Thank you 2018…
Now, I have that Ariana Grande song stuck in my head.
Not, but really. Thank you 2018, you forced me to grow. You pulled the rug from underneath me, stripped me of my bearings, and then starred me down challenging me to get back up.
At the end of 2017, I was chewed out by a toxic client and blamed for ruining a project that was not my responsibility in the first place. I became the whipping boy, and I took the lashings on my already burned out nerves from having spent the year plannin my wedding. I went into 2018 a little broken and tired. But put one mangled foot in front of the other, and slowly by the end of February I was starting to feel a little stronger. I’d started school and was making progress towards getting my AA — the goal to get it finished by the end of the year. I had figured out how to navigate work better. My mental health was on an upswing.
Then at the end of March, my sister and I found out my Father was losing his living situation and we would have to find him a place to live. I have a strained and complicated relationship with my father filled with a pool of pain. I had created a very structured and simple box labeled Dad I could stuff all my feelings in and shoved it on a high shelf to collect dust. I would take it down twice a year for his birthday and Christmas, but most of the year – it was out of sight and out of mind. Then all of a sudden the box fell off the shelf, shattered, and the feelings started pouring out; anger, resentment, rage, frustration, sadness, regret, guilt. Like a poisonous gas, all these issues I thought I had figured out how to deal with was all of a sudden suffocating me.
We found a place for him to live. We figured out a way to make sure he had groceries. Now, I go to doctor appointments with him as he is addressing various health concerns he had neglected for over 10 years. We cleaned out storage units to free up his cash flow. My husband and I even drove to Pullyup, Washington to empty out a storage unit into a Uhaul truck and dump the items at a Goodwill.
The tears flowed like a broken faucet as I drove away from Washington with my father’s choice possessions packed in the back of the SUV we rented, feeling like my life was closing in on me. I wasn’t going to be able to finish school this year like planned. I had to take care of a person who had abandoned me. I felt stagnant in my career. My life had become a cage, and I felt trapped by my own choices.
Then in August, something changed. I shifted my perspective and realized that the cage had an open door. Yes, there were some truths about my life that I wouldn’t be able to change. But I wasn’t locked in, and I still could exercise my freedom if I chose. I felt stronger. I felt more empowered. I continued to work towards my degree and will be working on it in 2019 too. I’m not a zen master when it comes to my Dad, still working on it – but at least I’m working on it instead of ignoring it. And I finally had a few challenging and rewarding work projects this autumn.
But 2018 wasn’t done with me yet. Oh no, at the beginning of December I got strep throat 4 days before seeing my idol John Waters, forcing me to change a few travel plans last minute. Then last week my mother-in-law, who I adore and is one of the most unique loving one of kind people I’ve ever met, had a health scare. Plus the water heater is broken, a mild inconvenience.
So with 10 days away from 2019, I can say THANK YOU 2018! I’m not racing towards the change in the calendar. No, cause, you taught me that it’s not about what is going on around me, it’s about what goes on inside me.
When my husband and I were on operation clean out Washington Storage Unit, we were listening to the book, High Performance Habits, and one of the tasks was to choose 3 words to describe the person you want to be. I chose VIBRANT, PURPOSEFUL (aka INTENTIONAL), and GROUNDED. I visualized an old oak with its roots deep in the earth, standing strong in the storm.
I don’t know what next year has in store for me, nor do I really care. All I can do is put my all into today, right now. I have goals and aspirations. I’m excited to work towards them and give my actions more intention. But 2019 will roll out as it will, and all I can do is take what it throws at me with grit and grace.
I keep thinking of this saying, “When you make plans, God laughs.” As I look back on this year, I can find several pretty comedic moments; like the Uhaul not starting and acting like it had a dead battery after it was fully loaded and we had 45 minutes to drop everything off at Goodwill and a recycling center.
The power of laughter is right there with love. Laughter diffuses pain, fear, and anger. Laughter is everything. So the only thing I ask for this New Year is more laughs.
Wishing all those who check my corner of the internet an amazing holiday season and fun night ringing in 2019.
*affiliate link to the book we were listening to : https://amzn.to/2Sg9VBk *