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My plan today was to write about something totally different – oh well. You’ll just have to wait for that!

I am not one of those who makes a list of New Year’s resolutions. For me, the point of time to pause, reflect, think and set goals is at my birthday – my own personal ‘new year’ of life.

But this year, for the first time in almost 20 years, I could not get my head and mind and heart silent enough to reflect and goal set. I was too emotional, too raw, too sore, too bruised, too angry.

Some of that has calmed down with the beauty of family traditions and holiday joys – but TOTAL family health chaos over the holidays from EVERY single direction, also has forced me to get my ass back on the ball. Because life is for sure too short to mope and IMG_0917whine.

Besides, moping and whining is for pansies.

So tonight, as I was walking home and breathing in the wet-cold grey of Amsterdam, worrying about family, stressing about the future, anxious about doctor results… I realized that there IS a purpose to New Year’s resolutions. That reflection process helps us to cope, helps us to move forward. Face forward.

The road already traveled...

Reflection: This January it will be four years since I announced that I was packing up my career and selling my belongings and moving to Europe. It’ll be my third January living in Amsterdam.



In the last years I have had experiences of the good kind that you wouldn’t believe and that I am so thankful for. I’ve had experiences of the total crap kind that you wouldn’t believe and that I am totally thankful for surviving both literally and metaphorically.

I cried, laughed, traveled, read, wrote, talked, loved, ate, hurt, stressed, worked, dreamed, explored.

And most of all… I’ve learned.

Some days when I look at my reflection I don’t recognize the ‘Elloise’ I once knew, I once was. My entire life has been flipped upside down – not that that is a new thing for me. Nothing in my life has every been steady or stable for more than a quicksand minute… but the sheer degree and volume of upside down toppling and consequent rebuilding has been enormous. I’ve had to figure out from scratch who I am. What I am. What I stand for. What I feel. How I think.

P1000498Some don’t get that this process is intense, draining, thrilling, scary, and often slower than you want or need.

Today I feel 29-years old, a feeling that I haven’t had since I was about 17! Today I feel strong and clear about what I want and what I need. Today I feel like the reflection may have grey hairs and wrinkles that are becoming part of the picture, and it may be of just me instead of the family I dream of – but it’s a reflection I can like, respect, and enjoy.

Today I am less perfect, less in control, less certain, less in charge, and less intense than I have ever been before.

I am more aware of my mistakes, of my short-comings, of my yearnings, of my weaknesses, and of chains that bind.

And I feel more free than I have ever before.

P1010054The last year especially has been one of building – of growing – of facing reflections. It was not always something that I liked doing or looking at. But I am so thankful for the chance.

My numerology says that I am now in my year of ‘Change.’ My first reaction – Seriously?!?!?! My second reaction – Okay… I can play. Bring it.