Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Really Honest Look at 2013

2013 is not going to make my top 10 life list anytime soon. In fact, it probably won't even make the Top 25 and I'm only 29 years old. The goal with this post is not to gain sympathy or whine about how awful my life is, but I want to reflect on a year that leaves me discouraged and frustrated and remind myself of the good. And hopefully, see what I can do differently in 2014.

The year didn't start off great. My grandpa passed away early in the year. It was hard to lose him, but even harder to see my dad go through losing his dad. I also developed psoriasis on my scalp early in the year, which is sometimes painful, always itchy and makes it nearly impossible to wear dark colours. I've seen the dermatologist several times and have gone through a number of treatments. At this point, it's better than it was, but still not gone.

One positive did come from sadness - my grandpa left me a bit of money in his will, so AJ and I decided to take a vacation we've been dreaming about for years. We spent most of the rest of the first half of 2013 planning our California road trip.

We took the trip in June. Two weeks child-free, driving around that beautiful state and checking a ton of things off our bucket lists. You can read about the trip here. It was amazing and refreshing and so good for us as a couple. It was absolutely the highlight of the year.

About a month after we got back from the trip, we found out I was pregnant with our second child! The timing wasn't quite in my master plan, but we were both so excited to give Kai a sibling. Like last time, we decided to keep it secret until 12 weeks, telling only a 1 or 2 close friends because we (ok I) couldn't contain our excitement. At the 11 week mark, I knew something was wrong. There was some bleeding and I felt really off. A friend who already knew about the pregnancy came to our rescue and watched Kai while we went to the hospital. Things progressed quickly, and not in a good way. And as you can guess, since I'm not currently 6 months pregnant, I had a miscarriage.

This has been one of the hardest things I've ever been through. When you find out you're pregnant, your whole world changes. And suddenly, it was all changing back. AJ was wonderful and strong and having a healthy son at home certainly helped, but, honestly, I'm still not over it. And it hasn't helped that everyone I know (not quite literally, but almost) is pregnant. I really believe that God works out all things for good and through this I have learned how great a husband and friend I have. We're praying that 2014 will be the year Kai gets a brother or sister.

At work, it's been a good year. I got a promotion and new job title earlier in the year. More responsibility and a new boss and I started really getting to use my marketing skills and knowledge, not just writing, which was exciting. When my boss left on maternity leave, things got a bit sketchy. My new boss was the VP and it took some time to get used to working for him. Plus, I hadn't really gotten to know the department well enough to run it on my own. For about a month, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. But slowly, I figured out the job and figured out my new boss and I really think I've become an asset to the team. It feels good.

Aside from Kyler, 2013 has not been a year of health. My skin issues continue, but AJ also is working on overcoming some back problems and then there's the dog. Oh the dog. She had a herniated disc in August, which resulted in about 6 weeks of expensive drugs that paralyzed her from the waist down, making walking and going the bathroom outside impossible. The walking has gotten better, the using the bathroom hasn't and we are overwhelmed with frustration and unsure what to do with her. I don't know how this will be resolved, but something needs to happen soon.

When AJ and I moved to Angus, we chose this town so that AJ could get on the volunteer fire department. In the fall of this year, we found out that they are not planning on hiring anyone for at least 3 more years. It's nice of them to tell us now, after 3 years of AJ visiting the hall every month. So we had to step back and decide if this was something worth pursuing. We decided it is and we need to go all in. So we organized the house and put it up for sale, with nowhere to go. It sold in less than 12 hours. This is a huge blessing, especially since we didn't expect anything to happen so close to Christmas. At the same time, AJ had interviews with Innisfil to get on as a volunteer there. We still don't know the result of that interview, but we've taken the step of faith and are moving in February no matter what.

I had big plans, like most people do, to get in shape in 2013. I started running in the spring and did well on again and off again. After the miscarriage, it was off again and hasn't returned. This is something I can control (thank goodness!). I'm not setting a weight loss goal or anything like that, but I'm really trying to get my head around the fact that being healthier isn't optional - it's necessary - for my energy levels, my mood, my ability to play with my kid. I think if I can change my mindset, I'll feel less guilty and apathetic. That's the plan anyway.

There was another health scare right before Christmas too, that I won't go into detail about, but I heard back from the doctor on Christmas Eve (bless him for not making me wait through Christmas), and everything is fine, so I can put that behind me at least.

I have most definitely not been at my happiest in 2013. Truly, we've had some struggles that were out of our control, but, looking back, I think the biggest thing for me to make 2014 better is a change in mindset. I've let things bother me too much, ruin my plans, justify zoning out on the couch. Whatever happens with houses, jobs, kids, I'd really like to make 2014 the year that I find joy. I'll be 30 this year and that scares me a bit, but I think it could also be really good.

I'm saying goodbye to 2013 feeling low. But I think I can do better.


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