As we draw an end to the 1st month of the year, I am ready to assess 2016 in hindsight. Most people – and companies – review and assess the year end in December, but I kept putting it off for a myriad of reasons – getting adjusted to the move, finding Pilates jobs in my new environ, making new friends, compiling articles for The Press. At the end of the day, I just don’t think I was ready to take a long hard look at the mistakes and successes of 2016. Then, I came to realize that I was looking at it all wrong: there are no mistakes in this Perfect universe. There are only opportunities – to see the potential in everything.
Thus, this is a very raw and honest list of 5 Things I Learned in 2016:
1/ Learning to Let Go- One year ago today, I was nicely positioned in a very cushy job in NY making a six figure salary. The work was easy – I could do it with my eyes closed. I had my routines all mapped out – commuting over 2 hours a day, an hour or two lunch, security and things I knew. I had a loving husband, friends who I kept at arms length due to the inflexibility of my own routines, working out like a maniac, and harmony with family on my selfish terms. However, I was not really happy. I was always frazzled – running from one workout to another, rushing on my commute, and snapping at my husband if I didn’t like anything he said. One day I was sitting in the office, staring out the big window and admiring a big blue sky, wishing I was outside when up walked my overweight and hunched coworker. He abruptly pulled down the blinds! He looked at me smugly, miserably, and said, “The sun is coming in.”
Inside, I silently gasped! What is wrong with the sun! Then, I realized I no longer belonged there. That is when I decided to start my blog, Project Cloud 9 – the exact one you are reading. From there, things just exploded. I decided to teach Pilates full – time and quit my full – time corporate job. Nothing was written in stone – I didn’t know what I was going to do about bills, etc, but I came to realize until I let go of the life I did NOT want, I could not have the life I wanted. I had to let the security and routine go before I could even begin to live the life I wanted. I am not saying to quit your job – maybe it is a small change for you – for instance, once you leave the office, actually Leave the office (turn off your phone and stop checking emails) and spend time with your family.
2/ My self worth is not a reflection of others- Once my husband and I decided to move to Oregon, I gave over a month’s notice to both of the Boutique Pilates/ Yoga studios I had been working at. The very different way the 2 owners reacted to my news will always be an example of the type of person I Want to be and someone I don't want to be. The owner of one of the studios hugged and congratulated me, promising to keep me on the schedule so that when I visited, I would always be able to substitute teach. Danielle's affection and genuineness was so sweet and dear to me- I will never forget it. The other owner, however, was cool towards me and said mean things about Oregon. At one point, she even yelled at me and said she misjudged my character because she indicated the only reason I was teaching Pilates was because of her. She implied I owed her. Despite the way she handled the situation, I held true to myself and didn’t yell or react. I said good-bye and thanked her for the opportunity. For several weeks afterward, she would text me, asking me to write articles about her studio for The Press before I left. I chose to cut all contact with this highly respected woman because it really disturbed me that she would treat someone the way she treated me. I learned this year that despite the way someone treats you, you have the Power not to react to aggression with aggression.
3/ Pets are like our children – Recently we paid $2000 out of pocket for my 11 year old cat Belle to have 2 extractions to her front teeth. Due to the misdiagnosis from the Red Bank Veterinary Hospital over 2 years time, the teeth were not salvageable. Despite the fact that I nearly choked when we got the bill, as my husband and I drove away, we were so thankful our new vet diagnosed her and immediately recommended extractions. When the Dr. showed us the level of infection in her mouth, we knew if it hadn’t been discovered, there might have been a chance the infection spread to her organs and promote disease.
4/ You do not choose your family – Family relationships are tough. There are differences and hardships in each of our families. Without revealing too much, there is a family member of mine that still lives in the past, placing all of the disappointments he has had in life, on another member of our family, even though the person has repeatedly apologized and made amends. Mind you, this is not something that is against the law that occurred. But in the end, this family member will not move on, sometimes sending random texts to the other member out of anger. I learned that you can not control where someone is on their path – you can’t judge them or push them. In the end, I have chosen not to be a part of this person’s life due to the negativity which is involved. It is a painful decision, but there is a lot of truth in the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” If you don’t want to be negative, you can’t hang out with negative people, speaking negative words.
5/ Be Willing to Change – I am not perfect, I have my faults. We all have our weak points and of course we have our strengths as well. But, be willing to self-examine and really look at yourself in the eye. When we can really look deeply into ourselves, we are able to walk away learning something about ourselves and grow. Without this openness and vulnerability, we will never be able to grow. Once you have identified something you truly don’t like about yourself ( not someone else’s gripe about you), you must be willing to change. Change is the path to Growth. You don’t want to be the same person you are now in 10, 20 years… or do you?
Lastly, it is pretty obvious. In fact, it is so obvious some of us forget it all the time:
Love. Love your life. Love your world. Love your friends and your family. Love everything about the world, even if it is not perfect. If everything is perfect, there is no reason to change, grow, or even reflect.
On that note, it is with love that I write each of these posts because I am connecting with someone out there, even if it is just one person.