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.
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.