The objects in the picture are NATURALLY whacky.

My PRIORITIES be crazy.

I dedicated the past 363 days to living my priorities.

Ive said NO more often than I have in years past.

Ive slowed down more and focused on what’s important to me/my family.

I’ve worked to appreciate and be grateful for the little things in life because Im finally aware I will look back and see they were the BIG THINGS.

Quite frankly–looking back at it all– Im not sure how I did.

I long to say

…all I know is I did the best I was capable of.

(yes, I wrote that and deleted it)

but that would not be true.

What I do know is through living the past year with the backdrop of *striving* to live my priorities Ive become more aware.

I realize now more than ever we cannot have it all, we need to want what we have, and we must CHOOSE the life we create.

The life Im creating now is in the Bay Area.

Im home? Im home.

Im home!? Im home.

It’s cold(er).

It’s grey(er).

It’s damp(er).

It’s lonelier.

Ive made no secret of the fact I LOVE ME SOME AUSTIN AND IM A TEXAS GURL been semi-candid about how I was hesitant to move.

Id laid down roots in Austin both for me and for the Tornado.

Which leads me to my commitment for 2013.

It’s not really where my spirit is right now and it’s not really what I want to do.

I hesitated to even share because once I do—-Im bringing you all in as my accountability partners.

It’s time.

It’s this:



Im spending 2013 upping the ante in a way.

Im committing to still striving to live my priorities while simultaneously FOCUSING ON MOVING FORWARD and not looking back.

I believe all our lives are pages in a book.

My rest is still unwritten.

My rest will remain so if I dont focus on the forward.

For the next 365 days I will look through the WINDSHIELD and not focus solely on my rear view mirror.

I’ll have plenty of time to reflect and reread when Im oldER, grayER, and rocking on the front porch with Ren Man back in Austin.


Have you ever struggled with the temptation to REREAD the past instead of focusing forward on the pages which await?


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  1. says

    I am about to write my own final post for 2012, and my first New Year’s Resolution is to look forward, not back. No regret, shame or guilt over my imperfect year/decade/life. Yesterday is not tomorrow!

  2. says

    I found this post very encouraging. I’ve always thought of life as chapters in a book… one chapter ends, and a new one begins. So it was very affirming to read your commitment to 2013, of focusing on moving forward.

    May your bright shiny new year in the Bay Area be even more wonderful than you could have imagined!

  3. Runner Girl says

    Oh and yes, Mizzy.
    I am a rereader.
    I tend to look back at what was awesome and miss what is now.

  4. says

    You can’t help looking back a little. And believe it or not, it helps, as long as you don’t LIVE looking back.

    You said you were lonely. Were you lonely in Austin? No, because you make friends. You brought that with you, you just haven’t unpacked that yet.

    You said it was cold and damp. Were you too hot in Austin? No, because you were used to that climate. You’ll get used to this climate, too.

    All the skills, all the YOU that was in Austin is with you now in Oakland.

    Carla, this is all part of the move struggle. You have to make closure for yourself on Austin, and that takes time. It’s like a little death in some ways, and like you couldn’t tear your heart away from a lost partner you’re not going to tear your heart away from your old home that quickly. Give yourself time to grieve. It’s OK. But while you’re grieving, DO go on with getting to know (and love) your new home.

    Remember, every good adventure has some challenge to it. Every story worth telling has some sort of conflict or pain that has to be overcome. That doesn’t mean that we seek out or dwell in conflict and pain, just that it’s part of our lives. I’m all for wanting what I have, but I also want what I want, and that helps move me forward. The problem is, we don’t always know what we want.

    I THINK it’s not Austin you want, but to feel comfortable physically (the climate), feel connected to your space (familiarity) and to have a sense of community/ social connection… because THAT’s what Austin is to you. How close am I?

  5. says

    You hit the nail on the head. We’ve got lots of living left to do and it’s time to get on with it.

    This is a big one for me this year. As I turn the big 40 in a couple of months I have two choices: Look back on the last 40 lamenting what I can no longer do, how I no longer look, what choices I wished I had made….


    Focus on what things I can do, choices I can make, and how I can make each new day a day well spent.

    Moving forward!

  6. says

    Too often. But i’m finding that focusing on being grateful for even the smallest blessings is helping to curb that bad habit.

    Happy New Year, MisFit and Family!

  7. says

    First of all, thanks for the earworm.

    Second of all, I spent ALL of 2012 with my head in 2011. And part of 2010. And part of me delighted in it. It was satisfying like picking a scab is satisfying. (sorry)

    But it has stunted everything. EVERYthing.

    So I worded it differently, but the heart is the same…I’m taking a break from re-reading too.

  8. says

    As always, SO insightful, Miz!! Glad you’re settled and I look forward to reading the next chapter in your new Bay Area life! Happy New Year!

  9. Bea says

    I do tend to revert to looking backward and not being in the moment when the moment is not where I want to be.

    You will love your new home and you make a good point I need to remember: we can always go back later.

  10. says


    I am so with you on not re-reading the last chapter. You will build a new life in CA – it won’t be the same one, it will be different in very special ways – ways you cannot even imagine right now. You will rock The Bay.

    Peace – inner, world and English


  11. says

    Absolutely….but now I focus on the present and moving forward!

    MIZ, I too am so happy we connected this year! So grateful for our virtual friendship which I hope someday will be in-person (life form lol) :)


  12. says

    Welcome to your new home and all the adventures it will bring!

    I try not to dwell too much on what could have/should have happened because it really doesn’t affect how you move forward from this moment (even though it affected that old moment).

    Here’s to 2013 with wide open eyes!!

  13. says

    Looking at the past can be helpful and even joyful. Living in the past doesn’t really do much except, as you say, keep us from moving forward. (I’m also finding this to be true in “living in the moment.”)

    Happy New Year, Carla! Embrace the grey and cold–something good will come from it, I’m sure!

  14. says

    I’ve always been a big re-reader and what-ifer. Like if I hadn’t gotten into the car with my brother that night in Florida back in ’96 I wouldn’t have a brain injury and bad back and hideous hearing … and I wouldn’t have been in New York that summer when my bio father had his stroke and I wouldn’t have been forced to stay here and I wouldn’t have met Tom and we wouldn’t have John … and I wouldn’t trade them for anything — injuries and all. I work hard not to re-read and what-if. It may take time for The Bay to grow on you but I have no doubt that it will and I certainly have no doubt that they’re going to love being able to claim you as one of their own!

  15. Olive says

    Well, Austin misses you already.
    I am a great deal like you are an very dependent on the weather for my moods.
    I am not sure I’d make it in northern California.
    I’d need the south.

    Good luck!

  16. says

    The best advice I was ever given was a decade or so ago by my brother, novelist Mark Cohen. He said,

    “Leap, and the net will appear.”

    This was regarding scary business decision I was about to NOT make. But he said it, and that resonated. I diid leap after all, the net did appear, and my life was forever changed.

    I have since superimposed that advice onto most every large decision I have made since, and many of the small ones. Leaping, it seems, is not just for frogs.

    Enjoy the new net, and the new life.


  17. Miz says

    Ive said that repeatedly to the husband these past few days as well.
    some of it as lovely and nice as you say.
    some of it not so nice and a bit more IM FRICKIN FREEZING HERE. CONSTANTLY. I DONT THINK THERE IS A NET.

    Im trying to do more of the former.

  18. says

    LOVE this post! Again, always always remember that you have a right to feel every feeling you do right now! Moving is hard & making new connections & friends & finding shopping & food places & workout places & all that – it is hard BUT I know all will be good! That lady with the flower on the plane.. somehow to me, it said for you – this is a good start – she started you move out right! But it takes times & YES, I love what you wrote! In fact, in Jill C’s new year’s video for FF I quoted a saying: Forget the past, forgive yourself & begin again! :) Cammy is right though – we can look back but to live back there just does not work & may not be healthy for many…

    We are here for you!!!!!

  19. says

    Great post!
    About your move, being happy takes work. I moved away from my family and friends when I got married. I was miserable and physically sick for a year. (It didn’t help that my job sucked too.) When I changed my attitude, my entire life improved. It won’t be easy, make the best of it.

  20. Rachel says

    Oh Miz, this is fantastic. All the best to you in your forward! year. I have a feeling you and tornado and ren man will be so busy exploring your new digs that you’ll hardly have time for any looking back! I’ve loved the direction of your blog over the past year- your posts nearly always feel like they are speaking right to me. You’re one of the only (THE only?) bloggers who I feel like I would actually be friends with if we happened to live close by. Happy 2013!

  21. says

    If it makes you feel a tiny bit better, it’s cold and damp here in the Great State of Texas, too…but I think the transition to your new place would be easier if the weather were sunny, for sure! Still, I know you’re going to love it there. You’ll find that out pretty soon, and in the meantime, your new view looking forward will definitely help. Hang in there, my California friend!

  22. Fran says

    Yesterday is history
    Tomorrow is the future.
    Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.

    That’s how I live my life, think that’s all I have to say.

    Happy New Year Miz.

  23. says

    Love this. It’s going to be a fun year to follow along on your adventures.
    It’s funny, I just wrote on my farm blog yesterday how deep our roots are where we are and how we’ll be yanking them up and moving soon…

  24. Valerie says

    Oh, Miz. I’ve spent most of the past two and a half years rereading. I’m a chronic rereader, in life as much as in my writing. It’s a problem.

    About halfway through 2012, though, some things happened that finally helped me turn the page. It left me a bit lost for words for a little while, but I think I’ve finally got pen in hand and am ready to start creating – in more ways than one.

    I will be watching – in awe, I am sure – as you turn your page and start creating your next chapter. And cheering you on. :-)

  25. says

    Love this! I have been gulty of this but have gotten a lot better about looking forward instead of backwards. It’s liberating to let the past be the past.

  26. says

    Brilliant post. I like what you wrote “we need to want what we have, and we must CHOOSE the life we create.”

    I do look back and re-read a little bit but with joy for the wonderful memories not that I want to recapture that time or be there now.

    I am so looking forward to 2013 and the new possibilities it holds!

    Happy new home Carla!

  27. says

    This past year more than ever I have been a rereader. About 2 months ago, I realized the rereading was like me filling up a gas tank and idling until I was on E, so I changed it. I think it’s particularly harder to do when you have a specific memory that you relive over and over again, but I have realized it’s never going to come back and I’m missing out on writing and reading new chapters in life! :)

  28. Susan says

    Was nodding my head then realized with a start that memoirists (cough) are kind of obsessed with the rereading. And rewriting. Busted.

  29. says

    My whole life has been divided up into definite chapters and I love each one as I am living it. I do hope you get comfortable soon.

    Remember, home is where your heart is, and your heart is your family!

  30. says

    You are wonderful! I’ve defined my life this year by looking back at what it was like before my move six months ago. I’ve compared every experience of the last six months to how much I miss so many things about my old location although I don’t miss others.

    I’m going to devote my time to looking forward. Thank you my wonderful Carla. And thank you for all the wonderful hugs both virtual and actual whenever I get to see you.

  31. says

    I’ve done a lot of looking through the rear window rather than through the windshield, this past year. Back in January, I was at my lowest weight ever. This entire year, I’ve struggled just to get back there, get the mojo back, get back on track…all those things I want to go “back” to, oh dear…

    But when I look back, I can’t say that I did all that I could to accomplish my goals. I did a lot of complaining about “why couldn’t I have done this differently?” but didn’t act on any one thing in such a way that I would have made constant, consistent, and permanent progress.

    This year I have a goal of being less “Why didn’t I do that?” and more “I’m glad I took action and did something about it.” I spend a lot of time looking back, but this year, I’m just going to focus on moving forward and not focusing on the past. Focusing on the past won’t actually *change* the past, so what’s the point, other than to learn from it and move on, right?

  32. says

    I love the way you phrased that – stop rereading!!! I just finished writing that I want this year to be the year I live in the moment and don’t constantly look ahead (or behind)!

    Also, you will always be a Texas girl!!! I have lived in Kansas for over 13 years but I’m still from Texas – true Texas girl through and through!!!

  33. says

    One of my getting it back together plans is to read inspiring blogs again. Yours is definitely on my list and for very good reason. Great advice. You live by example. Moving ahead!

  34. deb roby says

    Here I admit, that though I’ve been healthy and healed for the better part of a year, I still look back to the time pre-any injury and compare.

    I still occasionally live the life of abused child – though that life was decades ago.

    I still let my past decide my present.

    Will enjoy watching your journey. Guide the way!

  35. deb roby says

    Also? THIS. This weather now? It’s as bad as it gets.

    Yes, you found it ideal THIS TIME OF YEAR in Austin – but THIS IS AS BAD AS IT GETS! It’s all looking from here (in a couple months…)

  36. says

    Happy New Years Miz! You’re going to love it there after a while. The ocean, the air, the people, the summers that aren’t 50000 degrees… you’re just really getting there at the worst time for an ATX girl.

  37. says

    I moved back and forth from TN>FL>CA 8 times before I figured this out.
    You’ll realize come spring that the bay area will get beautiful and you will appreciate it more than the winter blues.There is absolutely nothing wrong with having that Texas love, I still have TN love even though I’m in FL now – it makes the visits back just that much sweeter! Happy is what you make it. :)

  38. says

    I swear your posts always come at JUST THE RIGHT MOMENT for me! I tend to reread the past waaaay too often. I also try to write my future too much, which is what I REALLY need to work on in 2013.

  39. says

    Awesome post. It’s important that we look forward and not backward so I agree completely. In some movie, there was a quote I liked. I forgot exactly how it went but something like this “If you keep looking back as you’re moving foward, you will trip over something and it will stall you. Look in front of you as you move forward and your life will come with less unfortunate surprises” something like that :)

  40. says

    This is such a great post, Carla…and so timely with the New Year upon us already! Rereading can be good at times (I think of the need for me to look back and see God’s faithful hand at work in my life, especially on a tough day or when I’m doubting him) but you can’t move FORWARD if your eyes are only rereading…Such great thoughts. I tend to look a bit more forward, I think (or like to think?) but this is a great reminder for me to keep my eyes of the open sheet of the new year ahead of me and get to work creating! Cheers to a new life in the Bay Area with your fam! 😀

  41. says

    I needed to read this for myself. It’s a bit lonely after moving which immediately makes me long for things I *used to* have instead of focusing on what I have and could have in the future. I’m going to stop rereading and looking back too. Doing it.

    Hope everything is going well for you settling into the new place/area!

  42. says

    Cheers to moving forward and not looking to the past!!! We will join you!
    Happy new year eve!!! Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2013 and wishing all the best in your new life adventure! We are excited to be apart of it and follow you along!!
    Lori and Michelle

  43. says

    I remember after we had finalized our decision to leave Austin, I sat up in bed in the middle of the night one night and yelled “I don’t want to move!” (I was 30 at the time, not the 6 year old it sounds like I was). Change is hard, and Austin is a great place, but I have no doubt you will find wonderful new experiences in Oakland and will be able to look back fondly, rather than try to retreat :)

  44. addy says

    You will adjust to the new climate – both outdoors and indoors. You will find the new life – as you so profoundly pointed out it is in front of you. And buy a new coat or two. That adjustment may take some time.

  45. says

    I think I’m pretty good about not dwelling on the past…BUT I’m not too good with letting go of worry over the future. I know I get very caught up in trying to plan ahead and that’s not too good either.

  46. cheryl says

    wherever you go…there you are.
    you can make whatever life you choose, wherever you happen to land.
    truth. done it a few times and happy happy happy

  47. says


    Amanda at Run to the Finish did a post on picking the word that will represent 2013 for you. It resonated with me, and I picked the word “forward.” My mind is constantly stuck in the past, so for this year I’m only focusing on things that move me forward, not getting stuck in the past. So your post resonated with me also :)

    Good luck in the bay area! We are due east of you – if you head to tahoe and need a hiking or skiing buddy, feel free to email!

  48. says

    Wow! What an inspiring post! A good friend always told me, “You can have it all – just not at the same time!” This is especially true for women. I applaud your courage, Carla! Way to go!

  49. says

    Looking forward is the name of the game, so much TIME is wasted when we look back and live in the past. Why do that when everything is in front of you right here right now? I am so guilty of this, but I am joining you, no more re-reading for 2013! Happy New Year Miz!

  50. says

    Love the positive attitude – moving forward and thinking/facing forward has definitely been what I’ve been striving toward the past 2 years. I think I’m finally getting the hang of it!

    Welcome home & happy new year :)

  51. says

    I really like what you wrote about. My goal this year is to take charge of my life and no apologize for who I am and to stick up for myself more often. So reading this blog has help to inspire and motivate me. Thanks and Happy New Year!

  52. says

    Beautiful! I love the windshield and rear view mirror analogy. You have to acknowledge the past (you must use and look in your rear view mirror) but you can’t drive or get where you want looking into it the entire time. Happy New Year gorgeous! xoxo

  53. says

    Looking back has always made me feel grateful about what I have now – its true that we all look back now and again even if its just to remember where we came from …. if life is a book, we must be our own authors free to write our own story – love life and love the people most important to you in your life .

  54. says

    Focus on the windshield not the rearview mirror…..

    Just need to wipe off the occasional dead bug :p

    Happy New Year


  55. says

    I’ve spent lots of time looking in my rearview mirror….waiting for my past to catch up with me. But it’s easier to outrun the past when you can see where you are going.

    Happy New Year!

  56. says

    I’ve been afraid of rereading the past, but also afraid of the unknown of going forward. I’ve been stagnant in my fears, so for 2013 I’m going to believe in myself and tune out the noise!

    I really liked this post. Thank you!

  57. says

    you are so incredibly wise.

    the only thing I should be RE READING are your words like this. you have nailed it this time, lady. focus on the new, on the now!

  58. says

    Great quote! It’s hard not to reread, especially when there are big changes… (working on that myself at the moment…). I know you’ll do a great job starting the next chapter in the Bay Area!

    Wishing you health & happiness in 2013!

  59. says

    Very mature, and definitely the right thing to do. “Bloom where you’re planted” and all that jazz. But I get that it’s sometimes hard to do. We use to move around a lot. (My husband was in the army.) Some places just feel more “right” than others. But most eventually worked out alright, and all had something to teach me along the way. Leaving Austin would be tough. I love me some TX! (I went to Rice and have lived in several cities in TX.)Good luck settling in to Oakland!

  60. says

    Not sure how I missed this. I guess Google Reader is still good for something. I love this. I love you. You will grow to love your new home.

  61. says

    Welcome to the Bay Area! I know this place seems cold and unwelcoming at first, but you’ll find, as you move forward, that the people are great here.
    May this be a year of wonders for you!

  62. says

    Its something I always struggle with. I honestly think the hardest thing in life for anyone is to truly live in the moment and be present in the “now” without holding on to something in the past or worrying about something ahead. Thanks for being so honest on your blog because it would be easy enough to toot your own horn and play it off life you’ve managed to achieve peace in everything, but its a hard thing to do and I think everyone has to work at it!

  63. says

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say excellent blog!

  64. says

    ((hugs)) my friend. You are doing a hard thing and I admire your intentional and dedicated resiliency. We can’t always choose what happens to us but we can choose how we respond – thanks for setting a great example:)