connected in 2014 and balanced in 2015

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i set out at the beginning of 2014 to feel more connected. one way i tried to do that was to use facebook. and while i didn’t really think it would play a large role, it was key. not only were we more in the loop concerning our friends and family, but we also saw a lot more people in person as a result of facebook. we used it to publicize our trip to iowa in the fall and we saw all kinds of people we haven’t seen in years. it was fantastic.

more importantly, it allowed me to make one huge connection. my sister and i got reconnected with our dad. we haven’t seen or talked with our dad since i was in junior high, so it’s been a long time. we talked with him on thanksgiving and christmas. it’s weird after so long to reconnect with someone, but it also provides a unique perspective. to catch him up on the past years, i made photo books and annotated them from the past 5 years or so. it was interesting to go through these photos with an eye toward telling my family’s story to someone who hasn’t been involved. it made me grateful for the life i live and proud to show my dad that it’s a good life, with wonderful people and i’m happy to incorporate him into it and have him be involved. it has also brought my sister and i closer, which is great.

outside of facebook, i think it did a good job making tighter connections with my girl friends. i’ve never really had a girl network that i relied on, but this year on a couple of occasions, i called upon my girl friends to rally with me when things were tough. they came through as only they could and it was wonderful.

new year’s eve
wield the sword of completion
to release all that we
do not want to carry into the New Year
be clear and let go
gather sincere gratitude for
all the moments and loved ones
gifts and triumphs
difficulties that challenge us to grow,
manifestations and releases,
new places, friends and evolutions
return to the sea of possibility
dream your highest vision
from the cells of your magic body
listen deep for all beings
Shiva Rea

that was shared by a friend this morning, which got me moving to declare my intention for the new year. by setting my intention i am able to let go of the past and move forward with only what i want to bring forward into the new year. so as we head into the new year,my theme/intention is balance.

last year was a giant experiment with me quitting my job just after the start of the new year and then laying low for about four months, most of which was forced after i broke my right ankle and foot. but once i was up and running again, unfortunately i quickly lost balance, taking on more than i should and becoming generally dissatisfied as i completed tasks because i had committed to do them and not really enjoying any of it. two jobs, parenting, school and trying to live some kind of life was too much.

a couple of tasks are on hand to help me achieve balance in the new year. first, i will be stopping my master’s program (again) and instead taking the certificate. as i think about what i gain from the master’s degree the benefits are not enough to commit the remaining resources. the program has done what i set out for it to do, give me a deeper understanding of the foundations of mental disability law. i will take one last course this spring to improve my advocacy skills in the courtroom for people with mental disabilities. after that, it will be time to focus those energies in application. one big area of concentration for me in the new year will be growing my private practice. i am really enjoying the work that has come through my own law firm and i am looking forward to a couple of great opportunities on the horizon. i do find irony that a symbol of the law is the scales of justice, but there are very few lawyers i know that have balanced work and life well.

of course, like a lot of folks, i need to exercise more. what activity is the exercise for me seems elusive. i’ve tried a lot of things and one thing is for certain, yoga is not for me. i am learning to ice skate and i really enjoy that so perhaps that will be my winter thing, especially when the snow isn’t ideal for skiing. the summer always lends itself to biking, which is a family passion.

my online presence requires more balance too.  i relied too heavily on facebook and neglected this space too much.  while facebook played a large role this past year, i will try better to be here and cross post to facebook to keep connections strong but really keep our story here where it has been for so long.

and most importantly the reason to look for better balance in life is to spend more quality time with my family. they are of course why i do what i do. i always want to be a better partner and mother. sometimes that means clearing away the other demands of life.

of course now i’ll need to stick with this and call myself out when i am taking on too much. that’s part of learning and growing, learning to recognize when things are creeping out of balance before its too late. so here’s to a new year of things in moderation!