December 31, 2006

2006 In Review

This past year was one of change for me. The year began with me cycling in New Zealand, but that's when I heard I had lost my job. Once I got home, the hospital where I worked for the last 13 years, closed it's doors, and I said too many sad goodbyes to my coworkers. Because of some poor coping skills, I ended up in counseling for a bit.

I followed my boss, Deb, to work at an inner city nursing home which proved more difficult than I could have thought. A few hour work-day became full-time during the summer. It became so stressful both physically and mentally. In November she convinced me to stay on the books 'as needed' instead of quitting. I worked a few days at Christmas, the first in over a month, and it was better.

One thing that got me through the toughest parts of the year was the prospect of a new adventure on the horizon. I had come up with my grandest scheme yet, six months of walking various pilgrim routes through Europe, starting in Santiago, then to Canterbury, and ending in Rome. You can't imagine the myriad of details to take care of when going on a long adventure like that. Plus there's equipment to buy or replace, along with my always present need to design some new gadget to take along.

Guidebooks were bought or ordered, websites bookmarked, files downloaded, language CD's listened to, and emails and letters sent to friends throughout Europe. I am planning on leaving in early April to study Spanish with my friends in Almansa Spain, so as the holidays approached I was working/planning/dreaming at a fevered pace, full of anticipation. I've been having some knee pain lately, but doing rehab exercise to make sure it doesn't stop me.

The year hasn't been a smooth one, . But one bright spot that has helped more than I can measure is my decision to follow the Buddhist path. Besides my continued readings on Buddhist philosophy and beginning a meditation practice, I have been very involved with activities with the Rime Buddhist Center here in Kansas City. All this has helped me put life's ups and downs into a different perspective, and that helps.

So, I'm ending the year with a smile. Planning is going well with my trip to Europe this Spring, I'm not stressed at work, everyone is healthy and whole, my niece Lauren was on the state championship volleyball team as a sophomore, and her sister Andrea finished her first university semester. My niece Pam now works for the same engineering firm that I worked at over 20 years ago. The brothers are all working and healthy. And mom is as busy as ever with her sewing and church projects. I've been blessed with many friends, some new, some that stick with me no matter what, and a few who have be reacquainted. 2007 looks to be a good year.

Let's see, New Years resolutions: loose 40lbs, laugh a lot, accept more, expect less, meditate every day, look at going back to school, come up with another adventure, dream in Spanish, meet Thich Nhat Hanh, and allow loving-kindness to flow both ways in my life.