Saying goodbye to 2012 with no regrets

As the year draws to a close, it is time to look back at the year to reflect on what has or has not been accomplished.  Like everyone, Mrs. Oz sets a few New Years "resolutions" as the year begins. 2012 was no different...except...2012 was different.

In 2012, I decided to move away from the amorphous goals that I typically set - "Be healthier", "Control Finances", "Get Organized", "Focus on Family" - and make the goals become tasks that were more specific, more measurable. I figured that way - if I failed...well, I would know exactly what I failed at. Further, I would at least have accomplished a task or two towards betterment before I failed.  After all, even one step down a specific path would get me further along in accomplishing something rather than accomplishing wishing.

So I set out a few goals for myself, and then put the goals on timelines. I wasn't going to start everything on January 1. I had things to start right away and things to investigate further. Things like "Drink more water" (start right away). Things like "take at least 1 family vacation to somewhere" (investigate). These were tasks in much larger goals or "resolutions" if you will - and yet the goals themselves would only be defined after the tasks to accomplish were defined. I gave myself permission to change the overarching goals based on what tasks I accomplished. To take measure and then decide the next step towards a larger picture.

It may seem a backwards way to do it, yet it was worth a shot. As I sit here on the tail end of the year, I can honestly say...it worked.

"So," you ask, "what goals and tasks did you set, Mrs. Oz?". "What have you accomplished Mrs. Oz?" Great question. Only now, today, can I finalize my New Years resolutions for 2012 in larger form - based on the tasks that I accomplished. So let's take a look at what is complete.

Become a healthier you - I started with drinking water. Moved to an extensive round of dental work. Made adjustments to my heart medication. I modified my diet slowly because I didn't like the person staring back at me from the mirror. First breakfasts. Then lunches. Then dinners. Less sweets. More fruits. Less processed foods. More natural foods. Less ugly fats, more healthy fats. Less chip dip. More hummus. Less fried foods. More baked foods. More outdoor exercise like playing with the kid, walking, biking, hitting a kayak, buying a kayak (that I now have to get in the damn water...bought it too late in the season). The end result? I have indeed become a more healthier me. By a long shot!  Take a look:

From May, 2012 to November, 2012 representing 38 lbs. gone

I still have more work to do on my health. More activities to add, more exercise, more water, less sweets (the holidays are killer and such), but as I look back...even I have to give myself a pat on the back for accomplishing - step by step - a pretty big goal. A pretty measurable goal. A pretty visible goal.

Get out of the Day-to-Day rut and travel more - For many years past, travel for the Oz family centered around going to travel hockey games, or leaving our home and visiting family 300 (or 150) miles away. There were plenty of places that we wished to visit - but vacation times were caught up in going "home" or watching kid sports. Back when the Prince was four and five, we took a yearly family vacation. I wanted to begin that process again - recognizing that at 20, the prince was likely to cease travelling with us soon and that  the King deserved to get away with family and enjoy different places and make memories. Further, it had been 20 years since Mr. Oz and I had gotten away as a couple - without the children. We always talked about doing it. We never did. Until 2012.  Here is a list of places that we wandered off to - breaking the day to day rut - both as a couple and as a family!

  1. Mr. and Mrs. Oz getaways - Local hotel (January), Hocking Hills (May), Hocking Hills (October), Sauder Inn and Village (November/December).  Yup, count 'em....FOUR getaways, when we hadn't done ANY in 20 years.  Wooooot!
  2. Mr. Oz and Mrs. Oz...A year of traveling together
  3. Oz Family Adventures - Keystone State Park, Latrobe, PA, July, 2012, Cedar Point in Sandusky Ohio, August, 2012.  Back when the Prince was five, we took a week's vacation to Keystone Park in Latrobe PA. Visiting family, going to a craft show. Introducing him to Idlewild park. We often looked back fondly on that vacation. It was time to do it again - with the Prince at 20 and the King at 8 - to introduce the new Oz family to all of the same memories...and add a few more. From extreme Lightening Bug Hunting, to Kayaking, to Johnny Cash, to meeting cousins, visiting Aunts and Uncles, and laughing a whole lot....memories abound.

Keystone Vacation, 2012
Yet no Family Summer is complete without a trip to Cedar Point as well. Especially here in Northwest Ohio. So in late August, the family hopped in the car...headed east, and found that the King was officially tall enough to ride some of the bigger coasters like Magnum, Corkscrew, Blue Streak, Mean Streak, and Millennium Force. Yes, he was scared. But he was NOT going to lose face in front of the Prince...as long as the Prince would ride with him.  As you can see, a fun time was had by all.

Prove that you are a lifelong learner...learn something! When the Prince was asked to not return to college at the start of the Second Semester in January based on the fact that his professors had posted grades that not only blew him off academic probation...but put him into dismissal, he alluded to the fact that "we don't understand how hard College is". What with homework (lots of homework), social life, sports and such...it was difficult to accomplish decent grades when you are being drawn in so many directions. I thought to myself...."Reaaaaalllllly". So applying yourself is difficult. Hmm.

And yet, what really could I say?

I left Seton Hill at the start of my second semester (circa 1986) because I had the flu, my roommate had left, and I just didn't want to be in school anymore. I left Bowling Green just before the end of my first semester there (again, circa 1986), because I didn't want to be in college - I wanted to get my life started.  Shortly thereafter, I became serious with Mr. Oz. Two years later, I was married. Four years after that, the Prince was born. I half-heartedly made an attempt to go back when the Prince was in second grade...but he was struggling academically and behaviorally in school and I used that as an excuse to walk away yet again.

Three colleges. A total of  18 credits. Over the course of the years...I had managed to struggle, and yet remain a freshman.  It wasn't that I didn't want to finish my education. I just had enough excuses to not do so. Life. Gets. In. The. Way. I warned the Prince before he went off to college that this was the case. Turns out, Mama's warning was right.

But, funny thing about life - it will ALWAYS get in the way unless you make time for what you want to accomplish.  And I  reached a point that I want to accomplish advancing my education. (And maybe even finishing it!). Not because it is expected. Not because I have to. Not because I need it for work.  Because....I want it. For me.

So I investigated various methods to get back into School. Brick and Mortar? Online only? A Hybrid? And I came across (or more likely remembered) Columbia Southern University. It is the online presence that owns the Brick and Mortar college that the Prince attended - Waldorf College.

I enrolled.

Five terms later, I am officially a late-term sophomore, early-junior. Overloading my schedule with 9 credits per term (8 weeks, rather than 16), I am carrying a hard-fought 4.0. I am on pace to complete the degree approximately 1 year from the end of February or March if I maintain this pace. From half-way through my Freshman year, to blasting through my sophomore and moving on to my Junior....I can finally turn to the Prince and say "You are right. It is hard to balance everything in college. Family, Work, the House, a full-time college schedule, and travel all attempt to get in the way. But as hard as it is, it can be done....if you want it bad enough". Because if you want it bad enough, you find a way.

And there is little he can say.

Become a tourist in your own town....  Everyone complains about their hometowns when they are living there.  "There is nothing to do" is the continuous whine.  So I set out to prove (mostly to myself) that these lamentations were false; I actively sought out fun things to do. And I found lots of them!

Second City Comedy Troupe, Ringling Brothers, A Garrison Ghost Walk of Fort Meigs, Walks through Wildwood, Walks through Harroun Park, Navy Fleet Week in Downtown Toledo, Handel's Messiah, A Christmas Carol, the Toledo Zoo, several trips to Maumee Bay Brewing Company (where the Pretzels are great, and the company is awesome!), Black Swamp Art Show, 80's party at Centennial, Kelly Miller Circus at Pacesetter, Cirque Du Soleil Quiddam, Fossil Park, Erie Orchard, The Lucas County Fair, Monster Truck Jam (The Prince and the King...NOT me), Stargazing at the Planetarium at Lourdes College, and wandering the Toledo Museum of Art for several exhibitions. Amazingly enough, the Oz family hasn't even scratched the surface of all there is to do!

I guess the overarching result of my tasks, to dos, and Resolutions set back at the beginning of this year was to reach out and grab even more of living life. It seems, in reflection, that I have truly accomplished all I set out to do...and then some. So I bid a happy, healthy, smart, and busy adieu to 2012 and leave you with this thought. Don't let Life get in the Way of Living in the Coming Year. Just smile, wave, and head off on your adventure. I will be right there with you!

A fond farewell to a Happy Year - 2012


Kimberly Howard said...

Love the update.....you have had a great year! Glad to reconnect with you more since we are back! happy new year to the OZ family!


My word girl! You look 10 years younger!! Congrats, I need to do this and it is a constant struggle. You look gorgeous :D

joho said...

Very Inspirational! Thanks for posting!

Beth said...

Great post! You look great and it sounds like you all had a great year! I like to set goals/resolutions the same way and it really makes a difference...when you can measure progress, it makes things so much more manageable than vague general statements. Keep up the good work in 2013!

JO said...

Thanks all for the kind words! 2012 is going to be hard to top for Mrs. Oz and the folks in OzLand...but we sure are gonna try!

The Girl Next Door said...

HOly crap I feel like a fat, lazy couch potato!!! You and Mr. Oz look awesome. It's good to hear that it was small changes - we just can't seem to get the scale to go down yet we don't seem to eat that much fried food, fatty food, "bad stuff," clear it's in there? So taking a page from your book, adding things slowly, and hoping to post a photo as amazing as yours is next year!! And the school? totally love it. And all the travels and adventures? Awesomeness. Sadly I somehow didn't realize you were posting. So happy to have found you again. You're amazing!