On the old blog, I used to a year in review. I’m not exactly keen on replicating it here, but I will say this: 2013 was an odd, strange year. I’m not unhappy that it’s ending.
From the latter half of 2012 until now, I feel like I’ve been struggling a lot. For many, many years, I felt like I knew who I was, what I wanted in life, and how I would go about getting it. But starting in late 2012, right around the time Hurricane Sandy hit, things started to feel … hopeless. Like, who-the-hell-am-I-kidding? kind of hopeless. Nothing I did seemed to make me feel like myself—seeing friends, doing good work, making new connections, writing, working out. I felt like I was on a treadmill, doing the same thing over and over again, viewing the same scenery around every bend, advancing to nowhere. No matter what I did (and I’ve done a lot of good stuff in this time), it felt like it wasn’t good enough.
This year was supposed to help push away the ennui that came with Sandy (mind you, I’m not blaming the storm—she’s a marker of time for me, though she did have a major impact on my life work-wise). I felt that 2013 could be a new beginning of sorts—I’d find a new job, we’d start trying for a baby, and things would brighten. Once I found a new job in April, I stopped seeing the therapist I’d been talking to since last November (I am now seeing her again, and have been since August). The husband and I started trying for a kid in March—I was sure that I’d be obviously pregnant at Christmas or would be announcing to my parents that I was pregnant at Christmas. I thought good things were heading our way.
But then, my job situation: first the controlling boss, who seems to love to battle fires constantly. Then the abusive environment, where the president demeans and belittles all employees. Then the financial situation, where they decided the best course of action was to sue a client, and are now absolutely apoplectic that they’re not winning any contracts (and are desperate for anything coming their way). My first day, I was told I needed to establish boundaries; I was chastised by HR for doing so; any idea I brought to the table wasn’t implemented; my boss outright lied to and about me. It was a situation I couldn’t stand, and I moved quickly to rectify it. Now, in my final two weeks there, I’m so grateful I was able to get out in a relatively short time frame. And I’m impressed that I made it happen!
Next was the heartache of TTC: it sucks. Suck-diddly-ucks. Each month is an emotional high. Each month is a time where you get to see your body going through the same rhythms, and you monitor it so closely to see if anything at all changes. With friends announcing pregnancies every few months, you start to think that you’re failing in some way, shape or form, that you can’t even do this basic thing that your body was ostensibly designed to do. You start to wonder what’s wrong. But you resist finding out if something’s wrong because you perceive that as a failure, too. Can you say mindfuck? You start getting sick of the timed sex, the pressure you feel, the pressure your husband feels. Getting pregnant is not easy, no matter what anyone says. And it can consume your life. I don’t want the kid we’re supposed to make out of love be a struggle to get to. As hard as it is, I’m working on taking action (RE appointment) and not inviting worry to the process going forward.
Finally, the biggest mistake both my husband and I made this year was not focusing on ourselves at all. We were either too busy dealing with my job drama, our TTC frustrations, or our work with the volunteer org that’s come to dominate our lives and marriage. As the power players in this volunteer org (particularly my husband), a lot of our evening conversations focus on this thing. We’ve enjoyed it, but my husband in particular is ready to step back. I’m ready to devote time to us—being workout buddies again, traveling, focusing on our writing aspirations, having our evening conversations focus on the books we’re reading or our days, spending time with our long-neglected friends, sprucing up our place (did I tell you my husband wants to replace all of our furniture? totally down with that), etc.
I said to my husband the other day that 2014 should be about us; and I said that it should be about us because I’m pretty sure 2015 will be about Writer Jr. It burst out of me so easily, and I believed it. That made me feel good … it was something I fully believed, and that it’s a while off was actually reassuring. I want to be the best me before Writer Jr. comes into my life. My husband wants the same, too. The only way we get there is by paying attention to ourselves.
So here’s what I’ll say about 2013: tough year, but I think it taught me a lot about myself and how I deal with adversity, anxiety, maybe even a touch of depression. So thank you to 2013 for helping me realign and think about what I need to do for me in 2014. Without the challenges, I wouldn’t have noticed there were questions that needed answering.