The year 2012 kind of sucked. It was a year of overwork, anxiety through the roof, and penny-pinching. But then again, 2012 was great in that I came to some difficult truths (and finally accepted them), which puts me on a good road, I think. I also got to spend more time with my daughter than I'd spent during her first two years. That was the best part of it all.
Here are some reflections on how the past year has been for me. Questions are from Simple Mom.
1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
"Spending lots of quality time with my daughter" isn't really a "single" thing, but it was the best thing. I guess the single best thing would be that I wrote my first poem in many, many years back in October. And I've written quite a few since.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Our houses not selling. Not even coming close to selling. And arguing with Dan over what we should do about that.
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
While I didn't expect to have to quit my teaching job, it was definitely an unexpected joy to find myself with quiet time. After several weeks of panic attacks and nightmares, I finally started learning to relax again.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Anne getting sick a lot more then previously, since she stopped staying with a sitter and started going to daycare.
5. Pick three words to describe this past year.
Frustrating, stressed, lost.
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your year—don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you.
Distant, depressed, angry.
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their past year—again, without asking.
Stressful, overworked, stuck.
8. What was the best book you read this year?
Mary Oliver, A Poetry Handbook
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
My daughter and my husband.
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
I now feel like I have room to breathe. In January, I constantly felt like I was suffocating because I was so stressed.
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
I think I finally accepted that I was a mom. I finally got over the shock that came with having a baby. With that, I've become a much better, more open, more laid-back mom.
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
Not sure if this constitutes spiritual "growth," but I stopped trying to make church, Bible study, etc., work for me. As I look back, I wonder why I ever started trying to make it work again, back in 2003. I seem to have taken a decade to re-learn things about myself that I already knew.
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
Most of this year, I did not exercise and my diet consisted mostly of bagels and cream cheese, cookies, coffee, and Diet Coke. I rarely slept. I started doing ChaLEAN Extreme in the spring, and it transformed my body. I started drinking Shakeology during the summer, and it seriously curbed my cravings for sweets and gave me more energy. So I'm a lot healthier now than I was a year ago. I also have smokin' abs. :-)
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
My daughter and I became much closer. We became "mother and daughter"--to her, I think I am no longer the lady who drops her off at the babysitter every morning and picks her up every evening.
15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Professionally: My students!! I loved my students. (Most of them, anyway.) At home: Becoming an amateur homemaker.
16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Professionally: As with every job I've ever had, I got into a cycle of perfectionism-based overachieving. That led to lots of self-neglect, which led to some pretty serious health issues. I had to quit the job in order to get my life and my health back in order.
At home: Finding time for myself.
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Ha! Facebook, of course!
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Selfishly: For a couple of months after I stepped down from my teaching job, I followed a very strict schedule that called for three hours of creative writing every day. Those writing sessions--which mostly took place at local coffee shops--were so valuable to me.
As a mom: Taking advantage of the mild winter and spending an hour or more every day at the playground with my daughter. And on bad-weather days, going to the library.
19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
Even at 42, I still care far too much about what other people think. Not sure if (or how) I will ever shake that off. Lord knows I've tried.
20. Create a phrase or statement that describes this past year for you.
Two thousand twelve was intense and unbalanced. I love intensity and am allergic to balance, but I'd like to pursue a less intense, more balanced year in 2013. For my own sanity and for my family's sanity as well.