This year sucked.
Sometimes you just have to say that something sucks. No excuses, no rationalizing, just the true-to-yourself, in-the-moment fact: suck is a thing, and that is what this year did.
And it was also great.
As I type the above, it begins to make sense to me. Last year I resolved to find what was holding me back, and to let go. I found it this year. I have come face to face with the dark, icky black inside myself, and the stark contrast of that darkness with the brightness of reality. I began the work of healing at a deeper level. In doing so, I felt like a scantily-clad warrior woman from a fantasy movie, taking the hero's journey through the darkness, battling monsters and finding that the strength I carry inside myself is enough.
I also began to shed the identity of "student" that I've carried around for the past three years. Grad school was my resting place, a place to hide and recover, the chrysalis - and now it's done. I didn't realize how much mental space school had occupied. After submitting my last assignment there was a palpable silence, like the echoing buzz you begin to hear in your head after a loud machine has been turned off. It's nice, but I'm not sure I like it. My challenge will be to not fill it up right away, but take some time to explore this newly discovered part of me.
2014 is going to be big. Changes always are, but this one feels different. It's not a change into the unknown, it's a shift into applying what I've learned. I get to act on everything I've been working toward. I finally have space to settle.
So how did I do this past year? Lets take a look:
1. Finish another book. One more adult in nature. Oh so close!! I'm having a blast writing this, and am aiming to be done in February.
2. Focus on self care so that I may be of the very best service to my clients. Yep! This was tested greatly this year. My internship took about 30 hours per week, my paid work took about 30 hours too, plus classes... somehow I still managed to keep my Saturdays for myself, spend time with my man and sleep enough too.
3. Share what I learn with others. I think this resolution foreshadowed some of the work I'd do with clients. If that's the case, then yes.
4. Continue to grow through relationships. Yes, in quite a few happy and painful ways. Still a work in progress.
5. Have integrity in my internship. Yes. This is where I have to don my battle garb and stand in my own strength. Internship broke my heart this year, but in the end, I was still me and that was enough.
6. Work my ass of to graduate in December. YES!! Though I'm still waiting for that "You've done it!" email.
7. Go on two badass climbing trips. Absolutely NO. As mentioned above, I had no time at all.
8. Re-decide that it's ok for me to make mistakes. Absolutely YES. This was one of my biggest areas of growth this year.
9. Love on my family more. Yep :)
10. Consolidate the geography of my life. YES! Moved to Golden, work in ONE (ok maybe 2) places. Much better.
12. Play the uke. I give up. This is never gonna happen.
13. Run 4 miles in a row. Never gonna happen either.
14. Do 3 14'ers. I did 1!! Plus a crap ton of hiking thanks to my final client.
15. End internship with a plan in mind for 2014. 100% yes!
1. Internship happened. I learned a ton. I moved outside of my comfort zone, which was ironically indoors, and worked with clients in a clinic setting. I went through a lot of "firsts" and moments of "oh crap, what do I do now?" I also learned how to run my own practice, something I am stoked to begin working on in 2014. It took all my time and energy, broke my heart, gave me joy and propelled me into a new self I didn't know was in there. Usually it takes a while for me to be grateful for tough experiences, but this time I feel nothing but gratitude as I move into a new year.
2. I got a job and "family" at the same moment! I work in a science outreach and training role at a large institution in Denver. As part of my grand plan to streamline my life, I searched high and low for something a bit less than full time that I would like and would still let me eat/pay rent. I lucked out big time. I found a place 20 min from my home, there are always new things to learn and do, and I have definitely found "my people." My team consists of educators and counselors, science minded folk with amazing senses of humor. I really do love it here.
4. I got an American Alpine Club research grant to run and evaluate a women's trauma informed climbing program. I'm so excited to do this. As I make more and more connections in the Front Range area, I see this program as a major jumping off point for me in becoming an honest to god professional :) I wrote my capstone on this program, and it was chosen as a "paper of note" and will be used as an example of what a capstone should look like. #happy
5. Oh, and did I mention that I finished my coursework?!? At some point I'm gonna flash "ALEYA LITTLETON, MA" all over the place!
I, Aleya Littleton, do hereby resolve to:
1. FINISH THE BOOK!
2. Create a plan to gain relevant experience in the field, including volunteering.
3. Boldly network. Go introduce myself to local offices, make friends and bring cookies.
4. Be way involved in TAPG (the adventure therapy professional group).
5. Continue to write research papers/articles - but this time on topics I actually like.
6. Figure out my poor dog's allergy situation. She itches all the time.
7. Create a professional support network for myself.
8. Take a solo trip.
9. Begin building my practice in a way that is organic, sustainable and attainable. For me this might mean slowing down and breathing.
10. Save up so I can take skiing lessons! And have the gear to go whenever I want.