As usual, Life is passing by at an alarming speed, but I could not miss my annual tradition of sitting down at the keyboard to reflect on this past year… and decade as a whole. Since 2014 I have looked back at each year and shared some of the highlights in my life. So here I am, at it again:
2019 began in a whirlwind. I headed into the new year with two big “milestones” under my belt from 2018: being a newlywed and purchasing our first home. I entered this year without resolutions or goals, but rather the objective to focus my year on a single, all-encompassing word: intention. (Read more about this decision here!) For the most part, I believe I lived according to my plan.
I made it my intention to say “No” to more questions this past year. If I was asked to assist with a project, go out for a social event, or spend my time doing something outside my comfort, I weighed my answer heavily. There were more times than not when I replied, “No.” without apology and without explanation. In the past, my life was ruled by external situations and other people. In 2019, my focus became more internal, with all consideration on myself, my husband, and those most dear to us. By spending the majority of my time focused in this way, I discovered my passion for baking, found time to enjoy evening walks with Copper, and enthusiastically won countless games of Exploding Kittens against G. I may not have been increasing my networks in the community past my professional necessities, but I proudly took on the label “homebody” and transitioned our house into a home.
I also intentionally said goodbye to some relationships in 2019. I became more aware of the two sides friendships should expect. Friendship is not one always giving and one always taking; there should be a balance. I would reach out to those people I valued, but if the interactions were not reciprocated, I allowed the relationships to quiet and/or completely deplete. Not in a malicious way, but in an understanding that Life happens, directions change, and people can move forward wishing another the best while not remaining in their lives. This thinking also allowed me to focus on networks that fit my current situation in life and to enter into new tribes. Those relations who took the initiative to welcome me, I intentionally aimed to strengthen. So in 2019 and the future, my goal is to grow wiser with my relationships by actively pursuing meaningful connections while also understanding not all friendships are meant to last a lifetime.
2019 brought a bout of new challenges to my life as well. We welcomed Copper, an energetic ball of fluff, into our new home in January. The growing pains of raising a puppy have been a great insight for children in the future. Setting the chewed boots, destroyed rugs, and numerous backyard holes aside, there really is no describing the love we have for our little dude. Copper brings so much joy into our home, even on his naughtiest of days. He has become my daily walking companion and evening cuddle-bug.
In February I had a procedure to remove three sections of cancer cells. This was my first stint of any negativity in my health, and the aftermath led to a lot of changes in me physically. I was told getting pregnant would be difficult. I was not able to exercise like I once had enjoyed. I was in pain and felt fatigued daily. All of which ultimately led to gaining weight and putting a strain on my mental and emotion states. It took several tests, but we also discovered one major contributor to my health issues was an intolerance to gluten. As the year moved on, learning what harms my body has been a challenge in itself, but with each new day, I’ve begun to feel more and more like my old self and am no longer in daily pain due to the foods I eat.
As I regained my health, I also was given the clear to do more high-intensity workouts by my physician. So in September I joined a local CrossFit Box and fell in love with not only the exercises, but also my new fitness tribe. Unfortunately, the Box closed on November 30th, so my time with these new friends was short. The experience reminded me that I can put myself outside my comfort zone though, and that I have the drive to work hard for my health. I’m utilizing the lessons learned at CrossFit to move into 2020 with motivation to continue working to better my fitness, strengthen my mind, body and soul, and fit back into the totes of clothes in our basement. (Meh.)
One huge blessing in 2019 was the continued growth in my marriage. As with all married couples, G and I have several differences in our personalities, upbringing, and views on the world. Yet there is not another man I’d rather do Life with, or argue over what Netflix comedy special we’ll rewatch on a Wednesday evening. We were fortunate to explore new places this year: Indianapolis, Storm Lake, Geneva, Belfast. And with each new adventure, we spent quiet moments together, talking about our pasts, present, and futures. It may be cliche to say, but I fall deeper in love with G every single day.
As with any new year, moving out of 2019 has left some unanswered and open questions to what 2020 might bring. First off, the executive director at my agency resigned the week before holiday break. He had held his position for over 20 years, so his departure leaves our agency curious as to what changes may occur. Who will take his seat? Will there be internal changes? How will such changes affect our clients and community? I am one who strives on change, so the prospects of what is to come is exhilarating. Then there is the opportunity for G to complete his schooling by the year’s end. His graduation may mean changes for our little family as well. Finally, questions on my health are still taking place. I have an appointment in January to run a new test to see if children may be an easy possibility for us in the future. I am trying not to worry, but my heart yearns for an answer either way — just so we can decide the best method of becoming parents in the coming years. Thankfully, I have 100% faith in my physician. All in all, I know God will direct us on the best path for His glory in all manners of answering any questions that may arise in 2020 or any future year.
As 2019 and the 2010’s decade comes to a close, I can sit behind this computer screen in contentment. I have plenty of people, places, and things of which to be grateful. I saw a lot of loss in the 2010’s, but I also gained so much — the highs of the past ten years far outweigh the lows. As with any new year, 2020 has the promise to be something special. To change people. To change the world.
For me and my little corner of this grand space, I am looking forward to another year of positive growth, unlimited grace, and deep, deep gratitude.