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Reflections on the year

Updated: May 7, 2023

There is only one thing we can control, our mind. Years ago, I read a book titled How We Choose To Be Happy. The book helped me reframe my opinion of my life and its past events. It helped me think "better" and check the negative chatter in my mind.

I now see events as essential to making me who I am, and I don't consider the unfortunate, traumatic events in my life as "bad." I view them as necessary. I needed to go through those things, learn the lessons, grow, be healthier, and stand up for myself.

With this framework, I thought I'd spend this blog recapping the significant happenings of 2021.

It's been an eventful year. Many might consider the year bad if they focused on only a couple of things. The funny thing is that I think I've had a good year. I choose to focus on the positive, the blessings, the gifts, and there are always so many of both!

I'm not going to belabor the unfortunate events. Still, here they are: in January, Rudy was having many issues to include that he was mentally tight, edgy, and challenging to ride. I stopped riding him in January, recognizing that we were not doing each other any favors.

In April, I learned I would not have a job at the end of the year. I am blessed to have an excellent job. For 27 years, I've worked in the financial services industry. I had much good fortune over those years, but I struggled at times, feeling I was wasting my life doing work I was not passionate about.

In June, while I was on vacation, I went trail riding. It was a gorgeous but windy summer day. Near the end of the three-hour ride, the horse I was riding spooked hard, and I slid off his left side. One foot still in the stirrup and clinging to the reins, I held on for dear life, knowing that coming off would put me directly under him.

After a concerted effort, I dropped to the ground. It didn't take long for hooves to come down hard on the inside of my left leg.

I'm a suffer in silence kind of person. I struggle to verbalize my pain emotionally and physically. Upon impact, I heard a scream and realized it had come out of me. Perhaps this vocalization prompted the horse to stop spinning and trot off down the road. Either way, I breathed a sigh of relief he was no longer over me, and after taking inventory of my body parts, I felt immediate gratitude for being alive. It's worth repeating; I'm ALIVE!

Let's talk about the many gifts of the year, for this is what I choose to dwell on.

My difficulties with Rudy led me to people who helped me listen to him better. Our bond is stronger than ever today, and we continue to grow together.

I took the news that I would be unemployed in stride. My employer was more than fair in all aspects, including the months of notice they provided. When I started the job, I committed to five years, thinking I would "retire" at that point, aka start following my dreams.

Meanwhile, I hit my eighth anniversary in September. After a brief moment of soul searching, I quickly decided I was excited at the prospect of a new chapter.

I immediately began thinking of everything I could do with my time—finally, a chance to fully immerse myself in writing, promoting the Rudy The Rudster book series, and more. I was gitty with the possibilities that lie ahead.

The recovery from the riding accident was long. The good news is that I've fully recovered. I thank the horse frequently for only stepping on my leg.

Now for all the purely great things this year.

I had another year of working from home, sparing me from the rigors of travel-work life, providing me with the flexibility and time for things that make my heart sing.

I got more ski days than ever, 38, and I skied well into May. Anyone that knows me well knows that skiing is my medicine. It's a way for me to come into the present, and I love the physicality of the sport.

There is nothing like ripping through inches, sometimes feet of snow, at speed while weaving through trees. It's as though I have become part of the landscape. I almost can hear the mountain breathe. I stop and extend gratitude to the trees for their role in creating the magic I experience when on the hill.

A professional photographer came to the barn to take pictures of Rudy and me for a profile article that my city's local magazine ran about the book series. Talk about fun! Rudy knew it was all about him. He quickly won over the photographer and her daughter. I was the one out of my element, but that's okay. It is all about Rudy.

Rudy2 was published! Holding it in my hands was every bit as exciting as it was when the first book was published. I've met so many people through the book series and had conversations that never would have been possible. Every time someone buys a book or a new store agrees to carry the books; I get a jolt of adrenaline.

I'm so grateful for my horse friends who supported me when I was injured. One of them has trusted me to ride her sweet draft cross. He's such a solid citizen, steady and dependable. He allowed me to start riding when I was full of anxiety from the fall. Riding him allowed me to gain the confidence to get on Rudy again. It's a fantastic feeling to ride my horse again. Thank you Marnie and Mayday!

I'm grateful for all of my friends and family. They provide me with an anchor, a sense of belonging; they care for me, love me, and support me when things are hard.

2021 was a year full of surprises, and I chose to see the good in the happenings of my life. Happy holidays!

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