Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Reflections

As each year draws to a close, I am faced with two lines of thought. Reflection of the year that is past, and the determination for the year that is to come. This past week I've been remembering the good, the great, and yes, even those not so wonderful moments that this year had to bring. Last year, I wrapped up my blogging year reminded that some years are years of survival. Some are years of growth. Some are years of finding yourself, and some are all of those things. I am realizing that I am ending yet another year where I feel like I haven't found the answers to the things I'm looking for. I've spent another year in a predominantly numb state. Gliding through life on autopilot waiting for my life to begin. Last year I said that this wasn't a tragedy, but I think that I was wrong. It's incredibly tragic. To be numb while living your life isn't really living at all. I've trained my brain and my body to be so resilient that I'm losing the ability to feel. I thought that perhaps if I shared my story, I'd be able to find those connections with others or draw myself closer to people, but that hasn't been the case at all. I still find it amazing to use this platform to share my story and to be a shameless truth teller about this journey of life that I am on, but it hasn't torn down the walls that I've created to survive. I feel more disconnected this year than I ever have, and as I've been reflecting this week, I've found myself asking profound questions that really only I have the answer to.

How do I beat this disease? How do I come out on top above the depression, above the anxiety? How do I stop it before it permanently leaves me broken? I'm going to go a little cliche on you for a moment. What if the old adage is true? What if life is what you make it? I am and have always been in the driver's seat of my life. I have also, however, allowed my anxiety and/or depression (depending on the day) dictate where I'm going for the last 2 years. Hear me out. I definitely know that there are moments where depression and anxiety can take over your entire being. Where you can physically not get out of bed. Where you are too paralyzed to move. Those feelings are real, and they are valid. But I've noticed that they are also fed by my inner self talk or lack there of. I've stopped fighting for myself. I've let myself stop caring, and because of that, I have stopped living. I have changed the trajectory of my life just by choosing not to get back into the driver's seat.

What this year has taught me is that nothing will change if I don't start fighting back. Somehow, I need to be numb and paralyzed less. I need to use all of my emotions. That starts with connecting to humanity again with my heart and with my head. Reflecting daily and sometimes more than once a day. It means I need to stop using things like social media, alcohol and sleep as forms of medication to step out of my life, and start finding tools that will help me step INTO my life.

This brings me to next year. I used to be a big resolutioner, and then it became too much pressure for me and so I stopped. I feel like resolutions are just goals for the new year, and the reason they get such a bad rap is because people have goals but no real game plan of how to make them happen. Part of what stopped me from carrying any of my resolutions out was the fear that I would fail. What I know now is that I will fail. Probably a lot of times. But what I need to keep in mind is that the only time I can't pick myself back up is when I'm dead. So really, I have an infinite amount of chances to be who I want to be. Let me emphasize that I want to be....not just become. Life has to be a balance of striving for something and loving exactly where you are.

My aspirations for the next year are to step back into my life. To be present for my life. To connect to my tribe. To feel all the feelings. To taking care of my body. To giving myself grace. To surrounding myself with positive people and positive thoughts. To reflecting regularly. To stop waiting for my life to begin.

Here are some of my favorite parts of 2016.
Playing wally ball! I don't have a picture of my new team, but I love this sport.

Watching my boys wrestle. This was the last year both of them did it. This year, Sawyer is wrestling and Carter is playing basketball.

Johnny Holm band with my people

Jaedyn and her friends started a drama club and performed a small production of the Velveteen Rabbit. This is where I began seeing 

Jae's first middle school play: The Music Man

Surprising Dawn for her birthday and enjoying a Crab Broil

Sean's first prom

Shopping weekend with the girls

First fire of Spring

Mud Volleyball for the Quasqui

Winery with the Valentines and Mulders

Florida with my family


First ocean sunrise

Bachelorette party in Kansas City!

Royal Family Kids Camp

Standing beside Jenni on her wedding day

Ozarks in the Fall with some of my favorite people

Who swims in October? We do!

Road tripping to Cedar Rapids for State Volleyball

Watching all my kids' sports

Cutting down our Christmas Tree

RFKC Dinner and Dessert Auction

Surprising my mom with tickets to Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant and Jordan Smith for her birthday

Making time to see each other despite busy schedules

First Christmas at the new house

Here's to jumping into 2017 with hope, grace, vulnerability and love. Happy New Year to you and yours.

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