Acknowledging A Year Of Triumphs

Do you do this?  I sell myself short sometimes.  I look at my life and feel I’m spinning my wheels, making no headway, then pessimism and defeat settle in.  I feel a little less worthy and the downward spiral bores into the ground, rooting into hopelessness.  Crazy, right?  But why steamroll myself this way?  I wish I knew.  But recently, when a high school friend posted a photo of a (very young & very skinny) me on Facebook back from my days coaching cheerleaders, I decided to pick up my metaphorical pom-poms and be my own pep squad.  2-4-6-8!  Who do we APPRECIATE?!

My quest to restore buoyancy begins with a small exercise injected into my daily routine – I simply review the day and list what I completed.  Usually I do this in my head (washed the dishes, finally wrote a blog post, called my sister, saved the world, didn’t eat the whole bag of cookies…), but occasionally I’ll write it down, especially when the mental list doesn’t offer quite the satisfaction I’m after. Actually putting it on paper makes for a longer list, because writing it out is more of a commitment (and damn! Doesn’t the page looks more impressive the fuller it is?)  I include more than just mundane errands and the requisite household tasks – I’ll jot new insights, flesh out story ideas and add smiley faces and exclamation marks.   (It’s hard to deny the uplifting nature of drama and silliness, particularly when colorful markers are employed.)

When I’m feeling really dejected – stuck in first gear with my tires spitting mud while the ruts only get deeper – I stop and look for a higher view.  Maybe a few months back, or even a couple years, and I check out the scenery since then.  What I see never fails to surprise and delight.  I’ve been amazed by distances I’ve traveled both geographically and in the landscape of imagination.  Try it – think back to a point in time and take inventory of where you were and what you were doing.  Marvel at how far you’ve come. We are not the same people we once were.  We’re better.  Stronger.  Wiser.

What I’ve learned is to be more aware of my current state, to see with clarity – the situation is almost always better than I think it is.  Now, even before I start to dip below sea level, I head myself off at the pass by taking stock, and appreciating not just what I have, but also what I’ve accomplished, both in large and small ways.

So as I head into this fresh year, this new decade, I’m taking time to review my accomplishments from 2010:

  1. I created OFF~PEAK, to explore and develop my voice and writing skills, and to target future goals with you at my side, dear readers.
  2. I committed more fully to nurturing my friendships, after a few too many years of sequestering myself.
  3. After almost 25 years, I moved on from the restaurant business – while I still enjoyed it.  (The secret to a long life is knowing when it’s time to go.)
  4. I ate more green, leafy vegetables and less meat.
  5. I drank more water, and less alcohol and caffeine.
  6. I donated substantially to causes I believe in, using my money as a tool to align myself with who I am and what my values are.
  7. The Great Midwest Road Trip!  I saw jaw-dropping miles of cornfields; visited great architectural sites like Columbus, Indiana, the skyline of Chicago, and the unsurpassed splendor of Fallingwater; operated one of the locks on the Mississippi River; and met a quirky cast of characters, including a roadside BBQ chef who taught me to roll down the windows and let my hair and spirit fly.
  8. I trusted my intuition.  I listened to my gut.  I believed in myself.
  9. I purged material belongings that were weighing me down and holding me back.  A LOT of things.
  10. I cultivated my creativity.
  11. I moved, on a whim, to Maine:  6 weeks from inception to arrival.  I call that Life Flexibility.

And more than any other entry on that list, I transformed how I define myself.  I am a Writer now, and the most content I’ve ever been.  I can’t wait to check in this time next year and see how far 2011 takes me!

And you?  I would love to hear your peaks and proud moments…bet there’s more than you think.

Leave a comment


  1. Jill

     /  8 January 2011

    What a great start to the year. You have accomplished great things, this past year, and every year. Each day is a small accomplishment and an addition to the fabric of who we are. Keep weaving!

    • Kellie

       /  9 January 2011

      @Jill~it’s gratifying to know that simply making a list can make us feel better. Indeed, you are right-each day is a step to creating ourselves more fully. I can’t wait to see how your year unfolds…xo

  2. Cara

     /  9 January 2011

    1. I nurtured a 15 month-old baby into a 27 month-old toddler who runs, jumps, hits wiffle balls off a tee, builds BIG towers, colors, opens the fridge to get his apple cider, stacks small pieces of firewood, digs for rocks, shovels snow, hikes deer trails to see a beaver lodge, adds a new word everyday to his vocabulary (including “Aunt Kellie in Maine”), dances to Christmas in Kilarney and Paul Simon’s Graceland, sings Jingle Bells while sitting at the piano, gives hugs freely, and always wants to know what you’re doing.
    2. Deepened existing friendships and reached out to make new friends.
    3. Learned how to make a dozen different soups, stews, stir-fries, salads, and sauces from scratch.
    4. Reclaimed and expanded a perenniel flower garden and established raspberry bushes.
    5. Read, read, and read some more.
    6. Donated, regifted (duplicate new toys and clothes). recycled, and composted to empty the house of clutter and keep my stuff from ending up in the great garbage heap in the Pacific.
    7. But also shopped at tag and estate sales, craigslist, and local merchants.
    8. Ran a summer volleyball camp for the 14th consecutive year.
    9. Settled in as a stay-at-home mom, embraced not working as a teacher, tinkered with my new identity.
    10. Learned how to check my sister’s blog everyday without inflating her number of hits!

    • Kellie

       /  9 January 2011

      @Cara~Your #1 made me cry and made me smile. Raising a child trumps pretty much everything else – and you do it so damned well. (I have a hard drive of photos to prove it :). ) And for all those other things- you are an amazing person, and I’m proud to have you as a sister! xoxo

  3. Dee

     /  11 January 2011

    Hey Kellie ,

    You and your perpetual words of encouragement are usually the words in my head that make me feel better when I don’t feel so emotionally great.
    I’ve learned to appreciate ever little milestone in my life even if they come 5 years late.
    I’ve watched my 10 year old baby become an 11 year old pre-adolescent.
    I’ve heard him make sentences for the first time and I have made a commitment to myself and him. (Myself first because I have to put me first in order to be great for him)
    I face more challenges than ever and I am brave about the unknown.
    I freed myself from fear so that I can become the best Denyse that I will be.
    Starting with a brave Kellie’s voice in my head. luv ya more than you know.

    • Kellie

       /  11 January 2011

      @Denyse ~ What an amazing list! Congratulations on each and every one. Freeing yourself from fear? That’s one of the hardest things to do, in my book. I’ve been wrestling with that one lately, in a big way. Perhaps I’ll share it here sometime. Maybe you have some tips for me?
      Your influence on me has also been impactful – I cherish our years of camaraderie. Always optimistic and smiling, regardless of how hard a day it might have been, you always made a shift a better one. Thank you for all you are. XO

  4. I think you’ve seen my list already…! It’s an art-related one… I should write a personal one as well…

    In 2010 I…

    -held 3 competitions on Facebook to gather more fans,
    -got over 500 new fans,
    -gave a talk about my art,
    -gave myself the challenge of creating 100 paintings in 100 days,
    -started to make jewelry featuring my art,
    -made 2 art donations,
    -participated in the Art Fair 2010 in the RDS, Dublin,
    -visited the British Museum and the special exhibition of Da Vinci drawings,
    -joined “Killarney Arts”, a sub group of the Killarney town council,
    -got on stage for the first time with Dochàs Drama Group,
    -became secretary of Dochàs Drama Group,
    -had 2 (successful!) solo exhibitions,
    -got in 3 new galleries,
    -participated in a craft fair where I started to sell my art jewelry,
    -wrote 109 blog posts, (well, outside of the 100 paintings there is only about 15…)
    -created ~162 paintings, (including 100 mini ones..)
    -sold ~68 paintings,
    -got contacted by a TV program to do a piece on me, (more details to come about that one!)
    -started mini-prints of my work,
    -completed 3 commissions,
    -got into 3 group exhibitions, including one in Paris.

    • Kellie

       /  19 January 2011

      Phew! I am so impressed and inspired by your list. You were busy in 2010! I will draw upon your energy to propel me forward in 2011 – especially the expansion of your reach and the commitment to production. I want to write more, better and have an engaged and larger readership.
      I think I need to get your art over here, too. Have you considered getting placement in design catalogs, like West Elm or a children’s furniture store?
      All the best to you – may your creativity and exposure explode this year! xo


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