The Year That Shaped Me
Though it seems like I've been pretty silent over here, I’m still alive, and didn’t forget about this little blog that has a whopping 39 readers on average (bless each of you). I've been trying to find how to sum up my thoughts and share them in the right manner for a while, and now that a new year has started, I think I've found the best possible way to frame it all. This post is a lengthy one, so get comfortable and maybe grab some snacks.
When 2018 began, the predictions I had made for myself for the year ended up being just a small fraction of what actually happened.
What I assumed was coming:
I knew I’d be getting married and I had assumed there would be plenty of drama associated with that endeavor because it’s me. If you don’t know me well, let me just tell you right now that my 23 and Me results showed that I am 75% drama, 15% teen boy humor, 7% “too” sensitive, and 3% dry shampoo. Anyway, the second thing I expected this year was that I’d have a developmental shift at my full-time job. I told myself I’d work my ass off so that I would not leave the year occupying the same role at my work that I entered it with (and it happened, just days before I went on vacation for almost three weeks).
Now, for the unexpected:
1. I had no idea that in the midst of planning the happiest day of my life, I would first meet with some of the most trivial days of my life.
My relationships (a lot of them) were significantly challenged, and some felt like they were beaten into unrecognizable forms. It wasn’t anybody’s fault and everybody’s fault at the same time. The hall closet of everyone’s ghosts and fears, including my own, was full and the door could no longer stay shut. Friends and articles on HuffPost Weddings warned that this tends to happen during wedding planning (but like...why?). The storm rolled on, and skies grew darker with the passing of two of my grandmothers. They each went quickly, without enough time for anyone to process their departure from this life. Looking at the year from this lens, saying 2018 was rough almost sounds like a compliment.
However, the big wedding day came, and as everyone forecasted, it was perfect. My heart was full of love from those who had set aside their differences, those who I knew would have done anything to live a few more months to see me walk down the aisle, and those who came to celebrate the hopeful promise that love brings through marriage. Oh, and I married the best man on earth. Through all of the meltdowns, stress acne (ugh, more on this in another post soon), and other noise, he was there to do whatever I needed to feel safe and loved. There were a lot of foot rubs and trips to Sephora.
2. I started a business?
Every time I say this, I feel like it's coming from someone else's mouth, and I have to remind myself that I'm actually running this ship (which feels more like a stand-up paddleboard at this stage).
I never really saw myself taking on something like this, as I kind of enjoy the comfort of having a roadmap laid out for me. It wasn't until my friend called and told me she had started not one, but TWO businesses (I know, ring the badass alarm–hard). I had been doing makeup here and there for some extra cash, but it was mostly for fun, and I had such little free time due to my full-time job. When my friend explained that she was taking all this on, it truly inspired me to tell my fear to fuck off and dive in head first. In a similar light, the agency I work for had taken on a significant amount of brand strategy work during that time. It intrigued me, and I wanted to experiment with this on a personal level. A few weeks with minimal sleep went by, and there it was: Hustle and Glow Makeup, LLC.
I'm still figuring it all out, and I can declare with little hesitation that I have no idea what I'm doing a good chunk of the time, but I'm letting curiosity and the gift of failing better lead the way.
3. I created some distance to better my relationships.
This year for the holidays, my husband and I decided to break away from the traditional rush-around-and-try-to-please-everyone-while-exhausting-ourselves approach and instead, we spaced out our time with family and friends. This meant not seeing a significant portion of my family, who lives a couple of hours away on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
What I loved: not being stressed about leaving our animals, not feeling guilty for spending X amount of time with one parent and not the other, not driving on roads that are historically dangerous this time of year, and not feeling like this was our post-wedding debut to a large group of people (who we love). We also got to spend a lot more meaningful time with those that we chose to share time with, rather than everything feeling like a blur. This was accomplished by scheduling special days to see different members of our family.
What I didn't love: It turns out that a lot of the silly holiday traditions that I didn't think meant much to me in fact have a special place in my heart. I also knew that my family would probably be disappointed that I wasn't there, especially with the sense of loss from both sides due to the passing of my grandmothers. However, as I mentioned previously, I knew that my family relationships would benefit from quality time, rather than distracted, standard time. All-in-all, it was a great experiment to see how we might want to spend (or not spend) future holidays, and how the right balance could look.
I look back on the past year and all of the moments that felt like dead ends, as well as those that offered so much growth potential, and I am grateful for the way they all continue to shape me as 2019 arrives. I find myself apologizing less because I am learning how to express myself exactly how I intend to. I am becoming a better listener because I can now recognize how I haven’t always been successful in executing my intentions in the past. I am finding joy in living slowly because I saw how quickly life passes by, and I want to savor each moment as much as I can. The past year felt like a crash course on how to write the rest of my life, and I will always be so grateful for the treasures it brought, no matter the level of difficulty it was to dig them up.
A few treasures of 2018:
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