Well 2016 you have kicked my ass. Good riddance. Peace out. See ya. I’ve had enough.
This year was one of the most trivial years of my life and I’m ready to begin anew. From raising a wonderful little girl (who is about to enter the “two’s” and I’m a little nervous about it), to losing a job and being unemployed for the first time since I was 14, to getting our financials back on track and to reconnecting with my husband – I can’t explain the emotional journey this year has been. As the year closes I find myself writing this post to remain accountable for my actions and put to pen to paper (metaphorically of course) my hopes, dreams and goals for the up coming year.
My career took a bit of a hit in 2016. I was let go for the first time ever (the first time I was also used as a scapegoat as well) and subsequently unemployed for a couple of months for the first time since I was a teenager. The stress of this took a very intense toll on my marriage. Aside from the pressure I put on myself, there was pressure from my husband to continue to be a contributing partner in our life. I’m not sure of a middle class family that can survive on one income and we certainly couldn’t. When I finally landed my current job, it was a like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It was (and still is) a temporary position, but I’ve come to appreciate getting a foot in the door. I’ve learned to appreciate the fact that I was able to find a job in my field, at a decent wage less than 15 minutes from home. I’ve learned to appreciate a lot of this year that I took for granted once upon a time – my career being one of them. What came easily to me before was hard fought this time around, and I’m proud to know that everyday I go to work, give 100% and know that I am valued by my coworkers.
Our financial life also took a hit this year, with the position that I currently hold we took a pretty good hit in terms of pay. While that was an adjustment for sure, my husband and I finally decided that in order to gain control back we needed to rent out our basement and have my FIL move upstairs. A few things evolved from this. Probably the one thing that has had the most impact on our daily life is that there is another adult living in my space. Another adult that I have to account for in my daily routine. I can no longer walk around in a summer nightgown because it is inappropriate to wear in front of my FIL. I can’t ignore the bathrooms for that extra day/week(s) because now there is someone else using it. I’m not going to lie, it’s not my favourite situation. I tend to need some personal space, a little alone space where I can do whatever I want – without being asked what I’m doing or why I’m doing it. So why have we asked him to move upstairs? Well the answer is simple. It is necessary. For the immediate future, we need to rent out the basement to have the additional income. My FIL has always lived with us and it is a situation that will not change. Thus, there wasn’t another option. The upside? My BIL has moved into the basement. To some, this may seem like an invasion of in-laws, and they would be correct. It is. But my BIL is great and works the afternoon shift and we don’t seem him much anyway. It’s not the long term plan, but it is the right now plan that will help us get back on track. This year I’ve also learned to accept reality and make the hard decisions that are uncomfortable but necessary.
The one thing that was positive all year has been my kid. My daughter is the shining beacon of light in my life, the one thing that can anchor my soul, my emotions and my mood. She is hilarious, she knows my moods and is the very best thing I’ve ever done. People say to me, “just wait until she is a little bit older, you will know…..” – and I want to punch them. My kid is a great kid. I refuse to believe that all of a sudden she will turn into a monster child that is uncontrollable. My husband and I have raised her better than that, she is inherently a wonderful tiny human and I give the middle finger to anyone who challenges that.
The most stressful thing this year has been my lack of self care. By self care I mean taking care of my mental and emotional being. It’s been so stressful this year that I felt like bringing up anything mental or emotional was just adding fuel to the fire. So, like any other emotionally unstable person I kept everything inside. I thought I was dealing with it (by NOT dealing with it) and ended up just blowing up. I don’t blow up in terms of yelling and screaming, throwing things or running away. I cry. I can’t help it. It has become the only way any of my emotions seem to come out. These crying lags seem to come at the most inopportune times (early weekend mornings, late at night during the work week or when I’m actually at work) so I’ve tried just not to do it. Because of this lack of self care, I have a LOT of work to do this year. I have to work on making myself a priority in my daily life. Whether that means taking 15 or 30 minutes a day to myself to journal (a new habit I’m trying to start for 2017), or taking the dog for a walk to clear my head – it is something I have to do. My husband agrees that I need the time to breathe and is it’s a major part of my healing process. If he wasn’t understanding of the route to self appreciation that I’ve mapped out for myself, I wouldn’t be able to get better. Now some people who read this are going to think that I am weak and sad because I say that I need my husband’s support in order to have some self appreciation and self love. Well to those people I ask – have you ever been a people pleaser? Have you been that person that will do anything – or nothing, to make sure that everyone is getting along? That is me. I will hardly ever say anything when I am uncomfortable in a situation because I don’t want to offend anyone. I will likely remove myself instead of calling someone out. I will sweep my own feelings aside to make sure that everyone gets along and things look like they are fine. Well I’ve decided that 2017 is the year of me. It is the year of my family. My little three human, one dog and two cat family. I will no longer let people push me around, I will do what I want. My husband has been tremendous in helping me find a voice and find the confidence to make me and us a priority.
So to those of you making resolutions this year, I commend you. To those of you who are setting goals for 2017 -I’m giving you a virtual high five. To those of you who are scared of making a resolution or goal because you are scared of failing, I give you my understanding. Every year I’ve made resolutions, and I can’t remember a year that I kept up with the resolutions for the entirety of that year. You are not less because you made a resolution and were unable to keep up with it. You are human. Life happens. Things change. If you are true to yourself, the ups and downs will eventually become less severe and life will level out. I believe that we are a constant work in progress and unless you completely give up – there is always a way back. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other.
Happy New Year – Cheers to the best 2017 has to offer!