Happy 2012! Here’s to a joyful year.

Happy 2012! I’m sure a lot of you have a list of resolutions. For me, it was always something superficial like, “I will eat healthier,” “I will floss my teeth more” or “I will lose some weight.” I never had a goal and I usually ignored it after 2 weeks into the new year (except for the flossing – I still floss more often than I used to). So what’s my resolution for this year? To be more joyful and to fill my life with things that bring me joy.

I don’t reveal too much about my personal life – yes, I know I’m on facebook and twitter and I do updates on my life there. But as far as deep issues – I don’t thing that social media outlets are an appropriate place for that. I’m very blessed to have the life I have: to have a home in San Diego, two beautiful and smart kids, a handsome loving husband, my health, my friends, and most of all, my God. But like most of you, I find myself in a funk sometimes – I get angry, sad, and cynical and I’ve been that way a little more than I care for in the past few years. I don’t want to live that way and I don’t want to teach my children to be that way. I want to focus on the blessings that God has given me and live thankfully and joyfully. This is a very emotional and challenging resolution and I know it’s going to test me. But with everything, I’ll have to make a habit of it to BE it.

Speaking of habits, I’ve been training for my first half-marathon and I’m 2 weeks into it. So far it’s going well and I’ve learned a lot about myself with every step I take. This is a picture of a hill I ran up on New Year’s Eve, which was at the end of my 5-mile long run (yes, I’m hardcore – even trained while on vacay). It’s a 13% grade just outside of the Universal Studios property. You can only imagine, I ran for 4.9 miles and I had to face this behemoth to get back to the hotel! A lot of my training involves hills since my neighborhood is at the base of a mountain. I used to dread hills with a passion. But I’ve found that it’s okay to take it slow and steady rather than stop than restart right in the middle of the hill. As with every hill you go up, your reward is the coast downhill. What a great comparison to all our challenges in life.

While on our year-end mini-vacation I met up with my friend, Sthanlee, who I met back as a freshman in college. We reminisced about the past and also caught up on what’s has happened over the past decade (gasp!).  It was fun to talk about what we “were” back then and who we are now. It really made me think about the things I’ve done and what has brought happiness in my life. So here goes my “goal to joyful” list (in no particular order):

Keep Running / Be Fit:
Fitness has always been a part of my life and it, too, has gone through its stages. But now that I’m running again I feel better than ever and I want to hang on to this feeling for as long as I can.

Take time for music:
If you’re a musician or a vocalist, you understand how music moves you. I can’t describe the joy I feel when I play the piano and sing. It’s exhilarating. It’s like therapy. I used to do it a lot. In fact, it’s how people identified me in my formative years. Somehow I lost it when I had a lot of “growing up” to do and I’m awkwardly trying to find my way back – singing or playing the piano at every opportunity I get. The next step – get my guitar back from my nephew – I want to ROCK.

Play with my kids more:
I find myself being too much of a “mom” and not having fun. When I play with my kids, I find myself organizing their toys as they’re pulling it out. It would be great to let go of that.

Be more prayerful and open to hear God’s answers:
I’m a cradle Catholic. I’m not a “preachy” type. I go to mass every week. I can’t quote the Bible but I do remember a quote from St. Francis of Assisi that my pastor mentioned during last night’s homily, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”  It’s how I intend to live my life. There’s nothing more humbling than saying a prayer—to believe that there is a power greater than ourselves that can help us.

Embrace the off-kilter:
No-brainer here. Things that don’t go the way as planned always make life interesting. I have to let go of perfection.

Be more charitable:
It seems that I dedicate a lot of my life to charity. I tend to lose the whole intention of being charitable when I’m burdened with the details and planning of fundraisers. I need to focus on the cause rather than myself.

Be compassionate:
While on vacation, I ran into a mom of newborn twins who gave more than her share of opinions on what kids and people (in general) should and should not eat. I found it very hard not to be a “judging mother.” I kept quiet and let her state her opinions – I’m sure it’s hard for her to be juggling a 2-1/2 year old and newborn twins. I shouldn’t be the one to tell her that her views will change when her kid will not eat anything but PB&J sandwiches. If she keeps doing what she’s doing, then more power to her. “Us moms” are too hard on each other.

Bake more, sew more, craft more:
Yup, you saw that coming. I love it. It brings me happiness to MAKE something—especially something sweet for others!

Love my husband:
Yes, I know I have to. But my goal is to be more loving in every sense of the word. He brought joy in my darkest days and now I need to dedicate myself to bringing him joy as well.

Oh this list can go on and on. I’ll get started on this stuff and I’m sure other things will work their way in. If you’ve read to this point, thank you. You guys are great friends (and troopers). I wish all of you a JOYOUS 2012!