Looking Back and Moving Forward: One Year Later

Yesterday marked the official close of my year of reschooling. Though it was a busy Saturday, my thoughts kept coming back to the progress I’ve made this year in finding balance and contentment, and the gratitude I have for all the people who helped make this project possible. You know who you are, and I hope you know how thankful I will always be to you.

Two big lessons that come to mind:

1) Achievement hasn’t made me happy in the past, and it won’t make me happy in the future.

2) Nearly 100 percent of the time, life isn’t as serious as I think it is.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m going to continue blogging: about what I’m learning in terms of hard skills and personal development, and what kind of education best serves people throughout their lives. I’d like to look back on the year and talk in depth about how I coped with some of my challenges (like overindulging when eating, depriving myself of sleep, and suffering from anxiety).

The zinnia in the picture above (taken today) is one of the only plants I’ve ever kept alive. It wilted shortly after we bought it, but Darren got rid of the dead parts and pretty much brought it back to life. Take the flower as a metaphor if you wish…

Here’s my journal entry from yesterday.

Saturday, June 20, 2009
11:41 pm

Today is a big day for me. Not only is it my first anniversary of leaving Spark, but it’s also the last official day of Reschool Yourself. I could not have imagine where life would take me in one year’s time.

My schedule today is an example of how my life has grown to look. Turns out that it’s very close to my ideal day.

8:00 Woke up, checked email
9:00 Yoga with Tara
10:30 Ate breakfast, watched late night comedy clips on Hulu
12:30 Bought plants and bedding soil at Hutto’s Home & Garden
2:00 Planted vegetables and herbs in the raised garden bed
3:00 Ate late lunch (my tuna salad over baby greens and homemade honey whole wheat bread), watched four episodes of “In Treatment
5:00 Read Glamour magazine (it’s got good articles, really!)
5:30 Napped
6:30 Saw Joan Jett at Jubilee Jam outdoor music festival
8:00 Dinner (homemade pizza) and rooftop drinks with friends
11:00 Baked bread (whole wheat ginger granola)
11:30 Journaled and played guitar

Seriously, it was such a great day. The only things I’d add in are a bit more reading and having some of my favorite people around (especially my sister and parents). I find it stunning that nearly everything I did today was not part of my routine a year ago. I wasn’t living in Jackson and didn’t have friends here yet. I didn’t do yoga or play guitar, and I didn’t have a bread machine or garden. I wasn’t able to nap easily, and certainly not within a short window, because I felt too anxious. I didn’t make nearly as much time for reading magazines, watching TV, or attending music festivals as I do now.

Yoga has been a particular blessing. Today the theme in class was “Standing Tall in the Light.” Tara, my friend and teacher, used certain poses — such as a lunge — as reminders to step back and remember where you came from, and then to step forward into the light. That sums up what I’ve done with Reschool Yourself: I traced my past back to the beginning of my school days, came to terms with it, and let it go so that I could move on.

Regular yoga has helped me grow a lot. It reminds me not to compare myself to other people, who are more advanced, and just challenging myself from wherever I happen to be. I’m learning to breathe through difficulties, ground myself, and focus on the present without distraction. My body is now the strongest it’s ever been.

I am so grateful for this year. Going back to school released the chokehold the past had on me for so long. It put to rest my feelings of resentment and regret and let me move forward. I’d spent most of my life feeling like a kid who didn’t want to grow up, partially out of the desire to have another shot at childhood. Now that I’ve had that chance, I finally feel ready to be an adult. It’s easier now that I don’t believe in “the real world” anymore, at least the kind that sucks the soul, and I believe that I can get back on track again, no matter how far off I’ve gotten.

A year ago, in June 2008, I…

  • was such a sensitive sleeper that I wore earplugs every night.
  • was dependent on a lot of things (health supplements, material luxuries, etc.) .
  • was in the middle of a huge period of flux and felt ungrounded.
  • had regular bouts of anxiety and depression.
  • lived across the country from Darren.
  • hadn’t published an article since college.
  • didn’t laugh very often throughout the day.
  • had no idea where I’d be, and who I’d be, in one year’s time.

Every one of those things has changed. I’ve grown a lot more confident in doing what I want, without regard for what others think of it. I almost don’t recognize myself — I am so, so much happier and healthier than I was last year. My eating patterns and body image are stable. I’m on the right path and can see my tangible progress. Of course I still get upset or stressed out, but those times have become less frequent and intense. When I fall, I pick myself up again a lot more quickly than I once did.

I’m incredibly thankful to Darren, my donors, my family, and readers for helping me do what I set out to. It’s been an amazing year.

Your Two Cents: Leave a Comment!

What progress, big or small, have you made since last year at this time?

Comments (7)

  1. Stephen

    I love it! I’m so proud of you Melia. Congrats on achieving what you set out to do and so much more! Truly an example for us all. 🙂

  2. Gilliebean

    I’m so happy you are so much happier and healthier than you were just a year ago! It’s amazing that you have been able to take on so much change in all aspects of your life and remain positive and courageous. I miss living near you a lot, but it makes it easier knowing we all plan to migrate to the same area in a few years. I am really proud of you; Reschool Yourself inspires me to work toward my “ideal day” as well.

  3. Melia

    Thank you! You both have been such a support to me during this year, especially during the rough times. Having you as cheerleaders and sources of inspiration helped me get through the period of chaos, as I faced my issues head on. Gill, I miss living near you so much! Someday soon we will be raising our quarter-Asian (who still look plenty Asian) babies near each other.

  4. Keetha

    This is so great! That zinnia – you go, girl. I think there are many, many people who want the mix of contentment, ambition, and peace that you have. You’ve carved out yourself a great way to be.

  5. Meg

    Replace guitar playing with singing, add in a massage, and your Saturday looks a lot like my perfect day!!
    So glad to hear that the past year has been so therapeutic for you. I reorganized my life four and a half years ago at the age of 30 and it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Congrats at figuring it out a little sooner than I did:)

  6. Alicia

    I’m so proud of you, too, Meliai! If only you could be discovering such contentment closer to me! I miss seeing your smiliing face. Hugs.

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