Lesson From the Timeout Year

A couple days ago Keola and I took a drive through Makawao and ended up parking at Paia Elementary School our way down Haleakala. It's my favorite drive on Maui and I often get into a contemplative mood on that road.
And as many of us are doing, Keola and I began to reflect on this year and how it went and how we've grown. To our surprise, we realized that compared with 2010 (when Noweo was born in April, Keola graduated in May, my sister got married in Utah in August, we moved to Oregon in September and moved back to Hawaii in December), 2011 has been a quiet, reflective year. The time out year. Aside from moving to Maui in May, life has been slow and steady and filled with time to think. Precious time, valuable time. Life-changing time. 
For a while we looked at this lull as a punishment, torture. We'd roll our eyes when people asked about the job front and we'd say (with a loud sigh) that we're STILL waiting. Then we ended up in a situation where we had to take care of our two nieces, and while we love them to death, it's one thing to be their aunty and uncle, and another thing entirely to be their temporary mom and dad. We found ourselves desperately wanting that job that'd be our ticket out. 
But it's the eve if New Years Eve, and over the months we've settled into this haphazard situation, and decided not to be victims of circumstance, and embraced this life. And when we stopped whining, we started learning.
We've learned to have a little more faith, that there's a reason for everything we do and every situation we encounter.
We've learned to be patient, and wait for good things to come while savoring the now.
We've learned to accept it when things don't go our way, dust ourselves off and move forward, never dwelling on what could have been.
We've learned that richness doesn't come from having lots of money, but by using the money we have on the things that are most important to us.
We've learned that when it comes down to it, we'd rather have more time and less money than more money and less time.
We've learned that when we live to make others happy, we often end up making ourselves miserable.We've learned that we can't make anybody do anything. We can only choose for ourselves.
We've learned that to get the most out of life, you have to take risks, leave yourself open to new possibilities, and learn from others, and don't count yourself out.
Clearly, we needed this year. We needed to learn these things, to have them reinforced in our brains. We needed to regroup, plan, recalculate, and decide what we value and what we want from life, for ourselves and our children.
But now that the "time out year" is over, we are ready to take on whatever's next, with a little more focus, clarity, hope and drive. Goodbye 2011.