I thought about doing 2,011 good things but no, my dear readers, I wouldn't inflict that kind of list upon you.
But did you know that some of the habits of happy people include things like expressing optimism and gratitude, and savoring life's joys? It's true, or so says this article: 12 Things Happy People Do Differently.
So in pondering 11 good things, I am not only remembering happy times of the past but am also increasing my happiness in this very moment... how about that?
The trip we took for our 4th anniversary. Okay, it was technically in the very end of 2010, but I somehow consider everything after Christmas as a part of the new year, so bear with me. It wasn't a big cruise or fancy European vacation - just a road trip from PA back home to MA, really - but we had such a good time, saw so many interesting places and things, and ate good food along the way.
My 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid! Okay, again, technically purchased in the very final days of December, but it was a new thing to have this beautiful car for the year 2011. I just love love love it, and when you have to spend as much time as I do driving, it is a big deal to get to hop into a comfortable car that you love every day. Also, two words: heated seats. Enough said.
In January I switched violin studios, and have since been studying with a teacher I really love; she is everything a teacher should be and I'm so glad I made the switch. It has totally changed my grad school experience.
Our new church! After five years as organist and music director at a church we didn't really like and where we certainly didn't feel loved, or welcomed, or like part of a community, Nathan quit his job there and we immediately started attending a church we knew was the place for us. We both sing in the choir and it's still a weirdly wonderful thing to wake up on Sunday mornings excited about going to church instead of dragging my feet about the whole thing.
For the second year in a row, Nathan conducted his own arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner in Boston's Symphony Hall.
I finished year one of my master's degree program! And so did Nathan, for that matter.
I attended the National Orchestral Institute for the month of June. I hesitated about being away from Nathan and home and my students and my work for a full month, but let me just say for the record that I'm so glad I did this. It was really a great experience musically and personally. I met good friends (Brooke!) and played amazing music with wonderful musicians, and generally experienced things I would never have experienced if I hadn't gone.
Also, I got to go visit my dear friend Story and her family on several occasions, as they live in Virginia. A definite bonus of the whole trip.
We closed on House #2! And spent the summer working slavishly on fixing up both House #1 and House #2. By the end of the summer we were somewhat moved into our new place, with a few of the to-do projects already accomplished, and House #1 had lovely tenants living in it. And they're never late with their rent check. What more could we want?
I took a really wonderful improvisation course at school this fall, and it expanded my musicianship and challenged me to step outside of familiar things and try new things. The professor is a wonderful person, and my fellow classmates were an inspiration.
Do I even need to say it? I'm currently in the middle of the oh-so-serious work of growing us our very own baby. Obviously, finding out that we were expecting this new addition and anticipating his or her arrival has been probably the biggest event of 2011.
And we fully expect that holding him or her in our arms in the near future will be the biggest event of 2012!
Best wishes to all for a very happy new year.