I was planning to write about “relationship deal-breakers” when my editor suggested a New Year’s theme – perhaps a review of 2004 in “Melisa’s world.” That got me thinking  .… 

I’m amazed at the changes that have happened over the past year. Many of you know me through my columns, radio, or television. I try to be open and honest about the hurdles in my life, the mistakes I make (there are plenty) and the lessons I learn.

But this past year has been simply unbelievable. Twelve months ago, I was earning less than the national poverty income level, yet I was working 60 hours a week, going to graduate school and in love with a recent divorcee (that’s asking for heartbreak). I was also recovering from a year of health problems: tonsillitis, chronic fatigue, adult- onset acne, insomnia and finally Bell’s palsy. Somehow, I kept a smile on my face in front of others but often cried myself to sleep at night. I battled low self-esteem, depression and compulsive overeating.

I prayed for the compulsive behavior to leave me, and those prayers were answered with Bell’s palsy. (When half your face is paralyzed, you don’t feel like overeating.)

I discovered my worth without the physical body. I learned the number on the scale doesn’t determine my value, an issue many women face daily. Nor does the figure on my paycheck or what other people think of me have anything to do with my merit.

I slowly weaned off my “people-pleasing” patterns. I discovered meditation, the value of alone/self-nurturing time and getting enough sleep!

I learned about Eastern and holistic healing. I turned 31. I ended the relationship with the man I loved but I was tired of feeling drained and unfulfilled. I increased my yoga practices and spent a month in a yoga teacher training program. I began putting my attention on the love, prosperity and abundance around me, instead of what I thought I lacked.

I lost one job, only to be given the opportunity to pursue of my life’s dreams – to have a talk-radio program. But I quickly learned talk radio is not my passion. Almost instantaneously, I was offered an on-air news director position on a top morning show with some of the best guys in the business, The Wake-Up Crew on Hot 93.9.

I learned to love work again. I found a mentor that I was able to learn from and admire. My salary went up, slightly, but I finally made it over the poverty cutoff.

I began to sleep more. I began to get healthy. I focused on seeing the good in people and in all situations, even when they disappointed me or didn’t match my visions.

I read empowering books, envisioned spreading love, healing, harnessing positive energy and warding off negativity.

Things started to happen. I was asked to co-host 808 Golf TV, simply because I was at the right place at the right time and knew the right person. Coincidence, or fate?

A few months later, I was offered two more TV jobs. I met another man and fell in love again. My heart felt healed, complete and at peace. We got engaged with dreams of living happily ever after, but different life-paths forced us to take off the rose-colored glasses and look at life in “real” terms (something I have never done well). We called off the engagement.

Still, I am a dreamer. I choose to keep my head in the clouds and live in a world where anything is possible.

I don’t believe in “I can’t.” I don’t believe in limitations.

Now, I continue to write and continue to work on my craft – communicating. I continue on my spiritual quest for happiness and peace. I give back as often as possible (and you don’t need money to do that): a simple smile, a “thank you,” letting someone know you appreciate them, donating to charity or volunteering your time are all ways keep the cycle of abundance flowing. Try buying a hungry stranger a plate lunch, or secretly leaving a flower on a co-worker’s desk, and reap the benefits of feeling good.

Most important, I take time each day to be grateful for all the blessings in my life. The ups, the downs, the poor times, the prosperous times, falling in love and breaking up … these are all gifts, of being given the opportunity to learn a life-lesson.

I can hardly wait to see what happens in 2005! Happy New Year!

KHNL News 8’s evening newscaster Melisa Uchida is a Boston University graduate.