Just like that the holidays are behind us. In the blink of an eye the day, the weeks and months leading up to it, the whole year really is almost gone, never to be retrieved again except through our memories.
Crumbs and dirty dishes are all that's left to represent the time and fun we spent with friends and family. And for me, this year will be a happy memory, a year filled with highs and lows, but thankfully mostly highs. Even Christmas, which included our daughter throwing her back out and being bedridden for the most part, will still bring a smile to my face when I think back on it.
To hear my children laughing and chatting while she laid in bed and her brother hung out with her warms my heart and makes me long for those holidays when I knew she wouldn't be leaving to go back home to her own place.
Some years are more memorable than others, and I have to say that 2011 was one of the more memorable ones. It included selling my parent's house, the home I grew up in, the place where my dreams were first formed. Just before we went to settlement last week, after months of waiting, I wandered from room to room and said goodbye. Tears fell, as I remembered the joy and happiness I had found there, and the dreams I had dared to dream in each and every one of those rooms. But tears gave way to relief and the knowledge that instead of empty rooms, those rooms would once again be filled with laughter and hopefully be the place where someone else could learn to dream big.
It was also a year when friends were challenged by illness and accidents. One where they found a strength I can only imagine, and one where they are winning their individual battles. For that I am grateful, humbled, and mostly just in awe.
It was a year when I got to visit Europe again, and was reminded why I love it so much. The people, the cities, the architecture, and of course the food. And being there made me formulate new dreams that include getting back there and not waiting so long between visits.
This year was also a year when my family stood behind me and gave me the courage to try new things, step outside of my box, and start on a new journey of exploration. They did this all while making me proud every single day by living their own dreams, while still supporting mine.
I don't have a handbook for what 2012 will be, what it will have in store for me or for the ones I love, but I do have a clear vision of what I hope it will be. I hope that I will slow down more, enjoy more, listen to that little voice more, and do the things that make me happy while making others happy too.
I took the photo above last October. It is of the river just across the street from me, and was taken with my long lens. When you look closely you can see the houses on the other side of the river, which is 5 miles wide at this particular point. Some people will only see the dark foreground, while others will focus on the water, but the lucky ones will see the tiny houses nestled on the distant shore.
Be one of the lucky ones in 2012, look beyond your own shore to the one you can barely make out in the distance. This year, use your own long lens and dare to look ahead and picture where you want to be and what you hope to accomplish. Remind yourself each day of how important you are, even if you are the only one who knows it, and create your vision instead of waiting for someone else to do it for you!
Do you have a dream for 2012...I'm all ears!