For those of you in my life who know about my love of Broadway musicals, you know that is a part of one of my favorite songs in the musical Rent called “Seasons of Love.” For those of you who don’t get into musicals, you may know that those are the number of minutes in one year. For those of you who didn’t know either of those facts, congratulations….you just gained some new knowledge.
With the new year fast approaching, I can’t help but think about the past year. I really think it is important to be reflective…how else can one grow as a person????? If I have learned anything this past year, it is how important that is.
Most of you know that throughout the year I have been working toward the goal of completing my Big 31 of 2013. If you are reading this blog entry, but haven’t read anything about the Big 31…I have to ask..where have you been living??? Under a rock! Catch up on your Katetastic information.
If you read my entry entitled It’s My Birthday Month , you learned more about why I set the goals I did for 2013. As written in that particular entry: ” The point of this has been to improve myself as a person…to be in better shape…to be a better cook…a better photographer…a better friend…a better person……After all, it’s all about being a little better than I was yesterday.”
Earlier, as I was running errands to get some items I needed for this evening, I did something I rarely ever do. I made the entire drive in silence….no music…no phone calls. Silence. And I started to think about how fast 2013 has gone and how I had changed as a person.
The truth is, when 2013 started I was in a really bad place….I was unhappy…I was unhealthy…and I really felt like I was being a selfish person. In my opinion, my life started to unravel toward the end of 2012 and 2013 had picked up right where that had ended. I knew that things would spiral out of control if I didn’t change things. So I chose to change the direction my life was going. I chose the belief that my life once again would be full of happiness and love. Thus the Big 31 was born.
For those of you who didn’t click the above mentioned click to view the initial entry, The Big 31 took the place of any resolutions and became a “to do” list of sorts that I wanted to accomplish by today, the last day of 2013. The To Do list had different areas…with my goal being to complete 31 tasks in each area. It seemed like a lofty challenge, but I was up for it. Here is a breakdown of what I did (and didn’t) do:
KATIE’S BIG 31 OF 2013
– Run 31 Races: Of all the things included in the Big 31, this was one of the two that I was hell bent on completing. Of course I wanted to complete everything I had goaled myself to do, but this one was different. Running is an important part of my life for a lot of reasons, but so is pushing myself to new limits. I knew trying to run 31 races would be a serious challenge. I am happy to report that two weeks ago I successfully ran my 31st race! You can read all about the races that I did and check out pictures by clicking here! And just to show this part of the challenge who’s boss, I’m running the Great New Year’s Eve Race this evening with about 700 of my closest running pals. GOAL SHATTERED + 1!!!!!
– Cook 31 New Recipes: It was really important to me to broaden my cooking abilities this year. I’ve always loved to cook and bake, but sometimes I fall into the habit of making the same things over and over simply because I like them so much. Throughout the course of the year I posted a few recipes of what I made, and I am happy to report that every recipe I made turned out beautifully….well…except for the butternut squash soup I attempted that exploded all over the kitchen (and dog). My favorite recipe to date: my friend Sharon’s protein ball recipe…..Super easy and delicious! Here’s how you make them!
Protein Ball Recipe
-1 cup instant oats
-1/3 cup honey
-1/2 cup natural peanut butter
-1/2 cup flaxseed
-1 tsp vanilla
-2/3 cup coconut
I also add in 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips and 1/2 protein powder.
Other than the protein balls, the remaining 30 recipes I made include: Banana Oat breakfast cookies, stuffed crab rolls, monkey bread, lemon monkey bread (yes two different kinds), turkey taco bake, black bean and spinach enchiladas, pink chocolate chip cookies, granola bars, cauliflower mac and cheese, pumpkin spice lattes, zucchini parmesan crisps, OMG chicken, goat cheese stuffed peppers, peachy keen bars, caprese pasta, lemonade dip, mexican sweet potatoes, egg breakfast cups, guacamole, butternut squash soup, baked pepperoni zucchini boats, peanut butter frosting, fish tacos, tomallito scramble, egg avocado pizza, bacon guacamole grilled cheese, truffle fries, buffalo chicken sliders, and baked fried pickles. I also made about 25 different Shakeology recipes, too. My friends and family definitely enjoyed this part of the Big 31 since they got to try the majority of these items out. GOAL MET!
-Complete 31 Acts of Kindness: This one was right up there with running 31 races. I’ve always done nice things for others, but coming into this year I just felt I needed to step it up a notch. Like I mentioned before, I felt like I was in a bad place and was being too selfish. It was important to me to help those in need and try to do things to cheer up those around me. Throughout the year I donated items, paid for strangers’ food/coffee, wrote letters to soldiers, did kind things for my students without them knowing it was me, volunteered, planned and executed successful fundraisers…..after awhile I actually stopped keeping track because doing these things had become a part of my lifestyle. I really hope that everyone who reads this blog decides to pay it forward and be kinder in the new year. Sometimes the smallest of gestures mean the world to someone. GOAL MET!
– Read 31 Books: My main goal for wanting to read more books was to challenge myself to step away from my hectic life to have some ME time. I’ve always been a big reader, but sometimes I get lost in the hustle of my crazy life to remember how much I love curling up under a blanket with hot chocolate and reading. I went through periods of time this year where I read like a maniac, then didn’t for weeks. I only ended up reading 15 books this year, however, I am in the middle of 6 different ones. Now that my schedule has simmered down a little I am hoping to finish those and start some new ones. I also plan on getting a library card (I know, exciting big girl stuff) in the next few weeks. You can see what I have read and plan to read by clicking my Shelfari shelf! GOAL NOT MET!
-Complete 31 Photo Shoots: Well, this one didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped. When I started the year and the challenge, I was enrolled in school full time pursuing a photography degree to supplement my many talents and interests. When March hit, I decided I needed to take a break from it for some different reasons, and while I still continue taking pictures to this day, I didn’t pursue many photo shoots throughout the course of the year. Many of my subjects were animals, but my favorite photo shoot of the year was the one I did for my roommate, Kyla, and her brother, Max. They wanted to recreate photos from their childhood for their parents, and I couldn’t have been happier with the end result. Overall, I only completed 15 photos shoots throughout the course of the year. GOAL NOT MET!
– Share 31 Stories of Awesome Friendship: Initially when I came up with this part of the Big 31, my goal was to share stories about the important people in my life with all of my readers. I truly feel I am who I am because of the amazing people I am lucky to call my friends. While I did share stories involving some of my closest friends throughout the year by way of blog entries, I also shared many stories and moments via Facebook and in real life by reliving them to others. So many amazing memories with my friends this year…I am so thankful for each and every one of you! I decided to share a few of my favorite moments of the year in this blog. GOAL MET!
-Make 31 Crafts: Oh, those crafts! Something else I had planned out with the intention of completing and then life happened…..I only ended up making 14 different crafts. However, the ones I made I absolutely loved, and I did repeat a few. I made my first tutu back in June for the Dirty Girl Mud Run and ended up making two more tutus throughout the year, but I didn’t want to count those multiple times. My crafts included items from costumes to dog bones to dinnerware to business cards. My favorite craft of the year was the box of Sunshine I made for Whit this fall. I had a fun time making it for her, and I know that it brought her some cheer, which was the point of the craft. I guess Martha Stewart wins this round…..GOAL NOT MET!
-Buy 31 New Pairs of Shoes: I don’t really have to elaborate on this one. I think we all know I met this goal about two months into the year. I did donate a pair of shoes for every pair I purchased…I’m not a hoarder! My favorite shoe purchase of the year was a no brainer: the bad boys listed below. GOAL MET!
I know some people thought that trying to complete all of these things was a crazy notion, but I am so glad I did the Big 31. Not only did this force me to think outside of the box and try some new things, but it helped pull me back among the living. As I write up this blog I can’t believe a year has passed since I came up the idea and started planning. I think about where I was in my life a year ago and where I am now, and I can’t believe how much things have changed. All in just 525, 600 minutes.
To the year 2013….you were a real bitch….not only to me, but to my family and friends. I think I speak for everyone when I say you will not be missed. Our relationship started out rocky, and I was not excited about the 365 days involved with you. However, I was determined to not let you bring me down. Despite your attempts to kick me when I was at my absolute lowest, I somehow managed to show you who was boss and end up on top. I’m closing the door on you with a smile because you did not beat me this year, nor do I hate the trials you let me face throughout the year. After all, I’m ending the year the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. Bring it, 2014! I can’t wait to see what the future holds!