Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Extremely Long and Incredibly Wordy end-of-year wrap up

Year End Survey – 2012

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?

I had a baby!  That in itself generated a lot of firsts.  I also ran my first half-marathon.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more?

Of course, and of course!  A recap of last year's resolutions:

a)  Read 15 books:

I consider this somewhat met.  It's only 10.5 books, but the four books in the George R.R. Martin series are each over 800 pages long.  Why I picked this year to get involved in such an incredibly long and demanding story, I'll never know.

1.  The Color Purple - Alice Walker
2.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Steig Larsson
3.  Natural Hospital Birth - Cynthia Gabriel
4.  Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger
5.  Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
6.  The Happiest Baby on the Block - Harvey Karp
7.  A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin
8.  A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin
9.  A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin
10. A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin (half finished)
11. Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child - Marc Weissbluth

b)  Keep up an exercise routine throughout pregnancy, with a focus on walking, weight training, and yoga.  Goal met!  I was going to Body Pump 2-3 times per week until 4 days before I gave birth, walked 7-10 miles per week (including 3 miles on my due date), and took a prenatal yoga class.  Oddly, by the end of my pregnancy, I felt more fit than I ever have in my life.  I really do think that staying in shape was essential to having a drug-free, fairly short and manageable labor and delivery, and a very rapid recovery.

c)  Get back to training and run a 5K after the baby is born.  Goal exceeded - I ran a half marathon 18 weeks after having a baby.  Bam.

d)  Stay in school!  Not easy, considering new time and financial constraints, but I HAVE to find a way to balance it out so that I can finish my MBA. 
   Goal met - I transferred to an online MBA program at CSU Dominguez Hills, somehow completed three classes during the Fall quarter, and am well on my way to completing this degree.

e)  Educate myself and know my options when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth, so that my experience is as positive and fulfilling as possible.  Goal absolutely met.  After toying with the idea of trying to have a drug-free birth in a hospital setting, I switched to a midwife at 20 weeks pregnant and had my daughter in a birth center.  I did extensive research and mental and physical preparation for labor and birth, went in feeling confident and in-control, and had an absolutely amazing, intense, life-changing experience.  I am so, SO happy with my choices and level of preparation.

f)  Tell my husband that I love him every day.  Because I do.  I’m always striving to be a better wife and partner, and will focus on that this year especially with all the big changes we are facing.  Goal met - I made a conscious effort to verbalize my love and appreciation for that wonderful man every day.  Adding a baby to the mix has been challenging, but our relationship is stronger now than ever before.

g)  Take one step towards advancing my career.  Whether that be taking a class, joining an organization, or mapping out a solid plan and taking the first step.  Goal met - I've made the decision to go into Human Resources, which is part of the reason for my transfer to CSUDH where I can take an HR concentration.  Also, the added responsibility of having a child has really given me a new focus at work.  I feel much clearer in my career goals and objectives now.

h)  Visit three places I’ve never been before.  This is probably not going to be the year of cross-country travels, like I had hoped, but there are plenty of things in the SoCal area that I have not yet explored and would love to see.  Goal met - Though we didn't take any big trips, we did make an effort to get out around SoCal and see a few new things before the Amaliya arrived.  We visited San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point, the Living Desert, and the Maloof House.

i)  Be patient with myself.... I resolve to let go of my controlling, Type A urges, go easy on myself, give myself time to learn and adapt, and enjoy every minute of what is sure to be an epic year.  Goal more or less met.  Having a baby has been a STEEP learning curve, and every time I think I have something figured out, it changes.  With that said, somehow I have managed to roll with the punches and have never let my stress levels get out of control.  Somehow, don't ask me how, I feel more relaxed and content than ever before.  Maybe becoming a mama has changed me after all?

3. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

It's hard to say, because I honestly feel like I had everything I could ever want in 2012 - a healthy pregnancy, a healthy baby, a healthy marriage, and peace of mind.  I guess I'd like more sleep!  And money, of course - I'd like my husband to land a full time job that he loves, which would enable us to get a new car (to replace my unreliable piece o'crap) and start making serious plans for the future.  I also want to work more on strengthening friendships - becoming a mom has really emphasized how important the support of my friends is to me, especially those other mamas who understand on a very visceral level what I'm going through. 

4. What date(s) from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

July 27-29 for sure!  Starting with my due date, which was a perfect day NOT to have a baby - I took a long walk with my husband, went out to eat at our favorite place, and watched the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics.  The next two days, labor and delivery, were epic.  Of course this year held plenty of other wonderful days, but all pale in comparison to those three.

5. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

 Going through natural, unmedicated childbirth - it required a lot of preparation and a HELL of a lot of physical strength and stamina, but I did it and I'm proud.  Also, running a Half Marathon so soon after having a baby.  It was important for me to prove to myself that I could be a good and devoted mom while still making room for personal space and achievements.

6. What was your biggest failure? 

I was definitely not as focused on my job as I should have been before I went on maternity leave.  This is something I'm going to make a priority in 2013.

7. What do you wish you'd done more of?

S.L.E.E.P.I.N.G.  At least during November and December.

8. What do you wish you'd done less of?

I attempted some sleep training with Amaliya in early November, and I wish I hadn't.  She was too young, and it just made both of us miserable for a couple days until I gave it up.  I also wish I hadn't stressed out so much about coming back to work - it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

9. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

... is it weird that I have no idea what I did on my birthday?  I'm sure it was a good day - I probably spent it with my husband, going out to eat or something.  I'm usually so good about remembering dates!  But in April I was at the peak of pregnancy brain fog and I have total amnesia regarding what happened that month.  So, so strange...

10. What kept you sane?

Google.  Books.  All the sources I used to educate myself on pregnancy and babies, which helped me feel much more confident in the whole birth/baby raising process.  Knowledge = power, and I would have gone crazy if I didn't have the means to answer all the crazy questions that popped into my head this year.

Also, of course, the support of an absolutely amazing husband.  He was cool, collected, adaptable, patient, and didn't let me get away with any crazy BS this year. 

11.  Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:

I learned that the love you have for your children is different than any other kind of love, and it's shifted my perspective on everything else in life. 

I learned, through watching people close to me struggle, all the different ways that passive-agressiveness and failures to communicate lead to the breakdown of relationships. 

Learning of the empathy, understanding, and compassion of other women/mothers around me is a gift that I was not expecting. 

I knew this before, but this year I really LEARNED of the value of different kinds of families - the one you're born into, the one you chose to create with a partner and children, the one that you inherit through that partner, and the one that forms around you, comprised of good friends that become brothers and sisters in spirit.

Finally,  I learned to love my body completely, in a way I never thought possible.  This body that grew a beautiful life, birthed a healthy child, healed quickly, allowed me to jump right back into running and go longer/faster than ever before, nourishes my daughter, and continues to keep up with my demands despite the lack of sleep and sometimes less than optimal fuel I provide.  I can say this confidently - insecurity about my physical self will never, NEVER bring me down again.

11.  What are your resolutions for 2013?

a)  I will do really well at work.  I gained a new appreciation this year for the company I work for, the people I work with, and the job that I do.  I want to excel at it this year.

b)  I will volunteer.  I'm not in a position to make an ongoing committment, but at least once this year I will volunteer my time towards something meaningful.

c)  I will stay in racing shape.  I may not run another half marathon this year - they are expensive - but it's nice to know that I could if I wanted to.  At a minimum, I want to be in good enough shape that I could sign up for a 10K at the last minute and run it well.

d)  I will learn a new skill.  I have no idea what - it can be anything - but by the end of the year I will know how to do something that I couldn't before.

e)  I will cultivate one non-gym related hobby.  My time is so limited, and I'm always inclined to spend any free moment running or at the gym.  This is good, but I need to make time to nurture my creative/intellectual side as well.

f)  I will do 5 fun things with my daughter.  There are so many things I want to do with her - the beach, the zoo, hiking, art classes, etc - and this year (when she's 5-17 months old) will be a fun time to introduce her to the world and let her discover so many of the simple, wonderful things that we take for granted later. 

g)  I will continue to breastfeed until Amaliya is a year old, and possibly beyond.

h)  I will make more of an effort to show my friends how important they are to me.  I will reach out to my mom friends, understanding that schedules are crazy and families are priority, and make time to get together as often as possible.  My friends who do not have partners/children yet are still a huge part of my life, and I'll make sure they know that.

i)  I will strive to eliminate passive-agressive behavior.  I will save sarcasm for humorous moments, and not when I'm trying to deflect an issue.  I will be assertive in my personal relationships, communicate better, address issues as they come up and be willing to compromise on solutions.  I'm talking specifically about marriage here - I've seen so many examples of the kind of marriage I do NOT want to have, and I'm aware of some of my own bad habits that need to be broken in order to keep our relationship solid.