Monday, January 12, 2015

The year that was, the year that will be

With 2014 behind me, it's time to assess the year that was and make plans for 2015.

My word of the year for 2014 was "plunge" as in "plunge boldly into the thick of life" and, in a post last January, I elaborated on my aspirations for the year this way:
The type of exploration I have in mind - spiritual, physical, emotional, and creative - involves immersing myself in things that matter to me - not tentatively, but with abandon - so that I may follow where my heart and soul lead. 
To that end, I decided I'd "run less" so that I'd have more time for the things and people that mattered most.

On the creative side, I was determined to do more writing and photography, get back into knitting and quilting, and take art classes for the first time in several decades.  

My goals for physical activity included doing more yoga, getting back into swimming, and trying some other activity I'd always wanted to do - like cross-country skiing or kayaking.  

On the emotional and spiritual front, I wanted to spend more time strengthening relationships with family and friends, seeking out kindred spirits at work, and exploring spiritual issues. 

Did I accomplish all I hoped ? Did I grow in the ways I aspired to grow? Did I give as fully as I intended to the causes and people I care about?

After a few weeks of tough soul-searching, I have to admit I didn't.

Granted, it wasn't an easy year. We lost Husband's mum and our dear old cat, and a close friend passed away unexpectedly. I spent a chunk of time early in the year trying to help my folks sell their house. We had unexpected company for several weeks over the summer. And, these past few months we've been dealing with Husband's sister's illness.

All of which meant that the time I freed up by "running less" got consumed by things that bore no resemblance to what I'd planned to do.

I had some minimal success in that I managed to take a painting class and captained my relay team to a couple of events. I also took a few baby steps towards expanding my professional network, and developing a "plan B" for when it's time to leave my current job. But, when I look back at 2014, what I mostly feel is sadness and disappointment.

That's not to say, there weren't some terrific things too. For instance, I loved visiting Yukon for the first time, and we had an awesome (though far too brief) trip to Newfoundland. We also thoroughly enjoyed hosting all the folks who came to visit last summer.

But the truth is 2014 pretty much sucked and, standing at the threshold of 2015, I felt so tired and demoralized, I couldn't summon up even enough energy to set new goals. To make matters worse, I came down with a nasty stomach virus that kept me in bed for most of last week.

On the upside, being sick in bed for several days gave my subconscious time to sort out how I felt about 2015 and come up with a list of priorities for the coming year. They're somewhat tentative at this point but I'm hoping they'll get the new year underway on a more positive note.

READ MORE - Since I got addicted to the internet, I've spent less and less time reading books. I'm not sure I read a dozen books in 2015 - which is pretty pathetic when I think about all the time I spent on Facebook. This year, my goal is to read at least a book a week. So far, so good. I finished Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam last week (loved it!), am almost through Margaret Webb's Older, Stronger, Faster, and started Terry Fallis' hilarious novel, No Relation, on the weekend.  Books were my first love so it feels good to be back in the reading groove.

EAT BETTER - Husband and I have been talking about our eating habits a lot the past few months. We do our best to buy locally produced food, stick to veggies 4 or 5 days a week and cook from scratch. However, reading Older, Stronger, Faster made me realize our dietary choices haven't been doing much to help my running so I'd like to try fixing that in 2015 by upping our intake of fruit, veggies and nuts and drastically reducing our consumption of grains, legumes, cheeses and sugars. More on that in a future post.

RUN MORE - It turns out I didn't enjoy "running less" in 2014. I missed the mental and physical challenges of marathon training and had far less energy. Given that, I plan to return to running more in 2015, If all goes well, I hope to complete two marathons along with a number of shorter races. I haven't decided which events I'll do yet but, with all the uncertainty in our lives, I'll likely choose ones close to home.

TRAIN SMARTER - The other thing OSF emphasizes is the importance of training smarter. As a 50-something woman, I've got a lot going on biologically and require more rest than a fit 20 year old. If I'm going to succeed at getting stronger and faster, I need to make every workout count, cross-train for strength and agility, fuel properly and get enough rest. To that end, I've registered for a yoga class on Monday nights and plan to do speed and hill work with a local running club on Wednesdays. I've also started going to bed an hour earlier.

BANISH THE CLUTTER - This is something I've been working on for awhile but it needs to be a major focus in 2015 as we prepare to sell our country house and live full-time (for awhile at least) in our much smaller city house. So far, I've managed to go through my closet and dresser drawers and dispose of several bags of shoes and clothing - which felt wonderful! My office is next! For inspiration, I've spent a lot of time reading Becoming Minimalist, which provides terrific advice on simplifying your life so you can focus on the things that matter.

FIRST THINGS FIRST - This is the most important goal of all. It's about achieving more balance. The other goals I've outlined are ambitious enough to overwhelm and exhaust me if I let them and, as I discovered last year, life has a way of interfering with the best laid plans. I'll do my best to make my goals a priority but, when and if more important things force me to abandon or modify them, I'll try hard to roll with it.

So what about you? How was your 2014? Have you set goals for 2015? How's it going so far? Are you optimistic about this shiny new year?

Happy running and writing, friends!


  1. Hey, Janice - interesting look at the year ahead! I like the way you've broken it down AND that you've given yourself the gift of balance and forgiveness! Life does get in the way - and sometimes the goals we envision aren't really the ones we need to focus on (life has a way of telling us that if we really listen).

    Anyway, enough philosophizing! I picked a word again for 2015: STRONG! I'm really looking forward to all that that entails!!

    Hope your 2015 is much happier and brighter (although you have a sad time coming soon).

  2. The clutter is killing me! It makes me feel so cramped in and I can never find what I'm looking for. My winter project is to organize and weed out some at least some stuff.
    I found when I started writing books (or more accurately, long strings of text that have some potential to become books) I stopped reading so much. Being active takes more time as well. Even though I know there are lots of great books out there, I don't seem to be finding them. The book club lately has been a string of losers.
    I'm optimistic about the year. Work says they want me around, and if that changes it's ok. I'm itching to try this semi-retired lifestyle I keep hearing about.