Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009!!!

Happy first day of 2009, everyone! I hope you all had a safe and wonderful New Year's Eve!!! I can't believe 2008 has come and gone already. It was definitely a year of ups and downs, that's for sure. I had to deal with a lot of family drama, family health problems, personal health concerns (that turned out to be nothing, thank God), work stress, relationship and friendship stress, etc. But some of these "lows" brought positive changes, and I've learned a lot about myself this year.

Last night I was writing in my journal, and while I definitely had some struggles in 2008, I wanted to think about all of the good things that happened to me too. Even the negatives brought out some positives. Here's a recap of some of the stuff that happened to me in 2008:

*I started eating a lot healthier and paying attention to what I was eating. I used to claim to be this "healthy eater", because I ate Lean Cuisines and drank diet soda, ate low-fat this and fat-free that, and processed/artificial foods that were masquerading as "healthy" but really weren't, foods that had HFCS in them, etc., and while I did work out a few times a week, I did the same exact workout every single time- a half-hour on the elliptical. But I've totally changed all that. I started making my own healthy meals- no more Lean Cuisines- using more natural, healthy, real, and unprocessed foods, like lean meats and whole grains and vegetables, I stopped eating artificial/processed/HFCS foods and found more natural substitutions (there was even HFCS in my "100% whole wheat bread"!), and I'm so happy that I did. I've fallen in love with many healthy dishes/recipes and foods and snacks, and I feel better and healthier! I also switched up my workouts with cardio on different machines at different intervals, with strength training, yoga, Pilates, etc. I switch it up every day. I feel like a totally different person, and I love it! :-)

*I went to AMAZING book sales, bought lots of great books for ridiculously cheap, and have read so many amazing books this year. And I started this blog, of course!

*I watched the Phillies win the World Series... it still feels a little surreal to me!

*I helped elect our first black president into office. YAY OBAMA!!!

*I got out of a bad relationship this year. It wasn't abusive or anything like this, but it was a miserable, toxic, pretty much dead-end relationship that I was very, very unhappy in, but didn't know how to end. When it finally ended, I felt immense relief and happiness and freedom. I never once did shed a tear over the breakup, which I think only drives home the point that it was the right thing for me. And I was able to learn what I want in a relationship, and what I don't want. I'm so happy being single at this stage of my life right now, because I've never really been single for a long period of time... since high school, I've always had a boyfriend, always been dating. Now I feel like it's time to focus on me, who I really am, and what I really want out of life. I am totally loving every minute of it! :-)

*Like my relationship, I learned this year that I had some friendships that were not really "friends", which is actually a blessing in disguise, because I really do not want people like that in my life. Not to say it didn't hurt. But knowing that I am better off in the long run without hurtful people like that in my life, it makes it easier. I feel better and happier not having the toxicity and drama that came along with not-so-great friendships. You know? When it comes to people in my life, I've always cared more about quality, not quantity. Having good people in your life is all that matters. Life is too short to waste energy on people who bring you stress, you know?

Here are some goals that I have for 2009 (I don't like to say "New Year's Resolutions"- let's face it, no one keeps them):

*To be as happy and healthy as possible*

*To spend quality time with the people I care about*

*Not to let other people's issues/problems influence me*

*Learn to cook more complicated dishes*

*To be productive and positive at work*

*To read as many of my books as possible!*

*Get more sleep during the work week*

*Drink less coffee during the work day (I think that will help with the goal above)*

*Try to be more organized- less clutter!*

*Spend lots of time with my grandmother*

So it's ridiculously freezing here today. The first day of 2009 is C-O-L-D. I am thinking that there is a bowl of soup in my future. Ordinarily I like to be more creative on my days off and make real meals, but screw it, I'm cold, and I'm craving my favorite Lentil soup. Luckily I have a can of it in the pantry. I'm starting off 2009 with all of my favorite foods... I had my Barbara's Shredded Spoonfuls with skim milk and cinnamon and a banana for breakfast, and for dinner I'm doing a baked potato concoction (I'll post a pic later). What better way to ring in the new year than with all of your favorite foods? :-) I'm in cleaning mode today- I dusted my bookshelves, I'm washing my flannel sheets, and soon I'll vacuum the apartment. It was all long overdue, believe me! After lunch I'll probably do a Pilates DVD. I don't feel like going to the gym today, and that'll be a nice simple afternoon workout.

I can't believe my almost two-week vacation is almost over. Boo-hiss. It's been great though! I actually had to work yesterday, and it was busy. I had so much work! That's never happened before. Every other year it's been dead- usually I read a book or clean my desk! Not this year. And it was especially interesting since no one was in the office! I was like, where the hell's all this work coming from? Annoying. I'm not looking forward to Monday... it's going to be hard to readjust to the daily grind! (So much for that "be more positive at work" goal, huh? LOL)

I've been doing a lot of reading too. I finished Sixteen on Sunday night while my sister was over (yes, we actually DID sit and read books for a while after we watched Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, which was pretty funny). I wanted to finish it up while she was at my place, because I wanted to lend it to her. It was pretty cute, and a fast read. I skipped over some of the stories because they didn't hold my interest, but still a fun little teenybopper read. And I let my sister pick my new book for me... another recent book acquisition from last fall!

DSCI0910 The Class, by Erich Segal (he also wrote Love Story, which I've never read or seen, but I know how it ends). It's a fiction novel about five guys who attend Harvard in the 1950s, and the book chronicles their lives throughout college, and what happens to each of them afterwards for the next 25 years. They're not best friends or anything, but their lives do intersect at some point. I'm already almost 200 pages into it (it's about 530 long), because I can't put it down! Erich Segal's a fantastic writer! He keeps the story moving, the characters interesting (except I can't stand one of the main characters- George- I'm finding that I'm skimming his story because I just dislike him so much!), but it's so good! I highly recommend this author! He's written a bunch of other books too. He might not appreciate this comparison, but his epic/saga-style of writing kind of reminds me of Danielle Steel, haha. :-)

Okay, I'm starving... time to make my soup and watch The Biggest Loser marathon on BRAVO, and then do some Pilates and read my fabulous book! I'll post a dinner pic later.

Hope you're all having a great first day of 2009!!! :-)

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