Well friends, it’s about that time of year again. The time when we reflect on 2017 and analyze how well or bad it treated us. In some instances, this also means it’s time to reflect on how well or bad we treated it.
As I sit here in my office and take a look around, I’m realizing that 2017 didn’t suck as bad as I thought it was going to. One of my unspoken goals for this year was to find the happy in things. I didn’t really share it or speak it because I knew it had to come from within myself.
That became a true test when I found out I was in heart failure and Afib. It became even more of a test when I feared our landlord was selling the house we renting out from under us (he was). It was also Afib that put a few things in perspective for me. I’m telling ya, a jolt to the heart can really reset your perspective on things.
I learned to let go of the things I couldn’t control.
I won’t lie, that is a daily struggle for me. Every. Damn. Day. I’m not a control freak but I like to know what’s going on; if I were a superhero I’d want my super power to be to see into the future or what others are thinking.
I started planting roots
Believe me, no one was as surprised as me when we bought a home here. Sometimes I still wake up in the morning and ask myself if this is my home. And every morning I answer yes.
There have been moments when a twinge of sadness seeps in. I let sadness speak her piece, feel it with my whole heart and then send her on her way.
The only trouble I’ve found with planting these roots is that I have no idea what it will grow into. I suppose that will depend on how I tend to it. If we’re being honest, I don’t have the best green thumb. But so far I’ve given it love and space and as much sunshine as Alaska allows.
I forced myself to detach from the things that stressed me.
I quit my job at the paper because I knew that I wasn’t ready to return to work. I knew that even though my boss had “retired”, it wouldn’t change the job itself and THAT was really the problem.
- Detaching from the stress even included detaching from social media. I’ve been working in digital media in one form or another since 2000 and even on the best days, it can drain you. Sometimes, it feels like it’s sucking your soul right out of you.
- I had to unfollow some friends for awhile. I needed a detox from their social interactions. Things that brought me great joy about them also stressed me to no end. I couldn’t simply scream, “stop posting that!” because the posted things I couldn’t control.
- I walked away from hot button topics too. This basically meant ALL POLITICS. Look, I know we have an giant Orange Baboon in the Oval for the foreseeable future and I’m as upset, maybe even more so than many people I know. I didn’t take my fight or outrage to social media because that’s not something I wanted to shove at other people. I made a very conscious decision to keep my social networks free from drama and politics.
I dipped a toe back into freelancing
I knew I couldn’t NOT work. I had to. So once I walked away from the job at the paper, I began freelancing again on a part time basis. My first project back into freelancing was a good one. While it ended at the end of October, it gave me clarity on what I absolutely didn’t want to do as a freelancer. I gained insight and it reconfirmed that writing and blogging is where I belong.
Freelancing was a goal of mine for 2017, even though it’s a slow go, I’m thrilled to say that it’s actually going.
I’m working on taking better care of me
Emotionally and physically 2017 has been a roller coaster. My most recent echo cardiogram shows that I’m still in heart failure. The bright side is that it hasn’t gotten worse; it just hasn’t improved from June. I’m choosing to see this as a positive thing.
Don’t panic, I already have two appointments set up for the new year. One with a new cardiologist and one with Dr. Twitchy, the EP doctor.
Taking care of myself physically and emotionally means I must learn my limitations. I nap when I need to and I don’t beat myself up for it. I delegate so that the biggest concerns I have are what to make for dinner and meeting my deadlines.
I’ve never freelanced with heart failure before (at least I don’t think I have), so I’m learning to look at productivity differently. When you start paying attention to how you truly feel physically, and acting on it instead of ignoring it, you discover how to be your best self and your best boss.
When I look at the start of 2017 and what I wanted, I realize that yes… I did become a Queen. I WON.
I continued to strive for positivity over negativity and I took care of ME. (Mad props to the congenital heart defect for that one).
I’m wrapping up this year with a newfound sense of peace and clarity. It’s probably the first time that’s ever happened to me. (I’m taking no shame in thanking the anti-depressants for that.)
When you look back at this year, what does it make you feel? Relief? Sadness? Peace? I hope it’s the latter.