What a Year!

This week I celebrated not only my birthday, but also the one-year anniversary of the re-booted The Great Wide Open. It was one year ago this week that I pledged to try a job or activity each and every week, and share the experience with you. That’s 52 weeks of new – sometimes awkward, sometimes funny, always enlightening – experiences that have taught me about myself and what I want out of life.

Some have asked if this blog is a mid-life crisis (please note, I may be one year older, but I am very far from middle aged). If it is, then I have to think it’s one of the healthiest crises one could have. In the last year I have taken risks, totally embarrassed myself and reveled in it, and gained some precious new skills – including upholstery…and the ability to laugh at myself.

For those of you who joined The Great Wide Open train late in the year, here are some of my favorite adventures (with links so you can catch up); they are experiences that taught me very valuable lessons:

I am terrible at the trapeze. I should not run off and join the circus. But I realized if there’s one thing (and of course there is only one) I’m not good at, it’s o.k. if it’s flying through the air butt up. I also learned that when I stop trying to be perfect, I am able to accomplish more than I thought possible.

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I learned that if you can keep a straight face while blowing glass than you have a chance at success.

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I learned there is really no way to look cute in a bee keeping suit.

me in suit

While synchronized swimming is often the butt of Olympic jokes, it’s actually pretty challenging…and only slightly ridiculous.

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Getting to know your roots can make you feel grateful…and sore.

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Probably the most important lesson from this past year was that all of the thrilling, heartbreaking and challenging things I have experienced have made me the person I am today, and these experiences will continue to shape me. My life may not be what I expected it to be when I was in high school, but it’s an exciting and dynamic life, and one that I would not trade.

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Just as important as the lessons I have learned, are the people who I have met on this journey. Dozens of talented individuals have opened their homes, offices, workshops and studios to me and shared their passion for everything from fencing to tending to wounded birds. Some have been friends or family, but the vast majority have been strangers. They love what they do and love to share that with others. Like me, they are following their passion. Much to my envy, many are make a living from that passion. What a gift that is. These people make this blog possible. And it’s because of them —  and the experiences they enable me to have — that when looking back on this last year, instead of feeling old, I feel young. I feel as if I could do anything I put my mind to…and I guess this blog is proof that it is true.

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