2020

“With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.” -Oscar Wilde

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I have done a lot of reflecting not just on the past year, but on the last decade. There was so much I accomplished, which I would have overlooked because a few things didn’t go as planned.

For instance, I met my husband at the beginning of the past decade. I graduated from university, moved across the country, finished graduate school, moved back across the country, and had a baby. I realize, as I write this, that sometimes I am too hard on myself. Everything, but the meeting my husband part was done this year. Sheesh. I need to take it easy in 2020. Jokes aside, my life at 35 is different than I would have ever imagined at 25.

Instead of focusing on a slew of resolutions which I will inevitably give up on about three weeks into this new year, I’ve decided to make a list of things I have figured out. Just to clarify, I am not against resolutions, and I have made some concrete actionable goals this year. I’m just not going to dedicate an entire blog post to them.

Things I’ve Learned About Myself

  • Hiking makes me extremely happy, even if it’s snowing. In fact, especially when it’s snowing.
  • Breastfeeding has been one of the most intense journeys of my life. Having to adopt a restrictive diet was challenging mentally and physically as my body went through all my fat stores in order to keep producing milk. In short, my body is incredible.
  • Dairy is hidden in everything. So is soy.
  • Travel becomes less important when you love where you live. I still love traveling, and we are planning a big trip for 2020, but for now I am just happy to live in a place that brings me so much joy.
  • Writing fiction is hard.
  • There are still a good number of wonderful people in the world. I forgot this while I lived on the east coast.
  • You can love someone from a distance if that’s what it takes for you to keep your mental sanity.
  • Mental health is important.
  • Baking is surprisingly therapeutic.
  • My daughter brings me immense joy, even though our journey together has been wrought with challenges.
  • My husband is probably the only reason I haven’t completely gone mad this past year. Turns out, he’s an amazing father.
  • Motherhood is beautiful, painful, and the hardest job on the planet. It’s rewarding as well, but man oh man is it hard.
  • Not all in-laws relationship are the way the media portrays. Sometimes in-laws can surprise you and uplift you even more than your own parents.
  • I am still horrible with gift giving and timing. I am the person who buys postcards while on vacation and 9 times out of 10 forgets to mail them. However, I managed to send out Christmas cards this year so that has to count for something.
  • I miss HBO’s programming.

I hope to write more regularly on this blog this year. That’s a goal I feel good about sharing, and hopefully this makes me somewhat more accountable than I usually am with my writing goals.

I hope we all have a fabulous and prosperous 2020!

2019 Reflections

2019 will always be the year of ultimate change, as it was the year I became a mother. Over the last 12 months, I’ve experienced some of the most beautiful moments ever, as well as some of the darkest. There was a lot of change, beyond motherhood, along with anxiety, downright depression, and then a happiness that seemed almost too good to be true. 

2018 was the year of hope, and it ended with news of my pregnancy after years of infertility treatments. I was full of hope, love, and gratitude, but I was also scared. When 2019 rolled around, I still had hope but the fear started to make itself more known. When my water broke, although I was calmer than I would have ever thought imaginable to the outside world, inside I was freaking out. I was terrified of what I didn’t know. If we were ready or not (we weren’t, and you can never be apparently), if we would know what to do (we figured it out), and in that pressing moment, the biggest fear of all was the pain. Would I be able to handle it? More importantly, would my baby, due in four weeks, be ready for the world? And why oh why was she four weeks early?

I survived the birth of my daughter, and the traumatic experience that followed, which only strengthened our resolve to get out of Maryland. The city we lived in was and will probably always be toxic, the place I worked, toxic. I remember going into my office for the last time, no one but me knew it yet, but I went in about a month postpartum and cleaned it out. I left feeling elated. I was thrilled to never have to set foot in that building again. In order to fix the problems in my world, we had to uproot our life and start anew. Something I would not advise after just having a baby, yet was so necessary for us. 

Six months later and we’re settled in our new home/new city/new state, and on some days it still feels like I’m simply trying to survive, but it’s different. Motherhood is still hard, and one of the hardest lessons I learned this year was also a blessing. Sometimes people closest to you will hurt you the way no one else can, be it supposed friends or family. This is just life. You can’t get hung up over it, though it would be hypocritical for me not to admit I did get hung up on it. I didn’t speak to two people who’ve been my world my entire life for a very long time. The relationship is beyond repair at this point because of the result of their actions.

Still, it could be worse. It was a good lesson to learn, however painful. On the other end of the spectrum, I was showered with so much love by people in my life, and some I worked with, it blew my mind. No one in the building I left behind, of course. But across the country (and world), people ordered gifts, sent me love, and well wishes towards the end of my pregnancy until around 2 months postpartum.

While I was solo parenting with my two month old, a small group of friends, whom I should really refer to as family, would drop by, bring me lunch, hold the baby, change diapers, and keep me company for a short time. When one friend came over, I had no idea how badly I needed a break until she whisked my daughter away to change her diaper. When she left, I sat alone on the couch, holding my daughter, and cried.

We had one couple, who had their baby the same day as us, drop by multiple times, and even took me to dinner near my condo. For these seemingly small gestures of kindness, I was simply overwhelmed with gratitude. I was too emotional, too exhausted, and still recovering from the labor to properly express it, but I am eternally grateful to all the individuals who contributed in some way. Motherhood takes a village, I’ve heard this my entire life, but sadly it didn’t make sense until I was in the trenches myself.

Even though people who should have been in my corner from the beginning of this pregnancy weren’t, or some simply changed their minds following my birth for reasons unknown to me, I am infinitely grateful for the friendship that my friends, some family, coworkers, and bosses showed. It may sound cheesy, but they taught me that despite all the darkness in my life during those early days of motherhood, there are still people who can surprise you, even when everyone else is nothing more than a disappointment. For this, my cup overfloweth with love and gratitude.