Happy New Year’s Eve friends! I hope this evening finds you enjoying yourself, reflecting on your blessings and feeling optimistic about a new year…. heck a whole new decade!! We are at home still in recovery mode and taking it easy. Saying good bye to 2019 and welcoming 2020 tucked away in our little spot with the Christmas tree lit up and our pup snoring beside us – exactly what we wanted for tonight.
Over the past few weeks though I have been reflecting on 2019 and this little post of best moments, opportunities for improvement, and most surprising came to me as the best way to end this year on the blog.
Let’s start with areas that are an opportunity to change in 2020.
1 – Struggling with comparison. This is something that we all struggle with as humans and the development of social media has seemed to make it a little worse. For the most part I have always been aware of this danger and been able to keep it in check. Of course I would have moments of struggle or have to take a step away from certain scenarios, but for the most part I was able to cope. However 2019 was different. Maybe it was a result of the newly starting experience of pregnancy or those on the horizon like parenthood… maybe it was the fears that took over parts of our life like Danny’s health or the desire for change that lead to the unknown like job changes. No matter if it was just one or a little bit of everything, there is no doubt lots of areas where comparison could easily pop up and in 2019 I struggled, HARD. Often I had to actively work to stop the process and protect myself from this rabbit hole. 2020 will bring many changes where comparison will be tempting, so I am counting it as a good thing that I am going into this season with eyes wide open and the intuition to actively avoid the comparison game.
2 – Wishing away the time. During 2019 there where so many minutes, hours, and days that I wished away in hopes of getting to the time when I would learn the answer. Whether it was learning curves or growing pains with new roles, or Danny’s health or infertility – I often found myself saying “just get to the evening” or “only a little longer until the weekend” or “just two weeks and this whole waiting period will be over”. The reasons for the wishing made sense, but the truth is that is time that is still gone. Time, the most precious commodity and I was trying to rush it. Life will always have moments that feel uncomfortable or like something is missing or you are tangibly waiting for something – wouldn’t it be powerful if I learned to live in the present moment with those feelings? If I could understand they exist, but still find the really good or moments of gratitude that exist outside of the waiting and focus there? 2020 is likely to bring moments that will have me thinking “just get through” – but I am hoping that just maybe I can learn to accept them and find the good… instead of wishing them away.
3 – Have hope. My word for 2019 was hope and I am proud to say I carried that word and its meaning with me throughout the year. In fact I have distinct moments that I was at the brink of losing it as things were starting to not go as planned or get really hard and the tears were welling up – but instead I whispered my word “hope”, shook my head and stopped the tears. Pushed ahead knowing that hope meant trusting in the inevitable joy to come as long as you don’t give up. But this year has ended a little harder than we anticipated and I have to admit that hope has felt a little harder to find. So I am looking at 2020 as a true chance to remember what I have learned in finding hope and carrying it into 2020…. no matter what.
Alright – next let’s look at the things that have been most surprising for 2019.
1 – Pregnancy. It has been an incredible journey to parenthood and of course there were bound to be surprises along the way – and there were! But I have been truly shocked by how much of it I have wanted to keep private. For years we watched the sharing of growing families and talked about when it could be us and how we would share – yet when the time came I wanted to take it very slow. Perhaps the shock of it all, perhaps how delicate it has all felt, maybe the challenges of not feeling well – whatever the reason though I have been surprised by the desire to keep it to ourselves and maybe even enjoyed the secrecy a bit – a new thing for this typical oversharer.
2 – Extrovert has taken a vacation. Similar to the first surprising experience of 2019 is also this one in general. Yes, I have felt protective of our little growing poppy seed, but in general I have found 2019 to be a year that I preferred less sharing, less blogging, less connecting with the outside world and a little more quiet time at home, just being with my boys, or losing myself in reading or driving or just being quiet. I tried and true extrovert, I still find spending time with my people or public speaking or blogging as a source of energy and refreshment…. but 2019 also showed me the power in quiet time – alone or with just my little world – and I hope to cultivate more of it in 2020!
3 – We are a team. 2019 had a few surprises that reminded me of previous years challenges. Things that would lead us down paths of disagreement, struggles that could easily cause a divide, or situations that reminded Danny and I that often we approach things as opposites. Over the years the triggers have been there in different formats – health, schedules, finances, but always the same result- struggle and divide of our team. But not 2019, it was like we saw these issues coming from a distant and were committed to not giving in. We even found ourselves saying, this is where we can easily lose it and we just can’t – not now, we have worked too hard. In the moment I was often just proud of us and then moved forward. But looking at 2019 collectively I am actually a little surprised that we weathered so well… because these triggers that have been so hard in the past, hit us with a vengeance this year and yet we didn’t lose our partnership. It was shocking how many of these same things found a new way to attack in 2019…and yet they never really got anywhere in distracting us from each other… an even better surprise.
And finally the best parts of 2019.
1 – We are a team. Yes, this was a surprise while learning it, but it also was the greatest part of my 2019 -truly. This year brought incredible gifts, dreams, blessings and yet I can honestly say none of it would have meant a fraction as much without having Danny not just as my partner in working for them, navigating the experiences, and achieving these incredible highs – but as my life partner to truly share it. In this modern day in age it is so easy to let parenthood or careers or responsibilities come before your marriage. And yet it is the thing in my life that makes everything else possible. To not put Danny and our relationship first would be to rip the foundation out from under this whole life. This year the challenges of our world tried to undermine it….. but no luck. It was the best part of our year and an important reality as we start a new chapter – don’t let the good things temper with that foundation either.
2 – Our Baby Girl. Words can’t begin to describe the miracle that we will welcome in 2020, that required the journey of 2019 (and before) to get to this moment. It was not easy, but just as everyone said it would be – the timing, the experience, this little baby feels like the perfect match. There are so many specials details about our pregnancy, the sex, her name, her due date, our little family traditions already forming – there is a magic and beauty that is overwhelming and I can’t wait to both share and experience more.
3 – My new job. Last fall Danny and I were trying to seriously figure out our next step and had become pretty convinced they involved a move to Chicago. We had started to make plans, search for housing, and figure out the right timing….. especially for job hunting. Since this would involve a job change for us both, we were constantly talking about what we would look for, what we wanted, and the kind of roles we hoped to land. Often I found myself describing the new company I joined and the role I have now. In fact, one day while sitting at Hopkins (when the other factor that would influence our staying: Dan’s changing health was just starting) that I said to Danny working at this specific company would be a reason I would stay. Well a variety of reasons would come to be as to why we would stay….. but this job has been a really good one. I have worked hard, it has required a lot of change for both Danny and I, and it has pulled a lot of my focus from other aspects of life…. but it has been an incredible experience, huge blessing and I love it.
So there you have it friends …. 2019! Full of opportunities for growth, surprising changes, and beautiful blessings. So tonight we honor it, celebrate it and bid a farewell as we welcome 2020!
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!