I Love 2010...

As I was compiling my year-in-review post for 2010, I cruised back through the last year of posts here at The State I Am In, and was equally struck by the things I did in the past 365 days as the things I didn't do in the last year. I don't have a favorite theater moment, because I only went to the theater once in all of last year, to see Carmen. Although I didn't dislike it as much as I expected to, given my general distaste for opera, I would hardly call that a favorite moment. I don't have a favorite song, because I didn't actively seek out any new music. I didn't try a single new recipe in all of 2010 that wasn't for a dessert, and I didn't start watching any new television shows that I didn't watch in 2009. So, this annual synopsis is going to have to take a different form than the list of likes and dislikes I composed in 2009.

Overall, 2010 was a more insular year for me, in which I focused more on personal growth than the world around me, and although that leaves me a little less well-informed about popular culture, I feel like I've made a lot of progress in placing my life on a positive trajectory this year than in years past. In the past, it was easy for me to distract myself with movies, music, and other pursuits because I was avoiding some of the hard work of personal growth. When I waxed philosophical about my life back on the occasion of my
25th birthday, I wrote about Henri Matisse, and the obsessive editing he conducted in his artistic productions, comparing it to my own life, "Life at twenty-five isn't what I envisioned, but my expectations have changed as well. Like Matisse, I am working on adjusting and honing my situation to get where I want to be, and like any artist, I am taking satisfaction in the act of creation, not just the finished product."

In the past year, I've take three major steps towards putting my life on track, so instead of a rundown of my favorite things from the past year, I'm going to write about the three things I'm most proud of starting in 2010:

  • Love -- For the first time, I decided to stop waiting for love to fall into my lap the way it does in movies and books, and actively pursue meeting men, dating them, and finding a relationship. I managed to suppress my fears about putting myself out there and being rejected, and although the path was rocky at first, I now find myself completely in love with an amazing man. Every day, I take time to consider how lucky we were to ever find each other at all, and I am thankful that this was the year I started looking for love.
  • Mental Health -- Back in August, I quietly started seeing a therapist to help me deal with some of the stress and feelings of helplessness that I was experiencing in my daily life. I wasn't sure how to take control of my life, and reach for the things I wanted, and that sense of being stuck was bleeding across every area of my life. I have worked with him on being more assertive about my needs, communicating with others in healthier ways, and establishing boundaries with people. As a result, my relationships are stronger, and I feel that I've made some solid progress in figuring out what I want to do with my career -- a major source of stress in my life for the past three years. I know not everyone "believes in" therapy, but I can feel it slowly but surely helping me figure out the best direction in which to take my life.
  • Health -- Partially motivated by a fear that this might be the last year I had employer-sponsored health insurance, I decided to take responsibility for my health, and take care of a number of lingering problems I had ignored for far too long. I found an amazing primary care physician who I feel I can trust, and who takes me seriously. After years of doctors who told me I was being neurotic with my concerns, it was a relief to find someone who actually wanted to investigate my complaints. It was through her that I found my therapist, and by her that I was referred to the sleep specialist who is helping me conquer the daytime exhaustion that has plagued me for years. Healthcare may have set me back a small fortune in 2010, but I think it was worth every penny.
All things considered, I'm feeling pretty good about what I accomplished in the past year. I feel better than ever about the progress I'm making in my life, and I still managed to get out and explore the city and spend time with the people I love. My hopes are high heading into 2011, and I already have a "to-do" list ready to go. I'm ready to make the upcoming year into another one that I can feel proud of, and to have plenty of fun along the way. Happy New Year!

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