Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Luck of 2011

The Greeks have this tradition where on the first day of the New Year we eat bread. Ok, it’s a little more complicated than that. We buy a round loaf of sweet bread, called Vasilopita or in English St. Basil bread, made special for the New Year holiday. What is special is that a coin is placed in the bread dough and then baked inside the bread.

When the first day of the New Year arrives we cut the bread into slices and dedicate each piece to an aspect of our lives and the people in the family. For example, every year we cut the bread into 11 pieces and dedicate them to the following: home, health, finance/work, and then the 8 people in our family (each member gets their own slice). When we are handed our pieces, everyone digs through their bread. The person who has the coin in their piece is bestowed good luck for the New Year. The year 2011 was my first year in which I had the coin. So, according to the Greeks I should have had a very lucky year. In retrospect I did. I have a very happy and healthy son, my relationship with my husband has grown stronger, and I have discovered my love for running. Of course 2011 had its pitfalls, mostly in the academic and job arena. But I learned a valuable lesson.

What I learned in 2011 was that I need to make myself (health and happiness) my number one priority. Once I learned this (which wasn’t easy), everything else just fell into place. Along this path of health and happiness, I discovered myself. I am pretty sure I lost my sense of identity along time ago, even before becoming a mommy and wife. My priority was school and work and it’s no surprise that the strong focus on these two aspects in my life have paid off immensely. But I was a workaholic with no outside interests. I forgot what I loved to do, because I never had the time to do it.

When I had my son in April 2010, it took almost a year to discover that the way I had been living life before wasn’t what life was about. March 2011 was when I turned it all around; school (as important as it is) became lower on my priority list. And jobs which I would have died to have before, I so graciously turned down. My priority became taking care of my family. And to do that to my fullest I needed to make sure I was feeling happy. I hit the gym and soon after I told myself I was going to do something I never thought I could, run a half marathon. And I did. That goal opened a door to a world I never imagined being at my fingertips.

The year 2011 wasn’t about luck; it was about learning to live life correctly by trying to enjoy every day.   Granted I did have my setbacks (mostly between Thanksgiving and Christmas), but the setbacks I experienced were necessary reality checks to help inspire and motivate me to continue being strong for myself and my family.

2011 was an amazing learning experience. But 2012 will be the year I shine. As John Lennon sang in his song Instant Karma “Well we all shine on, like the moon and the stars and the sun…Why in the world are we here surely not to live in pain and fear.”

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong! Happy 2012

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