If you have read my blog for any length of time, or even if you just know me in general, you probably know there are two things I don't much believe in: major regrets, and New Year's Resolutions. The first is because, quite simply, all of my decisions, both the good and the "how 'bout we not try that again", have lead me to where I am today. And overall, despite all my quirks, my struggles, and at least one or two pretty significant life disappointments, I'm pretty proud of who I am. If I were to know how my life would unfold (i.e. people ask me all the time if I'd have gotten married knowing I'd be divorced three years later), I wouldn't change it. To do so would discount the experiences, and the people, that those parts of my life included, and I refuse to do that. And New Year's resolutions? Well, quite frankly, isn't it better to create life goals, both big and small, and then actually make a plan - which includes things I can do this year, this month, and even this week - to help me get there? At the end of the day, where does "I'm going to lose 10 pounds" or "I'm going to spend less money" really get me, other than the extra expense of a gym membership or some financial self-help books, if I don't have a plan to go along with them?
So I thought that instead, I'd do a year in review. I think it's important to include big things and less seemingly momentous occasions (life is made up of little moments), lessons learned, and discoveries about myself and life. As usual, my messy brain is putting them in no particular order.
- I moved out of Philly after four years, and moved into a house (my first in seven years!) with my boyfriend, his son, and our two dogs. It's nice to be able to do home-y, family things, like have a real, full-sized Christmas tree!
- I started a permanent part-time position at CHF and remember once more what it's like to have a manager, coworkers, and a schedule that requires you to be at work at a certain time in clothing that doesn't include PJs. I realized how much I was missing the routine and camaraderie of this type of job. I have also realized strengths that I'd forgotten I have (turns out I'm a spreadsheet master and an eagle-eyed proofreader).
- We had a Northen family reunion in St. Simon's, Georgia, in which I got to spend a week with my parents, siblings, and all of the nieces and nephews. I have an incredibly close family, and this was one of the highlights of my year.
- I started re-learning how to snowboard, and as a result now actually enjoy the winter instead of just counting down the days until the ground thaws. It also afforded me some of the best times of the year with a good friend, and established some new traditions.
- Cinn turned 10. I hate that she's getting older, and it made me pretty sad, but she's still running around as much as she did as a pup... though she wasn't a very active pup either.
- My condition was more troubling than it has been in years, possibly ever. I felt like I cycled more frequently and more rapidly, and my social anxiety has gotten worse (I didn't really used to have social anxiety until the past few years). This made this year very tough for me, and most likely for those around me.
- I cried. A lot. Sometimes for no known reason, or at least no reason I knew consciously. The crying wasn't always because I was sad. Sometimes it was just a tension release, needed to un-muddle my head.
- I took a lot of time for self discovery. I needed it, and I think I'll continue to need it. I learned that I haven't been taking as good care of my mental health as I'd like to, and began to do so more. I learned that I need more time to myself than I used to, and that often that time involves reading or writing, as it lets me "escape" the mess of my brain for a while.
- Speaking of writing, I started writing my first novel. It's pretty exciting, as I've never written fiction much before and previously thought it something I wasn't much capable of, but it's coming along nicely (I think).
- I found some confidence in these last few months. I stopped letting other people's opinions of me dictate how I felt about myself. It's amazing what this will do, and it finally just clicked for me one day. I realized that our lives are dictated by our choices, and by nobody else's. We choose how to act, react, and respond, and once you actually "get" that, it's pretty empowering.
- I became a godmother. SO COOL.
- I turned 35. I was dreading it, for reasons that I wrote about here. It didn't hit as hard as I thought it would. Perhaps that's due to all of the mental preparation.