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A Year Of Learning

Another new year has arrived and I can’t help but reflect on the year just passed and the new one to come.  I watch the news with a mixture of sadness, anger and just the smallest bit of hope.  Mass shootings, political upheaval, economic instability, disease, violence…  It is easy to overlook the bright, shining glimmer of hope in all of the darkness out there.

Maybe it is because, at 40, I’ve finally grown up enough to take more interest in the world around me, but it seems that 2012 was a difficult year.  Not personally.  In fact, for me it was a year that brought with it joy, happiness, wisdom, acceptance and an inner peace. It was a year in which I saw personal goals reached, new goals imagined and old goals revived.  In 2012, I learned, I shared, I taught and I succeeded.  Who could ask for a better year?  Well….me.  I’m aiming for bigger and better for 2013!

That being said, I think maybe it is wise to really look back at 2012 and take stock…figure out what I can do better, different or more efficiently.  Since I know how eager you are to hear all about me ~ let’s get started.

I mentioned that 2012 was a year of learning for me. Not just book learning, although I’ve done plenty of that in my effort to obtain my Master Herbalist Certification. This has been a journey that I have been on for, literally, half my life.  It has been fun, adventurous, frustrating and confusing at times, but it has always been fulfilling.  I will admit to a certain amount of arrogance when I finally enrolled in my Herbalist courses.  After all, I have been doing this forever.  Hands-on experience outweighs book learning any day of the week.  As I near the end of my courses, though, I find that I am learning so much new stuff and I am realizing just how much I don’t know!  It has been a serious lesson in humbleness and swallowing my pride.  For any of you that know me…well…neither of those lessons is settling well.  But, in learning these lessons, I have been given the opportunity to help many people by simply sharing knowledge, and I have seen people around me putting that knowledge to use with astounding results.  It gives me hope. In 2013, I hope to encounter many more opportunities to help those around me learn to live a more natural, simplistic life.

If I’m really lucky, attaining this goal will bring with it several side benefits.  If I can convince just one person that a natural approach to their healthcare is cheaper, more effective and longer lasting than the conventional healthcare system offered, I can negatively impact the bottom line of pharmaceutical companies, Monsanto Corporation and the greedy, corrupt medical system that kills thousands of people every year. Okay, sure…I’m not going to single-handedly bankrupt any of the aforementioned. I’m okay with that.  I will settle for making a tiny dent in their profit margin.

It was also a year of learning that I am not a super hero, capable of taking on and conquering the ills of the world with no damage points deducted for sleepless nights, unhealthy choices or extreme stress. In fact, as I lie here in my bed and write this, my swollen, sprained ankle is propped up on a pillow and I’m wishing I would have been more careful when stepping down off that ladder. It solidifies that I am not immortal and time will have its way with me. I feel the aches and pains that come with getting older.  I truly believe that I can read both the barometric pressure and general temperature by taking note of which joint in my body hurts the most.  I’m right at least as often as the weatherman, who, I’m pretty convinced is a compulsive liar. I digress, as usual…

So, I’m not a superhero.  I can live with that.  Even better, I can approach the new year with a solid plan to make next year better.  I can do more in my effort to aggravate all of my friends, family and facebook followers (that’s a lot of f’s!!!) with annoying posts about the dangers of gmo’s, vaccines, antibiotics, toothpaste dangers, and the world in general.  I can do more yoga, eat more raw foods, drink less coffee, grow more vegetables, learn to make a dish soap that I really like and lose 50 lbs.  Hopefully my efforts will inspire others to join me.  I mean, really…who wants to live forever if you don’t have any friends around to enjoy immortality with?

2012 was a year of learning my limitations ~ as a healer, as a mother, as a wife, as a friend…as a human.  It has taken 40 years, but I’m finally not afraid of saying no, of saying yes, of crying in front of someone, of laughing in front of someone.  I have learned that as long as I am truly and completely happy with me, everything else will work itself out.  I do my very best to help at least one person a day.  Maybe next year I’ll shoot for two a day.  I have learned how to let a child work on becoming an adult.  I have learned that to be a better me, I have to find time for me.  Granted, my time is 3 am when most normal humans are sleeping, but still…it is my time.  I have learned that to help others heal, I have to keep myself healthy, both emotionally and physically.  I want to live to be at least 100, if for no other reason than to piss off the people who don’t like me.  For that, I’m willing to sacrifice a candy bar and a soda or two!

In 2012, I made friends and lost friends.  I hurt others and I was hurt. I forgave and was forgiven.  I learned and I forgot. I saw a new life started and an old one ended. I touched history and I created history. It was a full year for me and I am more grateful for every single second than I can ever say.

In looking back at 2012, it is easy for me to make a plan for 2013.  I like to keep things simple, though. After all, I am getting up there in years and simplicity grows more appealing all the time, and I’ve learned that getting too specific and detail-oriented is a sure recipe for failure. So, here are my goals for 2013:

  1. Live. I mean REALLY live.  For me, that means doing things that take me out of my comfort zone and challenge me to think bigger.  Doing things that make the heart race and the adrenaline flow and the belly flutter. It means doing something that makes me look back and ask, “Did I really just do that?” with a smile and a sense of accomplishment. If I’m lucky, I won’t end up in either the hospital or the pokey.

  2. Love.  I’m not talking about the easy kind of love.  I’m talking about loving the ones that make it difficult.  The ones who challenge my patience…you know…the really stupid people that I usually just wanna smack some common sense into.  I want to learn to see something in them that is good and worthy. I’m pretty sure accomplishing this goal will help me avoid a future assault charge.

  3. Laugh.  Every single day I want to find one thing that makes me laugh with true joy. Maybe at myself, maybe at someone else, maybe WITH someone else.  It doesn’t matter.  I just want to laugh. Please don’t be offended if it is you that I’m laughing at. I promise to give you plenty of opportunities to laugh at me before 2013 is over!

  4. Learn.  This life is far too short to learn all of the things that I want to learn, but if I can learn one new thing a day, I will be infinitely smarter by this time next year.  That means that I will be more justified in lording my wisdom over others who are far less intelligent than I am.

  5. Teach.  I want to share all those awesome things I am going to learn this year.  I want to be able to share and pass on the things that can make life bigger, better and more fulfilling for myself and those I come in contact with.  Maybe it will be through my blog, or through a class that I can offer, or maybe it will just be through a passing conversation in which I can share some tiny nugget of wisdom that I’ve been storing away.  This, too, will provide me with a sense of superiority, but I’ll do my best to keep that in check…

That’s about it, I think.  I considered adding things like quitting smoking, controlling my sarcasm and being less condescending to the idiots of the world, but we all know none of those things are really going to happen.  That would be almost as ridiculous as saying I’ll learn to be a more obedient wife or a less-interfering mother.  Not gonna happen and I’m trying to keep it real, friends!

Anyway, I’m totally looking forward to a new year and all that it may bring.  I hope that each and every one of you finds the same!

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