Personal Reflection

New Year, New Possibilities

2017 is a new year and even though there are so many uncertainties that this year could bring, I’d rather focus on the new and exciting possibilities that are ahead. At the end of May, I’m turning 40 and even though it might be freaking me out, just a bit, this month I plan on taking the time to reflect on how far I’ve come, both personally and professionally. In addition, I want to spend some time mapping out where I want to go. This is especially important as I realize that I truly want to lead a balanced life of family, friends, and work, while working towards equality and justice.

As I took some time to reflect on the past decade, I found a list of 40 things to do before turning 40. I created this list shortly after turning 30…which means, the list was drafted a couple of months after having my daughter and being a stay-at-home mother in a city with no personal or professional networks. As I reviewed the list, I had to chuckle at what I had wanted back then and to realize that in just 3 years of drafting the list, that I could not have cared less about completing the majority of the items. In case you want to have a glimpse into what my mindset was back then, below is the list:

  1.       Run an entire 5K on 5/15/2010 Autism 5K around Lake Calhoun, time: 32:23
  2.       Run an entire 10K I ran the 10k portion of the Holy Half
  3.       Run an entire Half Marathon
  4.       Run an entire Marathon
  5.       Learn to Swim
  6.       Swim in a Race
  7.       Build up endurance to ride a bike for 15 miles or more
  8.       Ride bike in a race
  9.       Participate in a biathlon
  10.       Participate in a triathlon
  11.       Learn to play tennis
  12.       Go on an overnight camping trip
  13.       Go cross country skiing
  14.       Go canoeing
  15.       Create, plant and cultivate a sustainable garden
  16.       Learn to speak Sinhala
  17.       Learn to write Sinhala
  18.       Learn to speak Spanish
  19.       Learn to write Spanish
  20.       Re-learn to play the piano
  21.       Learn to read music
  22.       Learn to sew by hand
  23.       Learn to sew with a machine
  24.       Sew window treatments
  25.       Sew bedding
  26.       Design an outfit for Matthew
  27.       Design an outfit for Chiara
  28.       Design an outfit for me
  29.       Design a ring
  30.       Design a pendant
  31.       Design a bracelet
  32.       Design a necklace
  33.       Design earrings
  34.       Design a house
  35.       Build a house
  36.       Write a novel
  37.       Write a children’s book
  38.       Write a cook book
  39.       Be on the board of directors of a non-profit The first Board of Directors I’ve been on was Girls on the Run Michiana
  40.      Be the chair of a fund-raising event When I was 30, I thought that I would rather be the chair of the fundraising event, rather than staff, because staff gets the grunt work.

As I mentioned earlier, when I drafted this list, my life was a bit different. I just had my second child and our family moved from DC to Minnesota. We were fortunate to have the ability for me to stay-at-home with the kids, because that is what I truly believed was the best thing for our family, but I was sooooooooooo bored (even though I didn’t want to admit that to my husband or to myself).

Now, my life is quite different, and I don’t want to do half the things on this list. My priorities have changed and so have my aspirations. Honestly, the possibilities are endless. For those of you who know me, having a list means that I need to cross things out, and this incomplete list could have freaked me out.  However, I have grown in the past 10 years, and rather than dwelling on the fact that I didn’t complete a list, I would like to look at what I have accomplished in this decade. Specifically, the things that I didn’t have the foresight to put on this list:

  1. Work at my alma mater
  2. Raise over $4 million for a capital campaign
  3. In a span of 5 years, go from an Assistant Director to Vice President of a College
  4. Visit Alaska, one of the top 4 places I wanted to go visit (others include Machu Pichu, Costa Rica, Maldives, Iceland, Ireland, and Hawaii).
  5. Started my own consulting firm

This is just a select few of my accomplishments, but I have to say, that I’m most proud of the fact that I realized that I don’t want to be a high powered, development professional. I would rather work limited hours and spend quality time with my loved ones. I don’t want to be like the Jones. I want to be the best Charmaine, a wife and mother who is there for her partner in life and her kids.

I love goal setting, and believe it’s so important to do, but sometimes, circumstances change and goals must change with it. For 2017, I hope you take the time to reflect on your past, your present, and what you want your future to be. If you need to create a list, go for it, but don’t beat yourself up if your vision for yourself changes.

Have a great 2017!

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