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!


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.


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

Very inspiring post. Thanks for being so honest!


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.



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!


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.


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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