Goodbye, 2019

I like to do a little end of the year housekeeping and sort through the last 12 months — and damn, what a year. I can’t say I’ve been too impressed with 2019, but to be fair, I’ve never had a year so good that I wanted a repeat. I like moving forward.

My word this year was peace (um, anyone else pick a word to guide them through the year?) and I’m 98 percent certain that will be my word again in 2020. It’s been my word for like three years running and, as I was explaining to my dear friend Shannon the other day, I choose it because that is the goal, not because I am peaceful. I rarely feel at peace, although I do often feel content and maybe that’s the same thing, now that I think about it.

I use my word daily and, as I’ve shared before, there have been times I’ve had to scream I CHOOSE PEACE because it is not something that comes naturally to me. I also write it in my journal every week, no joke. The word helps me remember that I crave calm and that I don’t need to judge. To care for my inside and my outside. To look at the light instead of the dark.

I know. That’s a lot for one word to hold.

It came in handy on deadline days when chaos reigned (“Not my circus, not my monkeys. Oh wait, yes it is. Shit. I CHOOSE PEACE”). It was what saved me when my father-in-law spent four days in ICU before passing away from a traumatic brain injury. It’s what reminds me that I need to stop and breathe.

I’m a big fan. And I’d love to hear your word for the year and/or plans for next year’s word in the comments.


In 2019, I had to embrace change because I had no choice. And let me tell you, I despise change. Give me routine any ol’ day. But by keeping an open mind — well, really just trying to be open to the gifts and lessons of each day — I managed to have a lovely time on our trip to Canada (HERE) as well as to whatever life happens to throw me on any particular day. That’s not easy for my brain. I am terribly proud of the progress I’ve made since making this a priority (HERE).

I let go of my own crushing expectations of myself (HERE) and a lot of people — we had four deaths this year (my beloved Aunt Jan, Don, and family friends Celia and Patty). And for some reason, I let go of my walk break at work. I need to bring that back because I feel so much better when I walk. And take a break.

I’m grateful, however, for so much: My little family and the time we spend together, friends who rally when the chips are down and getting to see my Grandma so often now that she’s moved to town all come to mind. That we get to be a year older. That we haven’t gotten nuked yet.


It’s always easier for me to think of the year’s challenges than it is accomplishments, but here we go.

Challenges first:

The experience of days in the ICU with my father-in-law, knowing that chances were very good he would never wake up, was the biggest challenge this year (HERE). Being in that GD waiting room. And then just the aftermath of his death. What a huge hole. I still expect to see him around and it’s always a shock to realize, again, that he’s gone.

I never want to see another ICU.

Deadlines have been particularly challenging at work this year; we’ve had staff turnover, which means more on everyone’s plate, and getting the paper out on time has been more miss than hit because of various personalities and/or the realities of print.

Perimenopause — I don’t even know where to begin with this one. It affects my guts. It affects my mental stability. I never know what will happen from month to month — will I have two periods or will I have zero? Who knows!


Um … well, I did win a newspaper award (second place) for my work. That was kind of nice, even though my brain is all like, Eh, second. And I managed to get myself a raise. I still make a poverty wage but I feel less ripped off.

I nailed our Canada trip! Which I am very proud of because I am not a good traveler. I also nailed July, with all my self-care appointments (HERE). I felt awesome that month and I’m sure it was because I was taking such good care of myself.

I don’t know if this is really an accomplishment, but I got my ears pierced and now I get to wear fun earrings and feel punk. And I feel like I have some new tools to work with: Breath exercises, stopping negative spirals (HERE) and a restarted morning routine that keeps me grounded (HERE).

Well, goodbye 2019. And see you next year, internet friends.

9 thoughts on “Goodbye, 2019

  1. Chris N says:

    It seems like you had a pretty good year except for the ICU. I would love to never see another chemo room but that’s just wishful thinking. I like your word for the year’ peace’. And let’s hope there is a new president( please, please, please !!!!!) I’m not sure I would ever feel happy about anything ever again if Trump is reelected:(


  2. Roberta says:

    I like the idea of a “word of the year,” but I often forget that sort of thing, then feel badly about forgetting. It sounds sort of self-limiting when I write it down. I instead seem to focus on a dream to work toward (right now I’m working to pay off the house early so we can retire early and travel) and that gives me a lot of motivation. And something to daydream about.

    Congrats on the raise! Somehow, I missed that the first time. It’s good to be noticed and appreciated (an, you know, money is helpful).

    Again, I am so sorry about your father-in-law. I’m sure you’ve been told before, but the first year is the hardest. After the first year, you are less likely to expect the same routine as before, and you’ve established an new pattern. You’ll still miss him, but it is …less of a surprise when he’s not there.


    • Trisha Walker says:

      I’m pretty sure I didn’t blog about the raise — it came from a dark place, i.e. realizing a male coworker with A LOT less experience than me was making 75 cents more an hour. I hate confrontation, but the injustice of the thing was too much so I spoke up.

      And thanks — grief is just its own beast. All you can do is put in the time.


      • Roberta says:

        I don’t know about Oregon, but I had a friend who was in a similar situation, and she also got back-pay for the discrepancy.

        I’m proud of you for calling out the company for the pay difference. It’s hard, but they really need to be called to account!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. sarahn says:

    I spent the past few slow days at work, reviewing all sorts of things. I can’t chalk this year up to ‘awesome’, though I think others might – I changed careers! I had 5 weeks in Europe! I had a six month period not working, between jobs! But for me, I didn’t get closer to mortgage payoff, which seems like a fixed point of perfection (even though I KNOW it’s not). I didn’t find a romantic partner (I dated heaps, I feel for a few, one definitely broke my heart, others it was clearer it wasn’t working for me).

    Your blog post made me think – maybe 2020, I will revive my monthly review posts – if nothing else, to keep me better across what I did in a month, and then in a year…

    Congrats on the newspaper award!!


    • Trisha Walker says:

      You know, it’s interesting how we classify our years — I’m not so sure it’s really about successes and failures and the like as it is just the feel of the thing. Highlights do not a year make. (Or whatever, LOL.)


  4. Jen says:

    I decided a couple of days ago to jump on the word of the year bandwagon. I chose “Roots.”

    We had a tumultuous year: survived our first year without my in-laws (both passed away from cancer last year), sold our home, sent our oldest off to college, cut off a toxic relative, and moved into a small apartment across the state so I could finish my environmental science degree at the ripe old age of 43. Lots of good, lots of scary, and some bad all mixed into one. I’ve always been a wanderer, running from my own anxiety issues probably. This time I feel like we are in the right place. It’s time to set down roots, become part of my community, learn the flora and fauna of the oceans and mountains around me. It’s gonna be terrifying and I may need to restart therapy for my anxiety, but it’s time to dig my toes in and find a sense of place. Setting down roots sometimes means doing things that are uncomfortable and scary!


    • Trisha Walker says:

      Oh, I really love this — not the tumultuous year part but the roots part. It is kind of terrifying when you confront all the things you’ve been avoiding. Anxiety is a crazy beast. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be anxiety-free, and the sad part is I can’t even imagine. Sort of like I can’t imagine not having food allergies. Sounds like you’ve got some strategies for coping. Mine involve journaling and regular acupuncture and reflexology appointments.

      Environmental science! That is totally awesome. I have dearly loved my 40s — I feel like shit is finally getting done now. Good for you! And I want updates on how it’s going. 🙂


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