I hope you are enjoying the holidays with many loved ones and friends! I have been a bit absent from LBH but this has given me so much to think about and ponder, and be so very thankful for the many blessings and people in my life. I have been so excited about creating La Belle Hibou as a new vehicle for me to connect with others and learn, share, and exchange ideas, perceptions, inspirations. So with this here last little post for 2011, I thought I would personally open up a bit more to my tiny audience and to anyone willing to read it, about my last 12 months.
2011 did not start out well. In January, a very close dear friend of mine unexpectedly passed away. I had spoken to her over the phone just weeks before, and losing her was one of the worst and most difficult challenges I have ever faced. Her passing also happened during one of the busiest times in my 9-5 life. I had been working literally about 100 hours per week since December for an enormous project – a project which came to a screeching halt the minute I got the news. And yet, her passing also brought many wonderful subsequent happenings. Mutual friendships became stronger, and we still turn to each other for comfort, laughter and support. Our friendships are closer because of our loss. In our loss, we have also gained. For this, I am so thankful and humbled.
I managed to get through that enormous project at work relatively unscathed, and lived to tell about it (no more 100+ hour work weeks!). Not long after the project closed, I was able to see another very close friend marry the love of her life. It was a beautiful occasion, and we cried and laughed and laughed and sang karaoke after the reception. She married during the early spring in the South, in a scene of trees blooming and cloudy skies breaking open. Such a happy occasion!
A month later, I was able to visit my semi-retired parents in their (temporary) home of Jinotega, Nicaragua. It was an amazing experience – the beautiful largely untouched land, the tumultuous political history and persevering people, the delicious coffee… the COFFEE!!! Obviously the cost of living is so much lower than the cost here in the U.S., so I’m so happy that my parents are happy. They deserve to enjoy their pseudo-childless lives now until they return to the U.S. And until that day comes, I have a reason for more Central American trips and passport stamps.
The summer passed too quickly – I spent a wonderful weekend in the windy city with friends, got to reunite with visiting friends, and had an infamously memorable weekend in Santa Barbara. A hard lesson was also learned: go to the doctor when you aren’t feeling well because home remedies aren’t always enough. I had a scare with a bladder infection that took a dangerous turn for the worst into a kidney infection. I know there have been just a few moments when I have feared for my life, and this was definitely one of them. Feeling terribly ill for nearly a week with a high fever, sweats, chills, repeat… Thankfully I recovered, LESSON LEARNED THE HARD WAY.
The end of summer and beginning of fall was truly the highlight of my year. A (future) sister-in-law’s wedding and spending time with (future) in-laws who make me laugh and smile and warm my heart kicked off my favorite season of the year. The wedding was followed by seven – yes, seven – baby showers of very dear friends. I finally acknowledged the universe’s message to me, and nodded in my understanding of this life stage. To see the first few newborns of said showers made my Babies-R-Us shopping sprees worth every cent. Holding the babies, hearing the ever so sweet and quiet noises they make while sleeping in my arms, taking more pictures than a paparazzo, hearing the stories about the long labors and pleasant epidurals… I am so blessed to be a witness to it all and be a part of it.
A couple weeks ago, after coming home from an amazing weekend in San Francisco with the one I love so much, I was brushing my teeth and preparing for bed when I began contemplating this blog post. Looking back on the year that began with a horrible loss, but is ending with beautiful new life, new beginnings. As much as I miss my dear friend ~ as stressed out as I was in 2011 ~ as many gray hairs that have popped up seemingly overnight on my head ~ as much as I did not accomplish this year that I intended to accomplish ~ it doesn’t matter.
It’s time to prepare for another new beginning, new life events, new ups and downs, new inspirations, new discoveries of myself. It’s time to take each day one day at a time, and be grateful for the overabundance I have in my life. It’s time for me to pick up the phone and call (not text) family and friends, even if it’s just to say hi for a few minutes or share a funny story or thought. It’s time to make plans to have more people over to my home for a meal or a movie or a cocktail or a coffee more often than not. It’s time to give back to others whenever I can, no matter how little money I may have in my pocket. It’s time to smile to passersby whenever possible, and possibly get a smile in return, or not. It’s time to try to face each challenge, big and small, with a smile and with laughter and as much joy as possible, remembering that with each challenge my goal should be to better myself.
It’s time for 2012.
I thank you for reading my reflections, and I would love to hear yours!!
Here’s wishing you a wonderful end to 2011, and to an even better 2012!!
Bonne Année!!! Happy New Year!!!
- La Belle Hibou