Sunday, December 25, 2011

New Year, New You

Resolution. To me it sounds like a cure. Some concotion a doctor would prescribe for any ailement you might have, and within weeks you would be better. Yet, the truth of the matter is many of the resolutions people make on New Year's are far from a quick fix. The problems people have stem from a multitude of years of bad habits and bad choices. You can't get skinny in 1 month, you can make a lifetime of debt disappear in days. Thus I have a hard time accepting the hard and fast rule of resolutions, but I do take inventory on my own life and see what is working and what could be improved. 

The best thing about the New Year is that it is like the first day of grade school- a fresh start. No matter what plagued you the year before whether it was subtraction or social studies, the first day is a chance to regain lost ground. Thus all I can do is look to the  new year ahead with hope and anticipation.

Perhaps it is my giddy joy for things to come, or just the fact that I have been through the trenches of life this past year and I am ready for higher ground. I have learned more about myself in the last year than I ever wanted to know. I am a stronger being than I ever thought I could be. I mean what more could you want from a year right? Yet, the truth is I will always want to lose another 20lbs or save a little more money, but what I really want from this year ahead - is to be amazed. 

Amazed at the beauty, the spontaneity, and the love this world has to offer. I want to eat more cheese, drink more champagne-and laugh often, loud, and much. I want to believe that I have purpose. I want to listen better, and I want to marvel at the beauty around me. I want to be a better doctor, daughter, and friend. I want to love.

When I was little I used to write my resolutions down, and place them on my closet wall. They would stare at me right in the face everyday all year long. What I came to find is that more times than not I completed the tasks I had set out for the new year. I was methodical and everything was planned perfectly, so that I could complete my list. Yet, as I have gotten older I have mellowed a bit, I am not as uptight, or stressed out. My goals are not as particular, but a little more lofty, a little more crunchy granola I would say. With this unleashing of check marks to be completed or jobs to be done, I feel more spontaneous and free as if nothing  in this world could weigh me down.

Thus, I hope you will not get caught up in the moment of the night, making all these new resolutions, because in honesty it can become more exhausting than good. My hope for you is that you bring in the new year in style, class, and above all champagne. I hope that when that ball drops tonight you feel nothing but hope for the things to come. I hope there are those obnoxious blow horns, and party hats. I hope there is a kiss. I hope you feel like your slate has been cleaned, and this year is yours for the taking. More than anything,I hope your year sparkles and shines like nobodies business.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Twenty-eight and counting...

It is a fact. Tomorrow I turn twenty-eight years old, and I am absolutely 100% OK with it. You see there are some years in life where you actually don't feel any older than you did the year before, but this year is not that year for me. I am so ready to leave my 27th year in the dust and move on to bigger and brighter years to come.

The truth is, as hard is it is to say, I have aged this year. Not only have the little lines began to creep up around my eyes when I smile, but more importantly I have grown emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I actually am bothered when people ask me if I could go back in time what age would I choose, I always say "I choose now." You see when I look at the person I was 7 years ago I can barely recognize her. She is a faint memory of the person I am now, today.

I believe as I age I have become more confident in the person I am, and I have more realistic goals of the person I want to become; and I love the person I am constantly evolving to be. I'm not scared of what the future may hold, but truly believe that there is a reason for everything. I believe more than anything this year, I have realized that I am stronger than I ever imagined.

Furthermore, each year I dedicate my birthday wish to a mantra for the next year to carry through the year with me. Last year it was happiness, while I can think of a lot of other words to describe last year, I will have to say that through it all I still feel that happiness did prevail. Thus for the year approaching I have done a lot of thinking, and I have decided that this year is going to be about love- giving, receiving, and making it apart of my everyday life.

Over the last months I have been so impressed by love others have shown me and my family. I have goosebumps, just thinking about how much this means to me. I guess my goal for the year is to let people know how much they mean to me, how important they really are. I want them to have no questions about the way I feel about them. Life is just too short to be indecisive.

It is crazy to me that I know exactly what I was doing one year ago today. I was sitting in the Indianapolis Airport at my favorite local restaurant, Cafe Patachou, with my parents. I was getting ready to go on a whirl wind traveling expedition for residency interviews. I remember exactly what I was wearing, I remember what I ate, I remember my nervous energy, and I remember thinking I'm not sure if things will ever be the same. In retrospect you have these moments that you come back to think about, these glimpses that foreshadow the future. I remember specifically when my dad gave me my birthday card, we looked at each other in the eye. Without saying a word my eyes began to water, and I had to look back at my omelet and toast to prevent tears from streaming down my face. I think we both knew that this would be our last birthday together.

While tomorrow will be a bit bittersweet, you can have no doubt that I will welcome 28 with open arms. There might not be cake or candles tomorrow, but you can bet there will be champagne, friends, laughter, and love. I am determined to make 28 the best year yet.

Have a Fabulous Weekend! XOXO

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Cheer

I am that girl who listens to Christmas music in September, has her tree up no later than black friday, and believes full heartedly that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Last night I went running around 9 pm in Downtown Portland. It was the first day of the year where you walked outside and the crispness of the air made you shiver from head to toe. While Portland city proper does not specialize in snow, it does have a dense fog that engulfs the city giving it an eerie, yet magical feeling. It was truly the first winter day I have had here. As I ran around town all of my favorite Christmas memories and moments started to come to me. Perhaps it was the nostalgia of the evening, or all the holiday cheer I found in home windows, or the lights that I passed, but I couldn't help but share these stories that had me both laughing and crying on my run.

When I was in kindergarten I remember it was about this time of the year, when I was given the greatest honor of all time- I was chosen to be student of the week which basically means you bring something in for show-and-tell to share with the class. I had decided that I would bring in my most beloved book of the holiday season " The Sweet Smells of Christmas." I didn't just love this book because it revolved around that jolly man in red and white, I really loved it because it was a scratch and sniff book which back in 1989 was stinkin' amazing. Thus, I was so proud the day I was student of the week. I remember I told the story from memory and then passed around the book so everyone could enjoy. I will never forget how my body first began to trembled and then big tears began streaming down my face as I realized that everyone in my class loved my book too, because ever page had holes in it from where children had zealously over scratched and sniffed my book. Needless to say show-n-tell was never quite as exciting for me.

I feel that if you know me at all, you would know I have huge faith in people, and thus I had huge faith in Santa Claus. My mother and I had this holiday tradition growing up where we would decorate our house and make cookies for Santa all weekend long. There are multiple home videos of me prancing around our house singing songs about Santa and how I deserved the biggest barbie dream house of them all. The truth is I will never forget that frightful day on the bus as I explained to one of my neighbor boys how excited I was for Santa to come. I will never forget as he looked at me with malice in his eyes and said, " Jennifer, Santa doesn't exist, It is your mom." I being the very dramatic child that I was said with my hands upon my hips, "Jason Campbell, Santa can hear you and you are getting nothing for Christmas." I remember getting off the school bus, slinging my book bag down, and asking my mom point blank " Is santa real?" I could see the concern in her face and she said something I cannot remember, but all I did take from this conversation was that Jason Campbell had stolen Christmas and how my 8 year old life would never be the same.

Yet, Christmas has really evolved over the years for me. As a family, we don't really do gifts anymore, but it is much more about good company and of course good food. My mom makes the most amazing cinnamon rolls known to mankind. Each Christmas she would make several batches for us to take to our friends. Thus, my dad and I would fill the back of the car with the Christmas rolls and deliver them one by one to each home on Christmas Eve. It was so special getting a glimpse of each family's Christmas Eve tradition. It was one the moments I waited for all year. When we returned my family would generally go to the Christmas Eve service where we would sing songs and carols. I would wait eagerly for one of my favorite Christmas songs "Silent night" as I stood between my parents holding my candle. I would just close my eyes and listen to heavenly peace. My father would belt out the words in the deepest voice you have ever heard, it was as if the earth was shattering. It is one of the most beautiful memories of Christmas that I have and I will never forget as long as I live.

This is what I love about the holidays, it is so grounded in tradition, and yet there is still so much hope for new opportunities. While my holidays will never be the same, it is about carrying on the traditions that mean so much to me. While I won't be home for Christmas this year, I am eager to share my love and family traditions with my new family here in Portland. I laughed aloud today when one of my friends said, " Your are the daughter of Christmas, and you have never been to the Nutcracker?" So perhaps the best things about the holiday are bringing in the traditions of old with the possibilities of the new. Trust me, the opportunities are endless. May the season bring you nothing but holiday cheer, and memories to last all year long.