I’ve had some friends ask me over the past couple days what goals or resolutions I am setting for 2012. Funny how when that question comes up at this time every year I am caught off guard. Apparently I’m behind the curve. I’m still recovering from Christmas. My house is a pit. I haven’t yet put away all the gifts, much less finished writing thank you notes for them. I’m not even 100% sure about my plans for New Year’s Eve…and it’s tonight! But, I’m supposed to analyze my life for deficiencies and then devise ways to overcome them in the next 366 days all before January 1st? Holy hell. Perhaps one of my resolutions should be to start working on resolutions for 2013 before next Thanksgiving?
Before I can decide what to improve upon next year, I thought it might be good to revisit 2011 to see what made my highlight reel.
1) Polar Plunge – 364 days later and I’m still smiling about this event. I never thought I would jump into 38 degree water in the first place, much less emerge and say I’d be willing to do it again. Starting the New Year with 20 seconds of feeling truly alive (wet and cold, but viscerally alive) was so powerful. I left that reservoir feeling like I could do anything. Apparently, it’s healthy to take temporary leave of your sanity, shock your system, and wipe the slate clean.
2) My Father-in-Law’s Surprise 80th Birthday Party – A man doesn’t turn 80 every day. So, in April we flew to Coeur d’Alene to celebrate Jim’s momentous occasion. It wasn’t so much the perfectly executed surprise party or the time spent with family that made the trip special for me. It was something much more personal. I took an emotional risk that was long overdue. I know that life is short. Don’t go too long without telling someone important what they mean to you, no matter how hard it is for you to do it.
3) Camping in the Black Hills – We took a family camping trip to South Dakota with good friends this summer. I will be honest that I wasn’t super excited about the destination because I’d been there before and because I’d originally wanted to go somewhere else. But, we had an amazing time with our friends, exploring caves, hiking, communing with nature, and eating honest to goodness rhubarb pie in a purple store. Sometimes the simple things, the ones that aren’t shiny or exotic, are a true treasure.
4) Hot Air Balloon Ride – We did this ride, honestly, because I got a great deal. It’s easy to justify not doing something that’s truly an extravagance, which is why we hadn’t done a hot air balloon ride before, but ascending in that balloon with my family of men was the best thing I’ve done in a long time. It made me realize that we make excuses far too often, excuses that keep us from things that will broaden our horizons and enrich our lives in ways we never dreamed possible. If there’s something you’ve wanted to try and haven’t because of the cost, find a way to make it happen. You might be shocked to discover it was worth so much more than what you paid.
5) Warrior Dash – I registered for the Warrior Dash for the furry, bison hat and the excuse to crawl through the mud. I willingly admit that I did not train for the 3 mile run at 9,000 feet in elevation. I goofed around with training for the obstacles but that’s as far as it went. Still, on August 20th I somehow managed to get through the entire course and have a blast. So what if there were folks decades older than me that clocked (by over a half an hour) a better finish time than I did? I had an unbelievable time with our friends and I got good and muddy. I leaped over fire…twice. I cleaned myself off in a cold, mountain creek. Afterward, I drank a huge beer in a gorgeous setting and wore that furry hat with the pride that comes from getting off your couch and doing something just to say you’ve done it. I learned the best lesson that day. It’s good to be competitive and strive to be your best. But, sometimes it’s more fun when you draw out an experience and milk it for all its worth.