December 31, 2016

2016: Year End Review, Survey Style

I suppose 2016 will go down as the year in history that kicked all of our asses.  Didn't it though?  It just wouldn't stop.  I have yet to meet a person that was like, "Yea!  2016 was my jam!  It did me good!"  I wanted to write something poetic and full of deep reflection, but you know what?  I really just want to tell 2016 to f'*&% off and be done with it. Based on my use of profanity as of late, 2016 has made me into something of a potty mouth.  Regardless, I thought it would be fun though to take a look back at 2016 survey style as I close down ye old blog for the year.  After searching the interwebs about questions to encourage year-end reflections, I found several, some serious and some light-hearted, of things I most definitely want to remember about 2016, and some I also might want to forget.

What am I most proud of this year? 
My health and fitness.  Though I still have a ways to go, I have started and maintained new habits in regards to my eating and exercising that I have never kept up for as long as I've had.  It feels SO good to head into a new year with good habits already in motion so I have a place to keep building on rather than feeling like I have to start from scratch.  My weight loss and fitness goals feel attainable this year and I'm excited to keep pressing on.

Where am I feeling stuck?
My job/career/work.  I am good at my job as a bookkeeper, and it has proved to be a good income for my family.  But I also deeply long to have a job that needs some of my creative talents too.  This is a place I want to be open to taking some risks and thinking outside the box.

Where do I need to allow myself grace?
As a mother.  I am so hard on myself for all that I get wrong or mess up.  I worry about not being all that my boys need me to be and I feel like I'm failing them.

How did I spend my free time?
Netflix.  Way too much Netflix.  There might be a New Year's resolution in there somewhere.

When have I felt the most alive?
At the beach.
When I'm running (to be interpreted as a very slow jog).
During worship.

What is the hardest decision I made this year?
Leaving our church.  It was and remains to be the most gut-wrenching decision we've been faced with in the last several years.  Severed relationships and devastating wounds.  It has SUCKED.

What do I need to let go of? 
Trying to fit in places where I don't belong.

What old habits would I like to release?
Biting my nails.  Comparing myself to other people. 

What new habits would I like to cultivate?
Family devotions on a daily basis where we have a time focused on our faith and prayer.
Creating more time for reading and writing.
What were some of my favorite memories this year?
Getting to be a part of the IF:Gathering even though I was still sick.
My first date night with Todd when I was well again.   
Family karaoke day.
Being at the beach with Todd.
Poppy blowing out exploding candles on his birthday cake.
Christmas cookie decorating with my family.  

What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
My illness, surgery and recovery.

What was an unexpected joy this past year?
After being sick for so long and becoming well again, I have a new appreciation for the things that I am able to do like cooking, cleaning, and exercise.  Just being able to take care of my family and care for my home after not being able to for so long, has brought me so much joy.

What was an unexpected obstacle? 
A struggle with pain medications and alcohol that I never saw coming.  Very grateful for help and healing in this place the last couple of months.

Pick three words to describe this past year 
Expensive.  HARD.  Rewarding.

Who were your most valuable relationships with?
Todd, my boys, Sarah, Shelly.

What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Facebook, Pinterest and Netflix.  And being on my phone.  *sigh*

What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Playing with my boys, exercising, and having sex with my husband.

What new things did you discover about yourself?
That I can be disciplined, I can do and get through hard things, that I have an inner-athlete that's been trying to get out.  And that I'm not a republican.

What was the best news you received this year?
"Yes, you can eat now." (After months of living on a liquid diet).

What, or who, are you most thankful for?
My husband and boys, a handful of faithful and precious friends, God's unending grace, improved health, and having all I need and then some.  

What was the best movie you saw this year?
Captain America: Civil War.  I'm a superhero-loving geek at heart.

What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
That I seem so joyful and at peace.  And knowing that it was really true.

What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
Morning coffee, sitting around the dinner table with my little family, singing to Jacob before bedtime, building Legos with Tommy, Todd kissing my neck when I'm cooking in the kitchen.

Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
Other than undergo surgery?  No.  But, I do have a short bucket list of some things I would like to do and try next year. And skydiving is totally on that list....

What was your favorite moment spent with your friends?
Riding on giant stuffed animals in the mall with Tiffany and Canadia.

How did your overall outlook on life evolve?  
I think I could write an entire blog post just on this question.  I think my overall outlook on life changed and evolved in so many different places.  After my illness and recovery, I felt a deeper sense of gratitude to simply go about my every day life.  So many of us take our health and wellness for granted and that isn't something I want to lose sight of again.  After a tumultuous year politically and seeing so many tragic events occur in our nation and the world, I have been faced with overwhelming convictions of my role to bring peace and love and charity into the lives of others who are hurting.  I am beginning to change my passive stance to a more active one.

What advice would you give your early 2016 self if you could?
"It's gonna be a hell of a ride girl, hang on tight!"

What do you want the overarching theme for your 2017 to be?
Reach, strive and don't quit.   
Always be humble and kind.   
Be joy and peace and bring it to others.

What do you want your everyday life to be like?
Continue with healthy eating and exercise habits.
Lose my shit less with my boys.
Less Netflix and wasting time on my phone.
Being more present, even if it hurts to be.  

What are your hopes, dreams and goals for 2017?
Finish a half marathon, take a creative writing course, pay off some debt and save more money, throw myself a big birthday party, go skydiving, buy a sexy red dress, be more involved with my children in giving back to our community and those in need.

It really was a doozy of a year for me personally, but it was also a year of extreme growth and humility as a person, and for that, I am grateful.  Looking forward to a new year with fresh eyes, an encouraged heart and deeper resolve.  May 2017 be filled with an abundance of blessings and unending grace to get us through the hard times.

Happy New Year!

(Oh, and f*%& off 2016!!)                                 

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