Annual Reports

2014 in review

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This was how I rang in my new year. Freezing my buns off watching the ball drop, then a full-on barrage of fireworks in downtown Cortland, NY. It was low-key and fun…just how I like it.

Well, my favorite part of having a blog is receiving the yearly stats. For not having posted in a while, I must say that I was delighted with the results. My blog was viewed 3,500 times, with 411 views in one day. Yow! I posted an average of two pictures a day and folks from 49 countries read what I had to say (Mere, little ole me? Awe shucks!). The United States was in the lead but Brazil and the UK weren’t far behind. Wow! Just, wow! Thank you all so much for keeping up with me. A special thanks goes out to Jess Bennett for being the most prolific commenter. I think she’s won three years in a row now. Girlfriend, I have to send you a prize when I get the chance.

From a more personal standpoint, I can say that 2014 was absolute hell for me and many people. I’m beyond relieved to see that it’s over. Back in October 2013, I suffered from a brain aneurism and lost the job I loved because of it. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse it, without fail, it did. I struggled for several months to find any work, I finally found a fantastic job only to not be able to physically do it, I had to go on food stamps to feed myself, no one would hire me, I could barely pay rent, I was digging myself into major dept just to pay bills, a store owner literally stole thousands of dollars worth of my products, I was losing my friends to other relationships, I saw a young boy get run over on his bicycle and smeared across the pavement while the driver took off, I witnessed way too may acts of human cruelty…the world was a mess. I had no one and nothing and I was physically and mentally suffering.

Yup, 2014 was a year of being dragged over the hot coals of hellfire but in April things started to turn around when I gave up the apartment I loved (for the second time), swallowed the last shred of pride I had, and moved my sad ass back home. As soon as I threw in the towel, out of the blue, Shenandoah, a long-lost friend from high school, asked me to fill her new store up with products. I spent two blissful, stress-free months creating wonderful things for her and then it was off to Yellowstone for the most amazing field season ever! I slept with wolves, ran around with river otters, literally bumped into moose and was stalked by grizzlies. When I returned home, I enjoyed a few months off and fell into this Cornell job, which is an adventure in itself.

So when I look back to see how far I’ve come in a little over a year, I’m completely in shock. After 2013 and 2014, I never thought that I’d ever see a silver lining again. But all it took was that relatively simple act of swallowing my pride and giving in to where the current was wanting to wash me instead of continuing to struggle against it. Sometimes I’m way too stubborn for my own good.

Even now though, I’m still having a hard time trusting that I’m okay. It’s hard for me to be that smiling, care-free, happy girl I once was because I’ve been through so much. I find myself feeling very depressed, for no good reason, even when people are having fun around me. Honestly, I often feel dead inside…zombified. I know I’m safe and comfortable now and that I should be able to be happy but I’m still very much in that fight or flight mode. With each passing day, I come out of it a smidge more but finding joy again is clearly what I need to work on in 2015. Don’t cry for me Argentina, there’s hope for me yet!

How was your 2014? I’d be interested to hear your take on things.

Here’s an excerpt of my blog stats:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Uncategorized

2013 in review

Here is the annual report for my blog. To compare, here’s what 2012 looked like (plus an explanation as to why I blog). It looks like Jess, once again, wins the prize for the most comments. Good work girlfriend! I’ll get a package of goodies out to you soon. Thanks to everyone for reading! I know it’s been a wild and crazy ride. Cheers to a fantastic 2014!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 32 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Uncategorized

2013 in review

I love that WordPress issues this annual report because I look forward to it every year. So without further ado, here are the 2013 stats for this blog. For comparison, here is last year’s report (as well as an explanation as to why I blog). Not too shabby! Things are improving every day, which is a great sign. Cheers to a crafty 2014!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Health, Wellness & Enjoyment

The Measure of Success

Success, to me, is almost too vague of a word to have any real definitive meaning or value without having any clear metrics in place for measuring it. Just a few days ago I was enjoying dinner with a forest ecologist and a sociologist (no, this is not the set-up for a joke). The conversation quickly turned into a heated debate on what it means for a tree to be successful. The sociologist, having previously owned an apple orchard, saw success as being measured solely in fruit production. The forest ecologist saw success as being the amount of physical biomass accumulated by the tree that will in turn benefit other species by way of increased foraging opportunities, shade, habitat, decay, etc… Eventually, they both agreed to disagree and we were back to enjoying a peaceful meal. However, my point is that we all have different metrics, or ways of measuring success, whether it be for trees or ourselves or probably anything for that matter.

Today’s society would tell us that there are a two overarching metrics for success: monetary wealth and fame. The second tier of success being  higher education, job status, marriage, number of children, an enormous home you can’t afford and perhaps mini-van ownership. For me, measuring my life’s contributions in terms of any of these things would be unjustly undervaluing everything I stand for. I often tell people that I’m the most successful unsuccessful person they will ever meet. It‘s a funny statement and I say it with humor but it‘s terribly true. On paper, I’m swimming in collegiate degrees, state licenses, advanced study certifications and at the age of 37, I‘ve already amassed a lifetimes worth of experience in a wide-variety of fields. (Funny story: my master’s advisor accepted me as his student, not because of my grades, but because my resume was so interesting that he had to meet me.) In my life, I’ve come to numerous crossroads (as I’m sure you have too), where I had to decide between the decent paying, yet soul-sucking, 9 to 5 job and the creative, yet underpaying, job. My first real jobs were the absolute soul-sucking worst but they provided me with a nice apartment, financial security, spending money, a Jeep, a Mercedes, a boat, a motorcycle, a plethora of exotic and domestic animals, and for reasons I don’t even understand to this day, a dune buggy. In my early twenties, I was well on my way to achieving “real success.” But very quickly, misery seeped in. There was a this nagging voice in my head that just got louder and louder with each soul-sucking day, telling me in no uncertain terms that I was being completely untrue to the person I always wanted to be. That adorable little girl with the peanut butter and jelly smeared all over her face, the one who used to enjoy getting dirty and catching critters, the one with the invisible monster for a best friend would never let society dictate her life’s meaning. Needless to say, life became a hard pill to swallow and eventually I was forced to re-examine my values and my definition of success.  In one seemingly split second, I left my job, my boyfriend (coincidentally, on the same day he was going to propose), and all the toys behind and started over. I don’t look back on those years with regret because they forced me to be brutally honest with myself. The truth is that I will be in debt for the rest of my life, I will always want to live in a camper instead of a mansion, I will more than likely remain an unmarried spinster surrounded by too many dogs and cats, I will probably never have a gaggle of little rug-rats running around, and I will never aspire to fortune and fame. Truthfully, some of that has been a struggle for me to make peace with and some has been all too easy to let go of. Nevertheless, the peace has been made. This is me determining my own metric and being okay with not living up to society’s standards. Instead, my life is measured by the number of people, places and things I’ve made better. That’s it–plain and simple. If I’ve made someone smile while reading this or if my words inspire someone to improve their own situation, then my goal has been reached for the day. A mental check mark goes in my success column for the day. And now whenever I’m at a crossroads, I always veer away from the soul-sucking opportunities that I know will compromise my values and move towards the ones that offer me the most personal growth, discomfort, and challenge. The newfangled catchphrase sweeping the nation is that you have to “lean into the discomfort” and for once, I think the self-help gurus have got it right. It’s the path of most resistance both personally and financially, but I believe it to be the most fulfilling.

There are many ways to think of success. Are you the artist who dies penniless and relatively unknown but your life’s work is worshiped by all for centuries to come? Are you the business owner who works tirelessly to increase your bottom line, gain financial security, and die having amassed as many toys as possible? Are you the tree, whose limitless contributions remain the hot point of debate around the dinner table?  There comes a time when we all should be honest with ourselves and be clear about our own values, intentions, and vision of what success looks like for us as individuals. Word to the wise, whatever you do, don‘t compare or adopt someone else’s metric. This is as individual of a choice as you can get–even more individual than how you like your eggs or if you prefer the Rolling Stones over the Beatles or if chunky peanut butter is waaay tastier than the smooth variety. You will never be truly happy until you find your own system of measure.

Uncategorized

The Award Goes To…

wpid-img_20130112_111119At the end of each year I plan to reward the person who commented on my blog the most. It could be either this blog or my http://www.pos-energies.com blog or both. I just want to know that you are out there and that I’m not just writing in a vacuum (that would suck…what a stupid joke, sorry). And I don’t care what your comment is. You could tell me I have great hair (I do) even though the post is entirely lacking in a photo of me or my hair. You could tell me I’m an idiot. That works too. I would probably agree with you. I choose any interaction over none.

This past year, my dear friend Jessica did the most commenting so she gets some extra love. As promised Jess, I’ve sent you a package of goodies. Spoiler alert: Jess if you want to be surprised, don’t look at the photo below.

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You get a freshly made bar of lavender essential oil & fullers earth clay soap, a tinted coconut oil lip salve and a pair of beaver bottle cap earrings (they will remind you of the nature center…in a good way!).

Uncategorized

2012 Sweet Pea’s Annual Blog Report

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s the rundown:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

In 2012, there were 87 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 358 pictures uploaded. That’s about 7 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 9th with 142 views.

People from 29 countries visited my site. The most coming from the United States with Canada and Germany close behind.

62 people follow my blog posts via email. Thank you so much!

Why in the heck do I blog?

Personal writing in the public eye requires thoughtful wording, courage in your convictions, and a willingness to take some knocks along the way, even from people you’ve never met before. For me it’s not about self-affirmation or to show people just how wonderfully exciting my life is (that would definitely not be the case). I consider my blog to be my personal journal. It’s a way to document my life so that I can look back through the years and remember what I’ve accomplished. It’s also a way to improve my rather mediocre writing skills in the hopes of someday knocking out a book or two. Moreover, it’s a way for me to deeply connect with others in an age that values the most superficial forms of communication. I enjoy sharing my thoughts, feelings, and on rare occasions even wisdom. Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to meet many new friends through my blog. And nothing can compare to that feeling when my beloved “old” friends tell me how much my writing has meant to them. Sometimes we can feel so isolated but hopefully my words can provide comfort. You’re not alone. There is a reason I can’t keep a long-term commitment to a tangible journal. I need to be held accountable to someone other than piddly ole’ me. And my fear of coming off as a total ass to potentially anyone and everyone in the world forces me to clarify my emotions, values, and beliefs surrounding whatever I choose to write about. In summary, writing is my therapy. And I thank you so much for taking a seat on the couch with me. It’s been a great year but the best is yet to come!

Health, Wellness & Enjoyment

Why in the heck do I blog?

Personal writing in the public eye requires thoughtful wording, courage in your convictions, and a willingness to take some knocks along the way, even from people you’ve never met before. For me it’s not about self-affirmation or to show people just how wonderfully exciting my life is (that would definitely not be the case). I consider my blog to be my personal journal. It’s a way to document my life so that I can look back through the years and remember what I’ve accomplished. It’s also a way to improve my rather mediocre writing skills in the hopes of someday knocking out a book or two. Moreover, it’s a way for me to deeply connect with others in an age that values the most superficial forms of communication. I enjoy sharing my thoughts, feelings, and on rare occasions even wisdom. Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to meet many new friends through my blog. And nothing can compare to that feeling when my beloved “old” friends tell me how much my writing has meant to them. Sometimes we can feel so isolated but hopefully my words can provide comfort. You’re not alone. There is a reason I can’t keep a long-term commitment to a tangible journal. I need to be held accountable to someone other than piddly ole’ me. And my fear of coming off as a total ass to potentially anyone and everyone in the world forces me to clarify my emotions, values, and beliefs surrounding whatever I choose to write about. In summary, writing is my therapy. And I thank you so much for taking a seat on the couch with me. It’s been a great year but the best is yet to come!