I typically try not to steal anyone’s words. Yet the people in my life are full of such wise and humorous and genuinely true statements, that often it is difficult NOT to do just that. With that thought in mind, I have to quote one my very dearest friend’s statement from yesterday. “Everything that happened last night slowly fades as quickly as the first day of the year! And the New Year doesn’t 'really' start till tomorrow! After all of last year’s, and last night’s excitement just blows away in today's snow storm!” It wasn’t exactly a snowstorm, and it wasn’t exactly a dramatic year or New Year for me, for the most part at least. (I am actually going to plead the fifth on this one because those of you who know me really well probably could cite a few instances of my not so fine moments of 2011.) But on some level those words seem to ring so true as I reflect upon the past year of my life. At this time last year I was looking forward to taking a whole new path in my life. I was nervous about going back to school after 20 years in the work world. I was also excited at the prospect of an entirely new career path. When I was little, I always told people I wanted to be a lawyer when I grew up. I like to argue and debate things, and I always win – well, at least in my own mind, though I am pretty positive if everyone I have ever argued with could comment on this, you would think I have a pretty skewed viewpoint of myself. So not being prepared to finish my bachelor’s degree and spend years in law school, not to mention coming out of it severely in debt, I had made the decision to enter the Paralegal program at NWTC to obtain my Associate’s Degree. One year into it, I consider it a wise move. I am proud to be where I am today and as each day passes, for once in my life I truly look forward to the next.
In the past year, I have learned the fine art of balancing school, work, home and family and still managed to have a decent social life for a woman of my age. Though I am not quite ready to play Bingo at a nursing home, I am not quite as social as I used to be. In the past year, I have also opened myself up to meeting new people. I went into it with a somewhat closed mind (I know right??? Can you imagine that? Me? Closed mind? Impossible!) I had the attitude that I would succeed in school, and develop professional relationships and contacts with my new instructors and classmates. I had plenty of friends. I didn't need any more, nor did I have time for any more! Well, life doesn’t always turn out as planned. Looking back at much of the past year, I ask myself, “Well, how did THAT happen?” Not in a bad way, but in that pleasant surprise kind of way. Not only did I make professional contacts and develop those relationships with instructors and classmates, I have also made some genuine friendships, and renewed a few of my old ones. This year, with those friends, I have seen babies born, parents pass away, one of the sweetest people I know walk down the aisle, and relationships develop in their lives. I stood by some of those friends through break-ups and make-ups. I have seen them find new jobs, let go of old ones, and develop new goals without losing the spirit of who they are.
In 2011, I laughed a lot, cried a little, and looked further forward than I have ever been able to do before. For my family, for those of you who are near and dear friends to me, and for those of you I don’t know very well, but might find myself coming to know in the future, may 2012 bring you much success, peace and happiness. Happy New Year.