A new year is so refreshing, isn’t it? It seems everyone is reflecting on the past year of their lives and setting goals for the next. I wish I had done (and posted) this reflection a few days ago and got my resolution post up yesterday, but I’m kinda sliding into this new year. The 12 days I had off of work went slow at first (while I spent time at home with my parents and relaxed to the max) then flew away with a blink getting ready for a NYE party. Anyways, I’m writing a few days late about life in 2012, mostly because I think it’s important for me to really think about it. Writing helps me do that. If someone were to ask me about 2012 I would say it may be one of the hardest years I’ve had…I feel like it’s been too boring or too disappointing to blog about. I haven’t even journaled much on my own…maybe my attempt to forget. BUT as I read others’ annual chronicles, it made me think about the FULLNESS of a year. The graciousness of a faithful God. So here we go. (And then next will be a resolution post. Allison G. said it was blog worthy when we talked last night :))
I wrote myself 10 resolutions at the beginning of 2012. And that’s down from 20+ I wrote out the year before. (I know, crazy.) Keep in mind I’m more of an ideas person than a productive person. Ten was reasonable in my head. But of course I didn’t make it close. I did keep three though:
*Increase savings to $ (a specific amount)…in fact I almost doubled that amount.
* Read 10 books and listen to 4 audiobooks…I have come back to my love, friends. 14 books isn’t a lot for some, but I’m really bad at making time to read, plus I am not a fast reader. I just counted the books I read (in any format) this year and came to 14, and I’m close to finishing 2 more. More on reading below.
*Do not buy scrapbook paper or fabric unless project-specific. I’m pretty sure I did well with this. And I still have stacks of both to use up.
I’m going to organize this review by big topics and events of 2013:
DATING–From taco trucks to coffee shops to concerts and fancy restaurants, I went out with the most guys I ever have in one year (not that that is saying much). Some good, some bad, a lot of weird/awkward of which I will gladly share a story about in person. Online dating again for a long period contributed to some of the increase. Good stories, that’s what I was left with.
STUDENT LOANS–Paid those things off!!! The day before my 30th birthday I paid the balance of my last loan from graduate school. I felt freer than I imagined. Yay!
TRIPS–I went to Guatemala for the second time in March with a group of college students and my friend Julie. We traveled into small villages and held medical and dental clinics for the people there.
I always love the gratitude and sweet spirits of those I serve on mission trips. I also LOVE the students I went with…some are good friends of mine now. They have no idea how much life and joy they have given me.
March also brought a trip to Memphis for my friend Rebecca’s wedding. College friend reunion!
I also went to Illinois and visited my friend Tina and then scooted over to see Katie, Arrow, and Hazel. In June, I went to Chicago for a college health conference. I did a little shopping and eating too. For the Fourth of July, I went to Panama City with 8 wonderful girlfriends. Oh. my. goodness. We had us some fun.
Over Labor Day weekend, I went to Atlanta with Julie, Laura M. and Ashley. Good times. And I’ve been to Chattanooga multiple times to see my parents and best friend.
LENT and SCRIPTURE–I wrote about my plans for the Lenten season here…I gave up all drinks except water for 40 days (and this was while in Guatemala, land of good coffee and lack of rest). I donated the money I would have spent on drinks to Blood:water Mission. I think it was around $130. Also, I wanted to add something to this time so I chose to memorize Scripture. I focused on Isaiah 53 and the Beatitudes…can’t say I fully memorized them, but I got a lot. I want to continue memorizing Scripture. I have also worked on Isaiah 61:1-4 and Philippians 2.
DEPRESSION–I was trying to start out with happy things, and that’s kinda how the year started. Then in the summer, I started crying and couldn’t stop. Surmise it to say I went through a bout of depression. Nothing bad happened in my life; rather just nothing good (or what I wanted) was happening. There weren’t any triggers other than a whole bunch of factors converged leaving me with a lot of disappointment and decreased healthy coping skills. I felt hopeless. It was rough, but I’m grateful for the experience that allowed me to understand others’ struggles in a truer sense and grateful it was short-lived (though still peeks through steadily). I must fight for joy, choose contentment, and rest in the blessings that God so richly gives me. I alluded to this when I wrote about what helped me here. I’m happy to talk more about it in person…it just feels weird to write about it when I don’t know who reads this. Unfortunately, being depressed is what I focus on when I think about the year along with the disappointments.
READING–One of the saving graces for 2012 was books! Increasing the amount I read was one of my resolutions because it’s something I’ve always loved but don’t take time for. It’s been so delightful to get lost in some of the stories, especially Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery. There’s still several books left in the series for me to read, but they were pure joy for the little girl inside of me. I also loved Elizabeth Berg’s What We Keep. These fictional books made me realize I love child narrators. On the nonfiction side, I read all of Francis Chan’s books…I liked Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit most. Learning to count the gifts in my life has been so important in staying out of depression so I highly recommend Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are to everyone. Revelations of A Single Woman: Loving the Life I Didn’t Expect by Connally Gilliam offered well-thought perspectives, validation, and honesty which I found helpful during this season of life. Also, I got to review a book for teenage girls here that is great.
How did I read more? Two things: my Kindle Fire which makes books easier to transport and easier to read at the gym. And I started listening to audiobooks most days on my drive home from work. I usually have music playing on my computer in my office, so it’s nice to listen to something different while getting through rush hour. My Goodreads list is on the left hand sidebar on my blog now. I’ve got a lot of books I want to read in 2013!
SPRAY PAINTING–Yep, spray painting gets a spot. I finally joined the blogger’s diy club and started spray painting stuff in my house. Hopefully I’ll do a post of some of my projects…some may or may not be half-finished and sitting on my deck in the rain. Ahem.
TURNING 30!–The milestone birthday seemed to consume my thoughts during the year and how I judged my life, and I dreaded it for so long (contributing to the depression) because it seemed like a mark that meant I failed. I never expected to be single at 30 and feel unchallenged. It’s unproductive thinking, and ultimately I knew that 30 would be what I made it so I focused on how I could enjoy my birthday. Two lifelong friends, Tiffany and Allison O., came to Nashville the weekend before and wanted to do whatever I wanted. So we visited a bunch of antique stores in Nolensville, went to Arrington Vineyard, stopped in Cool Springs for a bit, then ate at The Pharmacy in East Nashville. On Sunday we ate breakfast at Fido in Hillsboro Village and went shopping at Opry Mills. We each turned 30 this year and celebrated each birthday which was fun since we live in 3 different cities.
My parents came and spent the night with me the night before my birthday and took me to my chosen breakfast restaurant of choice (Dunkin Donuts!) then went and hiked at Radnor Lake. We went back to Nolensville, browsed at Goodwill, and ate lunch before they left. That night 9 of my close girlfriends came to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Ellendale’s. I ordered the salmon pasta I’ve dreamed about for the 3+ years since I first ate it. Angel made me mini pecan pies plus a hummingbird cake! So far, 30 isn’t bad, but it sure makes me feel old.
THINGS I’M DONE WITH–At different points during the year, I decided these things were over for me. Leaving in 2012:
- uncomfortable or old underwear
- canned soup
- watching movies by myself (I don’t pay attention)
- uncomfortable shoes (at least at work)
- feeling guilty about giving too much/too little in terms of gifts
2012, I’m glad to say goodbye. Thanks for what you’ve taught me.