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2013 was a year of beginnings. Changing directions and laying foundations. It has been an exciting time. I started a lot of things, but I got stopped a lot, too.
I switched to working (very) part time for my employer, and launched my own publishing company. I wrote and published my first book. I meant to get a lot further with the next book I have planned, but writing got delayed by a few projects coming in from the day job, and then I lost momentum.
I started to put in a large vegetable garden area with raised beds. That was going well until two local cats chose to unexpectedly grace me with their litters of kittens within days of each other. For a few months entirely too much of my time (and money) was taken up with caring for them and trying to find them homes. Besides, I could not get the tractor out of the garage because we had one litter trapped in there while we tried to socialize them. By the time that adventure was over the ground was dry and hard, and hot summer weather had arrived. I accomplished nothing further on the garden, and it has been overtaken by weeds.
In the late summer I aggravated an existing problem with my left knee. Getting it back in good working order required minor surgery and a couple of months' rest and rehab at the end of the year. So there were several weeks of discomfort, icing, physical therapy, and of course sitting out and watching classes.
It's easy to look back on the past year and feel like I didn't really get much done — like I was floundering a bit. Too many incompletions, too many distractions, and a few thwarted intentions.
But when I started thinking about it over the past few days I started to feel better about it. I did get a lot done, and setting things in motion is a kind of progress in itself.
I really enjoyed training through most of 2013. I tested for first kyu early in the year, and got to participate in several really special retreats and seminars. I feel like I have settled into training, like it's not about the next test or the next seminar. Not that those things aren't fun and worthwhile — they are — but every class is special, too. I don't feel like I am striving or struggling… I guess how a marathon runner feels when they have gotten into a good rhythm they can keep up mile after mile.
I'm just starting back on the mat after my knee surgery. I am doing well, and thrilled to be able to participate again. I plan to be diligent about continuing the exercises my physical therapist gave me for my shoulders, neck, hip, and knee. Barring any new problems, I should be in good shape to get back to full training now.
Sensei has launched several new programs at the dojo, so this will be a full year with a lot going on. I am also planning to participate in a few outside programs. There won't be any potential for boredom in 2014!
Assuming all goes well, I may be testing for shodan at some point later this year. Since my first kyu exam I have already been training with that in mind, and am glad to have the opportunity to train more intensively in preparation. I am looking forward to it, but don't feel in any hurry.
One thing I completed in 2013 was a major revision of our dojo website. That was a valuable learning experience. I'm very happy with the result, and I hope it serves the dojo well for a long time. We have some new things planned throughout the year, but it should be easy going.
At home, I am starting the year with a half-completed garden area ready to finish over the winter. I have all the supplies on hand. And last year's mother cats have both been spayed, so no kittens this spring! The garden should be ready for planting in time for summer crops.
I have all the knowledge, tools, and infrastructure that I need to write, format, and publish my next book. I already have a lot of the material written. I need to get it pulled together, write the remaining portions, and get it done.
In the past year I did not do as much blogging as I had wanted to. It was not for lack of material or inspiration — just the opposite. I was so often hit with so many ideas that I found it difficult to sit down and get started writing about any one of them at times. Now I plan to give myself permission to be more concise, and perhaps a bit more raw. I will try to err on the side of the blurting out a half finished but important observation, rather than keeping it on the shelf until I can express it exactly so.
Just a few weeks ago I started studying to be certified as a Group Fitness Instructor through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). It's a self-paced program. I eased up on studies over the holidays, and am looking forward to getting back to it in earnest now. Movement, strength, and improved health have made such tremendous difference in my life over the past few years that I hope to be able to support others in experiencing similar transformations of their own.
In the background of all this, I am working to eliminate as many distractions and unfinished things hanging over my head as I can. In 2013 I began culling ruthlessly. I still have entirely too many things I do not use or need, so will be selling or giving away everything I can. We will be taking on some long-neglected home repairs and projects.
I feel the need for quiet, open space, with freedom to move and create. This year will be about focusing, simplifying, and completing. So far, so good.