I can’t believe 2019 is wrapping up. It has been SUCH an eventful year, it’s hard to even believe or remember where I was this time last year. If you’re curious, you can look back on these yearly wraps I’ve done before. Here is 2018, 2017, and 2016. Every year I answer the same questions – they’re more intense and complicated than the usual fluff you see in yearly wraps. They also help me take a real look at myself and the year that was before I prepare goals for the coming year and dive into all the things that await.
WHAT’S BEEN THE BEST AND WHY?
1. WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD IN TERMS OF WHAT YOU ACHIEVED, ACCOMPLISHED OR BROUGHT INTO BEING THIS YEAR – IN LIFE AND WORK?
In life, I’m really glad that I continued to foster really strong friendships. They’ve been so wonderful for us, adding to our quality of life and making me feel like we have roots here in Arizona.
I’m also super proud of the way I became more committed to taking care of myself. It shifted from meditation and exercise to pilates and now a gratitude group, but I’ve prioritized myself in a meaningful way this year. It’s something that I want to continue to do in the coming year.
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Yes, #iamwonderwoman! *** Amazing time at the Wonder Woman 5K. Seems fitting that this is the first race I do. Been a week of claiming my strength in all its forms, and this was a winning culmination of events. Felt super strong… almost want to wear this outfit every day. And even better to do such a fun event with such a great friend! ❤️
Work has been a HUGE transformation for me this year. I went from being a freelance writer to a content strategist at an exciting company, with a brief stint at a PR company in the middle. I’ve gone from working from home to working out of the house, and all the changes that brings. It was really hard and really rewarding.
2. WHAT DID THESE ACHIEVEMENTS OR ACTIONS, IN TURN, MAKE POSSIBLE – FOR YOU, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR ORGANIZATION, YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION, AND YOUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING, FOR OTHERS? WHY DID THEY MATTER SO MUCH TO YOU?
I think it’s clear about the strong friendships and how that has made life better for my family. It’s amazing to have people to invite over for dinner, or where I can go for drinks. I love seeing Harley play with the other kids, and grow up with them. And generally, my personal well-being is so much improved by having women friends I can talk to about all the things – Yes, Dean and I are still super solid and I’m madly in love with him, but there are some things that are best discussed with a group of friends.
As for the work, it has dramatically improved our financial situation. Mainly, unlike when I was working freelance, I know a paycheck is coming at regular intervals. It has made budgeting so much easier and better and taken a ton of financial stress away.
3. WHAT MAKES YOUR HEART WARM JUST TO THINK ABOUT IT TODAY?
This is tricky, not because of a lack of moments but because of how many there were this year. I loved the way Harley and Dean bonded so much this year and all the silly stuff that they get up to together now. I loved that Harley remembered that my mom was sleeping over before Mother’s Day, and proceeded to wake her up in the morning so that they could hang out. I have so many precious moments of snuggling with Harley, playing with her, etc that make my heart warm.
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Last bedtime with this little three-year old, and she did NOT want to close her eyes. When she opens them again, she will be FOUR! *** I can’t believe she is turning four tomorrow. The days are slow but the years are ridiculously fast. She is growing up to be such an incredible, confident, terrifyingly-beautiful human. I love her kindness, generosity, and absurdly large vocabulary. I’m proud of how confident she is in what she does and doesn’t want, even if it means that surviving the next 10-15 years will be a real challenge. 😜I said I wanted to raise a strong-willed kid, it just means that my coffee, booze, and resilience needs to be even stronger. *** Unrelated note: Harley asked for a party in the park with no theme but all her friends. Seemed like an easy, great idea. So why have I spent so much time stressing and organizing “easy” snacks, cupcakes, goody bags, etc?! 😭😱
I’m also so happy when I think about all the amazing ways that Dean and I have connected this year. In some ways, it has felt like I got my husband back this year. Not to say that he was gone, but we have reconnected this year in a meaningful way, sharing more and savoring each other more. My heart is so happy thinking about how supportive he was and is, particularly now that I work out of the home. He stepped up as the ultimate house spouse and continues to amaze me with all that he does.
Plus there are all the moments that I shared with friends. Birthday parties and playdates and events where we got to hang out while the kids played. Happy hours and morning mimosas and coffee dates. So many wonderful times with the people who fill my life with even more joy and connection. Not to forget the people I’m still so close to even though there are vast distances between us – those who I message, call, or chat with. We know each other so very well and love each other profoundly.
Also, a special shout out to my mom. When I lived in South Africa, we would often talk about things that we would do if we ever lived on the same continent again. Some of those haven’t been good ideas, like bringing each other soup when the other one is sick. But a lot of them we’ve gotten to do, like celebrating birthdays, going shopping together, and meeting for coffee, pie, or sushi. After so many years of living so far away, it feels like a gift that we get to enjoy the little things together.
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Today was “drop everything and read” day at Harley’s school. After reading, we went with friends for lunch and some play time. You know, like all the good moms and daughters do. 😜 *** I really did get lucky with this kid. She drives me crazy, and has started doing this whining thing that could make me an alcoholic at this rate. But truly, she is kind and funny and social and way too smart. I just have to remind myself she’s only 3 – the irrationality and incessant talking are totally age appropriate, albeit exhausting.
WHAT’S BEEN THE HARDEST?
4. WHAT EVENT OR EXPERIENCE REPRESENTED THE “WORST” OF THE YEAR, AND WHY EXACTLY?
I think the hardest thing was working in a job that wasn’t a fit for me. It made me question my capabilities across a broad spectrum. I wondered if I was capable of excelling in a job out of the home. I wondered if I was still as talented as I thought I was. I wondered if I’d ever find another job that I liked. Plus, it took so many hours out of the day, I felt like I was missing out on all the other things that I wanted to focus on.
5. WHAT ACTION(S) DID YOU TAKE THAT YOU WANT TO ERADICATE FROM YOUR BEHAVIOR FOREVER?
I want to make sure that I always believe in myself. That I never forget who I am, or dim my inherent light. If I’m not the right fit for some people, that’s okay, but it means I need to find my right fit, not force myself to change into someone else.
6. WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL ASHAMED AND “LESS THAN,” OR EVEN TOXIC TO OTHERS?
I don’t believe that I was toxic or shameful in my interactions with anyone this year. I was authentic and honest, and I’m happy about that. While I think that I could have been “more than” in some situations, I have been purposely aware of not falling into the trap of seeing myself as “less than”.
7. WHAT BRINGS TEARS OF UNHAPPINESS AND FEELINGS OF SHAME WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT?
No shame, but definitely some unhappiness and stress. This has been a year to deal with some separation and estrangement. I think Dean and I have made the right decision, but it’s still hard to grapple with some stuff from the past. I know I’m being super cryptic here, and I’m sorry for that, but suffice it to say that we are protecting our kid and ourselves, which isn’t always easy, even when it’s right.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCENTUATE AND AMPLIFY IN YOUR LIFE NEXT YEAR?
8. WHAT OUTCOMES OR ACHIEVEMENTS DO YOU WANT TO BUILD ON NEXT YEAR?
I would like to continue to connect in the ways that bring me joy and community. With friends, with family, I want to continue to move in positive directions with the wonderful people in my life.
I would also like to build upon the work success I’ve found thus far. I think my job is a great fit for me, with plenty of opportunities and growth. I’d like to expand on my role and continue to learn and develop.
I’d also like to amplify my self-love and self-care, particularly in ways that involve connecting with others. I LOVE my pilates studio, and I want to continue going 5x per week, if not 6x per week. I’d like to add in a hike over the weekend every few weeks, weather permitting. I still haven’t tried doing one, and I think it could be a really fun thing to do with Dean and Harley, plus with another family that we’re friends with. I plan to continue taking care of myself and perhaps add massages to the monthly upkeep.
9. WHAT PARTS OF YOURSELF DO YOU WISH TO EXPAND AND STRENGTHEN, AND LET OUT IN THE WORLD?
I’d like to expand in my career. Now that I’m working in an office environment, I suppose that means climbing the corporate ladder and all that. But I think it’s more about learning and growing for me, building upon the knowledge I have in the world of content marketing, and taking it to the next level.
I’d also like to travel again for work. I went to Vegas for a few days for a convention, and it was exhausting but wonderful. Dean and Harley did really well at home, and I had an amazing time being away – and then a fantastic reunion with them upon my return. I’d love to embrace that side of myself again – the woman who exists in the world without her family, while still being connected with them. The woman who can own her professional experience and put herself out there in a big way.
At the same time, I’d also like to grow my rediscovery of myself. I’ve been so happy to become a person who exercises 5-6 times per week again. Of course, I’m still a very alternative, geeky person, even as I embrace athleticism and professional work. I’d like to explore those things that bring me joy and gratitude and continue to grow those parts of myself that are uniquely me.
10. WHAT ROLE MODELS AND SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE DO YOU WANT TO CONNECT WITH MORE DEEPLY?
I have a new boss at work, and I think she’s super smart and experienced. There’s a lot that I think I can learn from her, so I’d like to connect with her as my boss, role model, and support.
I’d also like to continue to connect with gratitude role models. Since recording something I’m grateful for every day, I’ve realized just how much I have in life to be grateful for. Like, I literally had to buy a bigger calendar so that I could record more things. Also, apparently, I’m more food-driven than I realized – I am SUPER grateful for awesome food/drink almost every day. Still, I’d like to connect with those role models who help me to see how good my life is right now, even as I strive for more.
And that’s a wrap! 2019 has been a year of tremendous change. It wasn’t always easy, but it was a really important year for me. I’m excited to see what 2020 holds.