2013 Year in Review / Lessons

I always get sentimental this time of year – not only because we’re packing up the suitcase on a calendar year, but because it’s a reminder how truly fast time flies. They weren’t joking about that. I thought it might slow down the older I get. Nope. If anything, it seems someone has their foot on the accelerator. Is it me? God, I hope it’s not me, though I don’t mind taking some credit for the fun and good stuff.

Thing about this year in review stuff (as much as I love to read them by others) is that I’ve worked hard not to judge my life. I can’t recall which guru said it, but once I heard you shouldn’t label a day as good or bad, so I tried to stop asking my husband, “did you have a good day?” nor answering it. Every day is a gift. Period. Some days suck big fat tush, sure, but back in the early ’00s I adopted another mantra, “never let circumstances dictate your joy.” That’s a tough one. So this isn’t about judging if it was good, bad or otherwise. Stuff does happen – delirious, delicious successes and soul-crushing blows. EACH are just momentary- notches on our tree of life. With that out of the way…

I’m more at ease with sharing what I learned, so here goes.

I do this but wish I felt more like this more often.
I do this but wish I felt more like this more often.

1. You cannot be in two places at once as a parent and must let go of the guilt of that fact. When I was at a dance conference with my daughter in January, my youngest son had a head on collision with another Cub Scout at an event. Head split open. Lots of blood. ER. Many stitches. I paced the mall like a zombie 2 hours away but was assured by my husband that son was happy, smiling, getting royal treatment (no concussion) and they got ice cream after. I hadn’t driven for one thing, but it was a good lesson that moms (nor dads) can always be there no matter if you have one kid or many. So I went on about my weekend relishing in being with my daughter, watching her dance, and spending time with my dance mom bff. Peace, mamas. Don’t let heartache ruin what’s right in front of you.

2. Sometimes success or failure is out of your control. WHAT?! I can’t to-do list the shit out of my life and make all my dreams come true? That’s tough for a type A strategist *AND* dreamer to boot to swallow, but remember – sometimes your hard work, passion and WILL to make the end game go in your favor simply does not. For whatever reason – the market, the fancies of the people, timing, and so on. Yes, I still think it’s good to analyze it, but don’t let it get you down. I worked so hard trying to control things that were uncontrollable that I got burned out and upset with myself, which – let’s face it – never turns things back around in your favor. So, here’s me releasing the big balloon of control over the uncontrollable to the Universe. Ahhhh.

3. Travel does a soul good. Yes, too much could backfire, but if you take the time to get away, it’s going to help you refocus and prioritize, miss those you aren’t around, relish in the company of those you are around and feel energizedfor those routines you were sick of previously. I got to go to Nashville with my MIL and daughter, dance nationals with my daughter, Colorado for a family vacation and then put myself on a five-city book tour to celebrate Twin Falls and Family Charms. I got to see friends I hadn’t seen in eons. I’m so glad I did it. All of it. Where to in ’14?

4. If things break down, consider something new. I had a solid year with clients on retainer, which is a tremendous relief for a self-employed business owner. So when my clients’ projects were through and the retainers dried up, I had a decision to make: replace them with similar projects or create something new to fill that void. After a lot of thought, I went for it and created Sooner Spaces, a media site devoted to compelling stories about spaces in my state of Oklahoma. (Called the Sooner State) It was hard, grueling, took many yes’ and dozens of hours of unpaid work to pull off and – I love it. Every bit. I love pitching it. I love the interviews. I love writing the stories and shooting and editing. I love working on DIY projects and sharing them. And I love, love, love working with my friends Ali and Jill. I don’t feel lonely and I’m getting out of the house and off the computer. If you’re in a similar situation, ask yourself if it’s an opportunity to do something you love (that can also make money if it’s work related.)

5. Be present IN THE WORLD. One of my favorite movies this year was HER starring Joaquin Phoenix as a guy who falls inlove with his iOS. I get it. A lot of my world is right here with you – in this screen (or the various versions of you on my big Mac, iPad, iPhone). But it’s TOO MUCH. Because one of my retainers involved social media, I was on it a LOT. And because I run a small press, I have to blog and do production online and more social media. And once you’re ON IT, it’s hard to get off of it. I’m too addicted to the white stuff – this white screen – and all the pixels here. I need on a device to write, yes. Hell, I can’t even read my own handwriting, but as for the rest and the rabbit hole it takes me on…No, I have to show more control and restraint which means I have to literally leave all devices downstairs and resist any urge to check in so I can concentrate on the real world – my family, my laundry, and all the projects I’ve committed to finishing out here that will eventually wind up in here as posts or videos or whatever. Point is, I lacked balance in 2013 and I’m going to fix it because it makes me feel crazy and I want to BE HERE NOW.

Loads of other lessons and great things happened in 2013 like I do feel more ME than ever before, I eat cleaner, I added yoga and meditation, I saw generous support by authors who helped me buy classroom items for the teachers in Moore, OK who lost everything in the May tornado. I  also published new books and several books by others. 

A few photos on my look back at 2013:

What’s next?

I like to create a theme for each year – for blogging and for a life practice. This year it was True Do and it helped me align to my purpose. In 2014, it’s GET REAL  theme you’ll see here and on my Facebook author page. I invite you to blog along with me and put the REAL into your life this coming year. We’ll be getting real about food, bonds, success and more. NO, I’m not selling any supplement (nor taking them) but I hope my journey to cooking better for my family and making healthier choices might inspire someone else reading here and my goal to sustain REAL bonds with those I love AND showing loving kindness to strangers and those I disagree with and examining what real success looks like in our daily lives as workers and people on a journey to something more, deeper, richer, might prop us each up and keep us going to LIVE WITH INTENTION and see that EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED as we concentrate and grow what needs fertile ground and watering in our lives.

More soon. Happy new year, friends.

xoxo and namaste and pass the champagne (sugar detox starts Jan. 2nd.)

-Malena

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Looking forward to your realness. I’ll be watching.

    1. malenalott says:

      Thanks, Patrick! Should be some good stuff. I’m excited to implement them myself.

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