How Do You Measure A Year?

It’s the last day of 2022, and in reflecting on how this year went, I couldn’t help but think of the song from Rent, Seasons of Love:

525,600 minutes
525,000 moments so dear
525,600 minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In 525,600 minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?

How do you measure a year?  How do you sum it all up in one word or phrase?  What have your most joyful days consisted of or those that were filled with debilitating sorrow? What have been the adventures you have chosen to take?  How did you spend your days?  Who did you spend them with?  Were there romantic rendezvous followed by heartbreaks?   Was there boredom?  How do you cheer all of your accomplishments or grow from your failures?  What brought smiles, and what brought shame?  Who entered your world and who left it?  What are you vowing to do differently?  What is going to be on repeat?  

I have been reflecting on a variety of these questions today, but actually much of these past several months.  Moving home tends to do this.  One cannot help but reflect on what occurred during the time one resided in a place, and the change one longs for.  I have moved to my fourth country less than two weeks ago.   I officially left the cosmopolitan mega city of Paris France to the coastal vibrant town of Malaga Spain.  Although I am American, I have now lived overseas for 9 ½ years, via the route of the United Kingdom.  At the age of 43, officially midlife, I can’t help but wonder how do I want to spend the rest of my time on this earth? 

This has been a monumental year for me, in that it was different than so many of my other years.  In the past I vowed to make changes, but they never seemed to occur.  It was all talk, but in December 2021, I knew a shift was necessary.  One year ago, I left the traditional work force, and jumped into the world of the unknown in a foreign land which I didn’t understand the language.  I was appreciative I did this at the time, because I was able to spend endless days with my two elderly dogs.  This year, I lost Puzo, my fifteen year old English Bulldog.  This was one of the greatest losses I have experienced, for a being who I took care of for much of my adult life (late 20s to early 40s).  And since his loss, it’s trying to navigate the world without him and create a new life with my nearly 14 year old chug Bella, in yet another country.  The irony is the street I live in now is called Pozos Dulces.  Pozos seems similar to Puzo, and dulce means sweet.  Therefore, I like to think the street I live in now is called Sweet Puzos.  He is still with me.  Life goes on, and I have his blessing.    

I’ve travelled to America at least four times in 2022, to visit family, friends, speak at a large conference, and to sort my visa situation out.   In those moments, I was able to spend time with my brother as he healed from jaw surgery, watch my father got remarried, celebrate my grandmother’s surprise 80th birthday party, and was even able to visit a new city in my home country.  My brother, mother, and friend Isabella came to Paris on numerous occasions.  Isabella was my doggy au-pair during so many of my travels, which I am deeply grateful for.  My mother helped me move countries, which I couldn’t have done without her.  

But the year hasn’t gone as I expected.  I didn’t land that publishing deal I hoped for, or other dream job opportunities I applied to.  I did lead an ongoing creativity group in Paris and facilitated numerous sound healing sessions.  I was able to form new friendships in Paris.  I did a second portion of The Camino de Santiago.  There were other monumental moments I experienced, such as being on my favorite television show House Hunters International, speaking to a group of 600-800 female photographers live onstage, and recently publishing an article in The Washington Post.  How do you measure a year?  

There was more laughter than tears, more love than hate, more connection than isolation, more wonder than monotony.  I spent a lot of the year in confusion of where to go next and questioning what my identity was if not a psychologist.  I spent the year shedding guilt that I could be happy, even if I no longer was a productive member of society in a 9-5 job.  I am still learning this, and unlearning many things.  

Perhaps you have vowed to make shifts in your life during the pandemic, and my question is have you?  What do you want to change?  What is stopping you?  Or maybe you realize no change is necessary, you now know that being in your hometown surrounded by friends and family is the greatest blessing you could have ever wished for.  The pandemic may have taught you to appreciate all that you have.  How do you measure this year that has passed?  How do you want to measure the upcoming year? 

I will be facilitating an upcoming virtual sound healing event next week, where we may reflect on some of these questions.  Join me. Details below.  

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