Best of 2018

It’s a new year and seriously, good riddance 2018! I am beyond glad to have the last year behind me, and have been contemplating goals are for the upcoming year and how I will achieve them. However, this morning I happened to hear people on the radio talking about their favorite memories of 2018. It really touched me because though I am ready for a fresh start, 2018 did, in fact, have quite a bit of great in it.

So, before 2018 is put to bed in my memories, I am spending time today focusing on some of the parts I very much enjoyed last year, or at the least can appreciate in hindsight. Here are the highlights:

My little one started Kindergarten. This was probably the biggest thing for me this year. I was an absolute nutcase to be around leading up to his first day. My baby was growing up. And also, no more paying for daycare. Win – Win. BUT, he was growing up and would be in school, and what if he didn’t like it, didn’t make friends, etc… Fast forward 6 months and he loves it and has tons of friends.

I stayed standing. Lots of pretty crappy stuff happened in the second half of my year. I’m going to say from July on the year got a big thumbs down from me. However, in previous years, when faced with similarly crappy stuff I crumpled. My axis tilted and it took a long time for things to get righted. This time, I didn’t crumple. I stayed standing. I’m reminded of the wonderful quote by Willa Cather: “People live through such pain only once. Pain comes again - but it finds a tougher surface.”

I cultivated my tribe. I have been VERY fortunate to find amazing people around me over the past several years. This year, I worked to make sure I didn’t just “find” them around me, I KEPT them around me because they are awesome and I would be lost without them.

I asked for help. This is another big one for me. I have always been a “I can just do it myself” type person. But the older I get, the more often I can see how this attitude regularly backfires. This year, I asked for help a lot. And, I accepted help when it was offered (see above, I’m surrounded by some awesome people!).

I was in a lot of pictures. When I was thin and in my 20s, I never shied away from being in pictures. As I am no longer thin or in my 20s, being in pictures is currently a real struggle. But I want to be able to look back on pictures that capture special life moments and actually see myself which means I need to be in the pictures.

With as much as I hated 2018, I actually have several more things that happened that were great, just not really of note. And while I fully expect I will continue thinking of 2018 mostly in terms of the aforementioned crap parts of the year, I guess there is something to be said for this type of year. Because it made me grow, whether I wanted to or not.

All Of The Things

December has brought a lot of clarity, mostly – and this is a shocker – because I’ve been doing some big time reflection. One of the biggest things that keeps coming to the surface is that I am real good at doing things half-assed. Let me frame that a little though, because while I’m doing things I don’t actually REALIZE that I am not giving 100%. And perhaps that’s the real revelation. The knowledge that I’ve been holding myself back purely by accident.

In 2017, I made my first vision board. It was epic. And I accomplished NOT ONE THING. 2018 was similar. Great stuff on the board, no significant progress made despite the fact I had fine-tuned my goals and plans to avoid another year like 2017. Both years the problem was not so much because the ideas were bad, but because I hadn’t picked things I was truly passionate about and believed I could accomplish. And once I made the board and my initial plan, I didn’t do all the things I needed to make it a reality. I only did some of the things.

There is a huge difference between some of the things and ALL of the things. Doing some of the things only gets you so far. Doing some of the things causes you to leave your comfort zone, but doing all of the things moves your comfort zones. Doing some of the things leaves a lingering sense of “could I have done more?” because YES, you totally could have. Doing all the things puts everything out there, and if things still don’t work out, then you weren’t meant to win this one, you were meant to learn from it.

 2019 is going to be my year for ALL of the things. I am making my vision board AND putting it in my face. I am making the plans AND scheduling regular intervals to adjust and course correct. I am admitting what I truly want AND doing everything to make it happen.

This year I am doing all the things and I hope you will too!

Have You Had Your Hugs Today?

My little one is at an age where he is starting to develop his own style of independence, and as a result some days are just one frustrating argument after another. I know that he is trying to make sense of his world and figure out where the boundaries are, but that unfortunately translates into him pushing all my buttons and I have to work really hard not to take it personally.

 One of the most successful strategies I’ve found to turn these kinds of days around for *both of us* is to ask “have you had enough hugs today?” Unfailingly, his answer is NO, he hasn’t had enough. So then we start a silly game of him telling me random numbers of how many hugs he needs, and then I give him lots and lots. Then when he has had his fill, he will ask me how many hugs I need. And I take as many as he will give me. And without fail, we both feel better and, like magic, our day is back on track.

 “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” – Virginia Satir

All you need to do is google “benefits of hugs” to find tons of articles and quite a bit of research that lists the many positive results that come from hugs. Before I had my son, there were many days, even weeks, that I never got a hug. I always just thought of myself as not a hugger. Now, that thought makes me sad. I know that he won’t always respond in the same way as he gets older. But I hope that in a small way, I’m helping him start him down the path of knowing that we, as people, are not as alone as we sometimes feel. That the people around us are our community and it is okay to ask for help or support. And that sometimes all you need to turn your day around is a great hug.

So… that happened

The end of 2018 is almost here and I am struggling to reflect on the previous year with any amount of grace. The year began with a sense that anything was possible. I was so excited for the opportunities the new year presented and I was pretty sure 2018 was going to be my best one yet. I enthusiastically made plans and set intentions and just KNEW that by the end of the year I would be over the moon with the progress I had made in every facet of my life. Now, it’s 12 months later and all I can do is shrug and say so… that happened.  

Pretty much nothing about 2018 went as expected. As I reflect on the year, I am clearly seeing that the year was just a bunch of things happening to me, many of which were completely unforeseen and definitely out of my control. This year has been a great big, 12 month long reminder that how we react to things shapes our lives just as much, if not more, than the situations in which we find ourselves.

My next year is starting with a lot of uncertainty and unknowns. But after all this practice in reacting to crappy situations, I feel I am in the right place to face that uncertainty head-on. And, in the spirit of not letting what is beyond my control derail the plans I’m putting into place, I am determined to MAKE 2019 the first of many great years.