New Year, Same Someday

2015 is here, and so am I – feeling like a somewhat different person than when I started this project, but also somewhat the same…which in itself is a change for me. The past few years of my life have been all about transition and movement – geographically, professionally, and in my friendships and relationships. Now I finally feel ready and at a place in my life where I can  just breathe, be still, and embrace my life as it is instead of focusing on ways to change it.

AlwaysIn 2014, I challenged myself in new ways and grew in dimensions I never could have imagined. But I also repeated some mistakes, fell back into old patterns, and re-learned lessons I thought I had a handle on. Every step (and misstep) of the year brought me to where I am now – happy and hopeful in new ways, feeling like I’m going in the direction of the future I want while intentionally appreciating what I have in the present. I’ve heard it said that the universe will continue to give you the same challenges in different forms until you learn to overcome them. A saying that really resonates going into this new year is: “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” So, in 2015, I’m focusing on recognizing challenges as they’re happening and using new strategies to overcome them.

The challenges that keep resurfacing in my life center on the issue of balance. Sometimes I let aspects of my life get all off-kilter even though I know it will ultimately cause frustration, and this year, I hope to figure out why that is and learn how to do things differently. The central crisis of my life is that at least one something always feels out of balance – my budget, my diet, my time, my priorities, my relationships, etc. But for some reason, even though it’s always the goal, I still struggle to keep balance in my life. Over the past year-or-so, I’ve realized that often, I cause instability in my own life, whether I’m aware I’m doing it or not. Sometimes it’s as if I know exactly what will create the harmony I long for, and I do the opposite anyway, generating stress and tension that I then have to either ignore – which stresses me out more, or deal with – which restarts the cycle.

Instead of acting in ways that align with the balance I seem to always be seeking, I sometimes make choices that work against my vision for the life I want. In this ideal life I imagine for myself, I’d put as much energy into myself as I do into other people, I’d burn at least as many calories as I consume, for every social night out I’d have a quiet night in, I’d save as much as (or more than) I spend, for every glass (or chicken) of wine I drink I’d have that much water, for every show I binge watch on Netflix I’d read a book…It seems so simple, but I’ve been making it way more difficult than it needs to be. This will be the year that I get insight into why this pattern keeps repeating itself and find new ways to actively maintain balance in my life.

Someday is a project still in progress, but I’ve realized that someday always will be, and being able to embrace that in the moment while still moving forward is sort of the point. Every day is a chance for transformation and reinvention, an opportunity to build momentum in the direction you want your life to go. And every new year is like the start of another someday – or a continuation of the someday you already started working toward.

If 2015 is anything like 2014, it will be filled with memories and mistakes, successes and failures, and so much learning. This was a year of setting and realizing goals – leaving some unfinished for the future – and making space in my life for unplanned happiness. In 2014, I:

  • Experienced (at least) 30 adventures on the way to turning 30 – with some still left on my list for someday
  • Spent a year making the Upper Valley feel like home and fostered what I’m sure will be some lifelong friendships
  • Celebrated my 1-year anniversary at Dartmouth and am still as excited to be here as I was when I started
  • Didn’t let a still healing heart get in the way of my happiness and refused to settle for anything less than amazingness
  • Let the good times roll in New Orleans with new friends
  • Survived the “Boston Mousssacre” and discovered that “Love is BLONDE” on an epic east coast weekend with my Midwestern bombshells
  • Moved into an awesome apartment, aka the Elm Street Social Club
  • Doubled down in Atlantic City and won over $100 in under 10 minutes at a Blackjack table
  • Road-tripped home with Benny for a week of Chicago-style adventures with friends and family
  • Planned the inaugural Labor Day Lake House Weekend with my WNY inner circle, complete with pontoon boating, strip-and-go-faceplants, and a world class chip bar
  • Told the unscripted story of my “Someday File” to an audience at a live storytelling event
  • Was completely surprised by my own personal 30th birthday parade at my 7th annual Oktoberfest…Sidenote: I seriously have the best friends!!!
  • Welcomed my mom to the Upper Valley and helped her cross “See the fall foliage in New England” off her bucket list
  • Celebrated “Halloween Against Humanity” and organized a group costume…for horrible people
  • Hosted my 1st “Friendsgiving” with a 20 lb. turkey and 25 wonderful members of my Upper Valley social circle

2015 will be the year I:

  • Start saving for the future
  • Present an interactive poster at a digital learning conference in Anaheim, CA
  • Get some stamps on my passport, including the Dominican Republic and hopefully Germany
  • Publish my dad’s memoirs as a collaborative storytelling project called “The John Kehoe Story”
  • Become an athlete again, shooting to finish my 1st half-marathon in May and join a Master’s swim team in the spring
  • Travel coast-to-coast for a wedding weekend and friend reunion in the Pacific Northwest
  • Find a regular reflective/contemplative practice that works for me to help create and maintain balance in my life
  • Apply to a doctoral program
  • See the Cubs win the World Series (It’s good to dream!)
  • Play tour guide in Chicago and share some of my favorite sights with a first-timer
  • Watch my brother say “I do” and finally welcome a sister into my life, and not just any sister, but the best possible one I could have imagined

So someday continues, as it always will, and I’m ready for whatever 2015 has to offer!

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