Today is the final day of 2014.
Since we began this project, everyone has so kindly shared of themselves whenever we have asked them to. In turn, we thought that we would take this opportunity to share our own thoughts, reflections, and resolutions with all of you, to end our year. Thanks again for reading, following, looking, sharing, and supporting our ideas and dreams. Have a wonderful and blessed New Year!
2014 had a theme for me: Bittersweet. Now I realize bittersweet is pretty much life as a whole, but this year was the perfect example. I took some "nasty falls" this year. But I believe that there were lessons attached to them.
I've had a business in direct sales since 1999. I love my business, the people I meet, the way I get to make others feel, and yes, the money is nice (and necessary) as well. Over the years, I've earned free cars with my company. Six of them. Pretty sweet for a part time gig! Being a high achiever (where was that part of me in high school?), I earned a leadership position in my company in 2009 where I mentored others to get out of their businesses what they wanted. I enjoyed that position. Then I didn't. I stepped down from my position in September. Some of that was choice. Some was productivity. More hard work was needed to maintain that position, by me and my team. It didn't happen that way. So I kind of lost my job. I also stepped out of a free car. These changes stung. Made me question my worth. I've always loved this business (and still do) so why would I not be performing better? The answer, I believe, was passion, or lack thereof. I lost it. I'm not good at going through the motions. It bores me. Then I don't perform. This is in any area of my life. I've always known that to some degree, but this year it was crystallized. I'm still active in my business, still love the business, my customers, many of the folks I get to work with. I just needed another outlet as well. Something more creative. I've always enjoyed talking to people, hearing their stories. I've loved photography for years. Then I saw HONY (Humans of New York) and was inspired. That was like something I had wanted to do for so long. Michelle was in a similar boat as me, with variations. We got together to talk about life and how to fill this creative void we both were feeling. I brought up the aforementioned. She loved it too, but we wanted a variation, not a duplication of what HONY was doing. Fast forward, One, Unified was born. Bitter. Sweet.
Having lost a full time gig, naturally money was lost too. Again, I questioned my worth (in more ways than one). As many of you may know, this can make for a lot of depression and anxiety. Money isn't everything. Money doesn't buy happiness. Money is the root of all evil. But, dammit, we need money to survive. I wasn't pulling my weight. More pressure is on my already hard working husband. We have a kid going to college in the fall. While this problem is yet to be a thing of the past, and as I work to get my business back up to the well oiled machine it once was (with or without the leadership position), we struggle a bit. But I was blown away by the people that came through for us this year. I'm not saying our bills were payed off, gifts were bought for us, college is now paid for, but smaller (I didn't say small) things. Tickets to a concert I/we really wanted to attend. Paying our way so we could enjoy a night out we may not have been able to swing otherwise. Some side work to earn some extra cash when we were really strapped. Understanding and compassion when it was toughest. Some of these friends are people we've known for a long time. Some are people we've only been friends with for a few years. It touches my heart and makes me feel so rich to have people like this in my life. Bitter. Sweet.
Unfortunately, knowing many people, there's a flip side to that last paragraph and bound to be a little drama. I'm not a fan. Sadly, I've learned things about people this year that was disappointing. I learned that not everyone can be taken at face value. I'm a very honest, sometimes brutally honest, person. You never have to wonder if I'm telling the truth. If the words are coming out of my mouth, it's true. I'm not saying that to toot my own horn, it's just who I am, how I was raised. So I expect the same in return. It just doesn't always work out that way and it's a little heartbreaking when you learn that someone you thought you could trust, you may not be able to. So I've adopted a policy (and this isn't really that new, I've practiced it in the past) to just accept people for what they are. Know that they're doing their best or what they think is their best, but that I don't have to put myself in their space more than necessary. There are true blue friends, fair weather friends, good time friends, and acquaintances. There's people that don't want to be friends, people I choose not to associate with as well. This is a lesson it's taken some time to learn. In years past, I agonized over this. Trying to get everyone to like me. Getting upset every time I was disappointed. I still get upset, but not in the obsessive way I used to. It's a 2014 miracle! But more than likely it's just an age thing. Bitter. Sweet.
This was a tough year, but I realize not as tough as many others had. (I've had those years too.) But I'm ever grateful for the lessons I was lucky enough to be here to learn. I'm blessed, beyond words, to have a hard working, loving husband that is completely supportive (possibly too supportive for his own good sometimes). I have a funny, intelligent, empathetic, socially aware, caring son that was just accepted into Penn State Abington. No one in my family attended college, so this is kind of a big deal. I'm lucky to have my parents still with me. My sister and nephews and a wonderful extended family. Not to mention a whole other family of friends that are there on a dime when needed. My late uncle Eddie was a very wise man that gave me invaluable guidance and advice till he passed in 2010. He told me all the time, "You can't control EVERYTHING Noelle", as I tend to try to do. I've heard this in my head more this year than in years past and I'm grateful for it. It's rather freeing.
My goals (or resolutions if you will) for the future, 2015 and beyond? Yes, I have the get healthier mantra so many people resolve to do. It really is important. But mostly I want to squeeze every ounce out of life. To be present in my life. To make good memories with the people that are important to me. To try, no matter what, to find a positive in every situation and person. To continue to earn the right to be called someone's friend. To be the best version of me as I can possibly be.
I write this realizing just how thankful I am, despite any worries I carry about my future, and there are definitely worries. Grateful for those family and friends mentioned earlier. And I'm grateful for YOU, the reader and the wonderful people that have shared themselves with us (and you). This has been such a wonderful experience and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to share it with someone. We all do have a common thread and truly are one, unified.