2011 Resolutions: Taking Back Control

by Chris on January 2, 2011

My resolution slogan for 2011: Taking Back Control – after a year that kicked my butt in so many ways.

Resolutions 2011

Warning: this post doesn’t have much to do with travel. As with all resolution posts, it’s going to border on self-indulgent.  But as 2010 came to an end, I found myself thinking quite a bit about the year, which will always stand out as one of my most challenging, both personally and professionally. It’s the year that I lost my identity, where my life as I knew it went into a freefall, where every goal I had ever made blew up in my face – and how I struggled to put it all back together.

It all goes back to the big L – my layoff from USA TODAY in Dec. 2009. I realize that a layoff isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a person. Illnesses and divorces and problems with parents and children are far more scary and challenging, and I’m lucky that I had better resources than most to weather unemployment. But for 20 years, I had rarely considered life outside a newsroom. I never conceived myself as something other than a news reporter. Most of my close friends were in the business. Without journalism, what was I?

Depressed, it turned out. In the first few months of 2010, I cried constantly. I lashed out at my husband, family and friends. I gained a lot of weight. I finally got some professional help in March, but until then, I resembled a scared cornered animal more than a person; I barely remember those months. Here’s a tip to others who might face this situation: Don’t wait as long as I did. Get help immediately.

I fought stagnation by manically jumping into everything. My motto: Just Say Yes, because it’s better than siting on the sofa feeling sorry for yourself. That turned out to be the best move, as I took advantage of some great opportunities. Go to Paris with Michelin? Sure! Write an iPhone app? Why not! Take a job at the world’s largest tech company, move across the country and throw life with your husband into massive upheaval? Hmm, I guess so….

Not all the decisions were great ones. But each step made me stronger, took me a little closer toward finding different passions. And last week when I did my annual life review and goal setting, I was surprised to see how far I had come. It’s not exactly where I want to be. But at least I can see something new and exciting emerging from the chaos.

I have a new slogan for 2011: Taking Back Control. I’m still going to say yes – to opportunities that fit with what I want out of life, instead of ones that might make sense to others. The guideline: If it works with my passions, I’m all in. Along with my husband, I’ve set specific goals and have listed steps to get there. I’m going to take what I have and make the most out of it. And I’m going to lose all the weight I put on – one pound at a time.

I also see 2011 as a time when I’m going to make a stand on civil rights issues that I care about, such as gay marriage and making entry to the US easier for immigrants. I’m no longer bound by newsroom conventions of neutrality; when I see something wrong in the world, I can now articulate it without fear of being called biased. And after a year where I visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Israel and Third Reich sites in Berlin, I realize that it’s important to do that when you have a chance.

And finally, I intend to do a better job of showing appreciation. Depression is a selfish condition. You can’t be there for others when you’re so far gone inside your own head. I want to be a helpful resource, not only for people I know in real life, but for the readers of this blog. The world is a wonderful gift, with so many experiences and places to explore. I feel honored to be able to share it with others.

I can’t wait to see what this year brings! I hope you feel the same way.

| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kara January 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Just one more reason why I adore and admire you, Chris. I love your candor, I love your writing.

I think it’s *phenomenal* what you’ve created here on your blog in just one year. Really awesome.

And yes, can’t WAIT to see what 2011 brings you and me both!

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Mary Jo Manzanares January 2, 2011 at 3:56 pm

While the situation was different, I too have been where you were. And I can relate to the bumpy road back.

Welcome to wellness and happiness! Can’t wait to see what I’ll find here in 2011.

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Kathy, Dream of Italy January 3, 2011 at 2:15 am

Very inspiring post. Thanks for being so honest!
Kathy

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Lola January 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Absolutely loved this post Chris! Here’s to collectively taking back control in 2011.

Wishing you the very best, blessings, and your heart’s desires this new year.

Inspiring!

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Chris January 3, 2011 at 1:31 pm

@Lola, @Kathy, @Kara, @MaryJo, @Jennifer – Thank you all for your kind words. I was a little worried about being “this” honest about my depression, but if it can help inspire others, I’m all for it. Here’s to great things for all of us in 2011!

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Kara January 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I am a BIG FAN of help for any mental-health issue. I always preach, “Call in the professionals!” NOT a sign of weakness, but strength.

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Jennifer Rudolph January 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Thanks for this post Chris. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 – I am thrilled to kiss that year goodbye and “Take Back Control” in 2011. Hope to see you in the coming year~

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