Each year I have written a short post looking back on the current year before it ends and a second post where I look at the next year and list out some things I want (or don’t want) to happen. Not this year. This year, I am writing a double post. Largely because 2016 has been a most peculiar year and 2017 looks to be the same. I am not sure if I am looking forward to 2017 yet but I am sure not ready to hang on to 2016. And yet, as I make the list of things from this year – maybe it was not all bad…
Physically, 2016 has been marked by a general lack of wellness. I was in pain each and every day. Physical pain. And while it took me too long, I am finally ready to make it stop. They say start were you are. I feel like I have been stuck at the start for a long time. Ready but not committed. Trying but only half way. Seeing the needed steps but feeling helpless to actually do them. Afraid to fail, so never starting fully.
That time is over.
I am letting go in order to feel better. I feel like I don’t really have a choice. I feel like every year I say I am going to be better. I even have this very conversation where I talk about how I was going to do that last year but didn’t and now I am. I can’t describe it, but something has changed. A level of desperation has been reached and I literally can’t live like this any more. So whatever it takes. Things have to change.
Emotionally, I have been all over the map. I had a few YES! moments and a few OMG! moments. But mostly there has been a general sense of blahness. That is not good. There are things that need to be resolved and some of them I have no control over But I want to work on the ones I can.
Work was good in 2016. I feel like it was a breakthrough year for me. I have a lot to live up to in 2017 and a lot of things I want to accomplish. And I have big shoes to fill with the my client. I am really looking forward to it all. (Remind me of this when I am bogged down in the mire)
Relationships in 2016 have been good.. Things with J are as good as ever, but I am always looking to make it better. He and I both have a lot of growing to do and we are committed to doing so together. It will be a tough year in 2017 – change is never easy and some of the changes needed will be the toughest we have each faced, but together we can be stronger and better when we get ready to enter 2018.
My sister and her family moved back to Virginia and while I realize that not everyone was happy about it in their little family unit, it has been such a joy to have them back local. And I know my mom has LOVED having the grandkids (and Heather and Jeff) so close again. They are becoming such great little humans. They are learning to be better each day (and that is such a testament to Heather and Jeff’s commitment to raising them correctly).
I feel like connections were made at church this year that helped it feel like home. Whether it was hosting our first movie night (more of these in 2017 please), game night (so much fun), craft days (my personal favorite) or the summer Bible Study we did (Angie Smith’s Seamless) I have come to love my SS class as much as I possibly could. We are all so different, but I feel like part of the group in a way that has been missing for some time.
I was able to reconnect with some old friends – Ranessa, Janna, Cari – and strengthen a few newer ones. I didn’t get to talk to some people as much as I have in the past – Matthew, I still owe you a phone call – but I did get to have a very special meeting with 2 of my all time favorite people at the same time (we are so hard to corral these days).
I got crafty at the end of the year. Too late it turns out to be useful, but it has re-sparked some interest in me. I am letting go however of the “should” attitude. I plan on crafting as I want to – not just doing what I used to do just because. I want to create – not feel guilty about what I am not doing.
I found SnapChat this year – I am not sure that anyone is really impressed with this as I am so behind the eight ball, but it did something that nothing or no one has ever been able to make me do before – I took pictures of me. It seems so small, but there is a reason that my Facebook profile pic is usually a bulldog. I hate being in pics. But having let go of my “I hate having my picture taking stance,” SnapChat has opened up a while new world. In fact, my plan is to start printing some of those pictures and using them to decorate a small book.
And then there was the election.
Much has been written about the political impact of a new president. Some are truly fearful as rights they had obtained may be in jeopardy under a new regime. Some are hailing this as the start of getting things back to the way they “should be”. Some are just watching and seeing how this all goes. I fall in the latter category.
I am part of an traditionally protected class – I am white, middle class, and straight. However, I am a woman and if the election season showed anything to women like me it is that we have not gained as much as we think we have. There are still a great deal of men who see us as either a weaker sex that needs saving or a plaything for their own pleasure. There are still men who do not see us as people. We are not entitled to our own opinions, feelings, ideas or desires. We are to be used as they see fit. We are only defined by what they deem important. We are second class citizens in their world.
Please understand, I don’t have nearly as much to lose as others I know. I fully recognize that and I don’t wish that on anyone. To feel like you are finally making progress and in one election season, to have the hatred and scorn of so many focused on you – and then to realize that the hatred won and you may lose all you gained. I can’t imagine the sorrow and pain that causes. Whether it be about your race, your religious background, your ethnic heritage, or your sexual orientation, no one should be subjected to the kind of rhetoric that incites people to hate. And we have been given a triple dose this year.
I am watching this coming year with a skeptical side eye. Its the first time I can remember feeling this way about a new year. Hope is a little strong right now, but God is on my side. I have nothing to fear. I know who I am, because I know who He is. My faith is stronger than ever and I can’t wait to see what God can do this year. And I am open to how He may want to use me.