How I review my year and take time to celebrate the “little things”

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 18 December 2018

Christmas is almost here and the new year is coming. I like to take a step back during this busy time and really reflect on the year that has just gone by. I want to be grateful for what I have instead of getting sucked into the mass marketing machine of Christmas.

For me, the best way to do this came from my Jar of Awesome experiment.

What is the jar of awesome you ask? Well it’s a simple task that I first heard about listening to a podcast by Tim Ferriss. I think the reason I had that take home from that particular episode is because it really resonated with me.

We often fail to recognize or celebrate the really cool or smaller accomplishments in our lives.

Too often we focus on what is going wrong versus what is going right.

So here’s my list for 2017 in the random order that I pulled them. Again, one of this year’s entries made me cry. I never realized how much support I had until I really needed it. It reminds me not to take people for granted and it’s the relationships that you build, not what you have or what you do, that creates the strongest foundation.

• Sandbanks 5 km race – 1st race in over 13 yrs – thanks Foster, Steve, Cobra, and Hack for encouraging me to just start even if you have to start small; ran it in 29:21
• Hiking weekend in Frontenac Park – learning my limitations, 8 hrs was a wee bit too much
• Paddleboarding for the first time; always wanted to try it and this year got the chance
• Beating my CN tower climb time from the year before by over a minute; 20:31 – wanted to get under 20 minutes – a reminder that even though it might be a fail in one aspect it’s still a win in another
• Birthday card from Chris, Jill, & Mille – “Just remember. There is nothing you can’t do. You are awesome!”
• House-sitting – it ended up being a place for healing and space when I needed it the most
• Rakowski seminar in Montreal – Daralyn you were a great tour guide, tried ink squid (at least I think that’s what it was…it turned my teeth black temporarily), best antipasto plate I’ve ever had, and first trip to the Scandinave spa
• OAND conference Blue Mountain – great location, great topics, great time with friends and colleagues – Robin, Jenn, Daralyn, Andrea, Mike & Katie
• Thank-you note from ALCDSB – “Thank-you so much for joining us as a guest speaker at the ALCDSB Evening Learning Series. Your presentation was insightful & helped our team to increase our understanding about wellness & self-care.”
• The month of August – you can read about why I took a month off here:
• 1 week of sun in Punta Cana
• Painting my kitchen & living room – Revere Pewter anyone?
• Overnight at a cottage with Tessa – Monopoly, movies, & kayaking
• New floor tile – heated floors do rock! Thanks Amber for making me spend the money.
• Newfoundland trip – best timing I could ever ask for
• Blue Jays game for Connor’s B-Day
• Drinks at the Drake Devonshire post alumni hockey game – thanks Karla!
• 1st FB live seminar – Technology jump I’m glad I made
• Thank-you note – “Just a short note but a big Thank You for your time, effort, & expertise. You helped to make our day a great success! Can’t thank-you enough! – Barry, HARE-OTH
• Millie’s 1st birthday
• Charlie’s 1st birthday
• Making a video with Tessa to show kids involved in cooking
• Stress Busters seminar #4
• Me, Tessa, & Grandma having tea
• Friday night workouts – Cobra & Foster, thanks for keeping me accountable; it’s such a great way to end the week
• Surprise flowers – Thank-you Robin & Jenn
• Yin yoga
• Declan’s 1st birthday
• Belly Fat Detox 2.0
• Finished IVIT office manual – that was a project I felt like would never end
• TGIF Girl’s night
• Designs for Health seminar – discovering the hero’s journey and more; great to sit with you Sarah
• Personal training – finding out what consistency and core-training can do for your mental & physical strength; thanks Michele Beti
• Yogi tea – “Live light, Travel light, Spread the light, Be the light.”
• Birthday card from Connor, Pardeep, Tessa, and Charlie – “You are an amazing, beautiful, and caring woman inside and out. We love you to the moon and back and we are here for you always.”
• Birthday card from Uncle Pat and Aunt Mary – “You are the most wonderful niece and god daughter, so kind and generous. Hope your birthday is a blast. All our love.”
• Birthday card from A – “Dear Michelle: Happy birthday! I really believe although this year is going to have some hard times, by the end of it great things will happen for you! Enjoy your day!”
• Note from C when I needed it the most – “You’re going through a rough time and I know it’s not easy. I wish there was a way to make it all go away, but then you’d miss the lesson – what you’re meant to learn from all the messiness & uncomfortableness of this situation. And that is…you are enough. Not because of what you get done in a day, who you heal, or how you look. But from just being you. Period. I really believe that the moment you truly believe and embody this simple idea, you’ll begin to see why this is such a beautiful opportunity in your life. In the meantime, I’m here for you. And I believe in you.”

Although 2017 had more heartache and pain than I anticipated, I read through my Jar of Awesome and am truly grateful for what I have.

I also want to give a special thank-you to Michelle Stroud, Tracey Kennedy, Daralyn Bates, Devora Hoffman, Gretchen Grenke, and Tracey Rump. Each of you in your own special way gave me the support and strength I needed that year. Just by doing your job, you played an important role in my mental health team.

2017 reminds me of the quote by Neil Gaiman, “I hope that this year, you make mistakes. If you do, then it means you have tried, learned, lived, pushed yourself, changed you and your world, and most importantly, you’ve done something.”

2017 I know did something. And I'm sure my 2018 list will be just as fulfilling because I feel like I have grown even more.

It is my wish for the upcoming year that you experience the personal growth you need as well.

Have a great Christmas everyone!

Now I would love to hear from you! What is one thing that you would put in your jar of awesome for 2018? Leave a comment below and I'll be back in the new year with a brand new edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday!

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