!!! :)

Rainbowchild said...

Happy Birthday :) I've just started following your blog and want to say well done on the fantastic weight loss xx

Allan said...


Retta said...

What a fine year you had... so many accomplishments.
May this coming year be the best yet.
Happy Birthday!

SheZug said...

Happy birthday!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday!!

Unknown said...

Happy 24th, Mary! Looks like you've started quite a following with the 'older ladies club' (me and Caroline) lol

Anne H said...

Happy Birthday to you!
And Many many more!
Hearts and flowers, too!

Anonymous said...

I'm a day late, but happy birthday!

Jessica said...

Happy Birthday :)

Katie Warren said...

Happy Birthday, Mary. I am so sorry I didn't get a picture message to you in time. I had every know how that goes. I am so glad to hear that your birthday was great! And yes, I would LOVE to have lunch sometime when I'm in Chicago! I try to go at least once per year, so maybe next summer I'll be there. Give me a shout if you are ever in Indy or Louisville. Both are relatively close to me. Or even Cincy.