1. Patience - I'm an impatient person by nature, but this year-- particularly the last few months of puppy parenting-- has really started to change that. Clery is a great puppy, but he's still a baby and he does what he wants when he wants. I'm a structured person so his accidents, late night wake ups, and general puppy stubbornness have been a real test of my patience. I have fallen head over heels for that dog so learning a little patience is the least I can do for a little guy that makes me so happy [most of the time].
2. Family - It's always been important to me, but this year it has become apparent just how much. I'm so happy to be spending this extended holiday vacation with my family and that even as we all get older and make our own families, that my siblings all managed to gather together for a few days. With jobs, school, military obligations, babies on the way, health issues, and pets it is amazing and special that we can still have this kind of time together. And I'm so glad that my husband's family was able to join us to celebrate Thanksgiving in Chicago this year. He doesn't get to see his brother and parents nearly as much as he'd like, so I know how much it meant to him to have them all in the same place for a few days.
And even though he's not a "child," our puppy has become such a big part of our little family that I can barely remember our life before him. He's brought out a very maternal side of me and I never thought a dog would be capable of that!
3. Balance - Toward the end of this year, I started to feel my life spiraling out of my control a bit-- much of it from my own doing. Between my job, the blog, friend and family obligations, and then the puppy, there was just not enough time in my days or weeks to do everything I wanted or needed to do. So I took a step back and decided I needed to create some balance for myself. That meant cutting a few things out and making a conscious effort to pencil the important things in: scaling back on blog posts (from 5 rushed posts per week to 4 more well planned ones), leaving the office on time unless I had a pressing deadline, limiting my evening events (typically blogging events) to one a week, and setting aside a little time every day to spend with my husband, with my dog, and on myself. It's a work in progress, but I am finally feeling a little more in control and not like any particular part of my life is suffering more than another-- except for my exercise routine! That's back on the To Do List for 2015. :)
4. Friendship - This lesson was one of the hardest of the year. Namely, I was reminded that quality friendships totally outweigh the quantity of friendships in your life. And that letting go of the ones that don't add positivity to your life or worse-- that bring negativity to it-- aren't worth cultivating anymore. I've said goodbye to a few friendships this year with people who weren't supportive of my choices or whose own negative attitudes brought me down and while it was hard at first, I can say that I'm happier for it. In turn, I've tried to dedicate more time to friendships with supportive friends who not only 'get' me, but who make me want to be a better friend and person.
5. Discipline - I've been working on my discipline for the past few years, but 2014 was the year that I really buckled down and in turn, saw some real results. For one, I (along with my hubby) was crazy disciplined about saving money so that we could buy our first home and it finally happened this year. I couldn't be happier to have a place of our own or more proud of our hard work and discipline to make it happen.
Part of learning discipline this year has also meant learning to say 'no' more often -- even when it's uncomfortable. Saying 'no' to things that I don't need or that cost too much money, to events that I don't really have the time for or the desire to attend, to partnerships that aren't meaningful to the A Squared brand, to anything not so important that takes time away from me that could be spent with my family or on something