The first day of the new year is always a bit of a mixed bag for me. There’s definitely the refreshing feeling of the idea of a clean slate, and also a sense of hope for betterment, and good things to come. There’s also that sense of melancholy at the year that’s passed, good and bad, but always a bit of a feeling of failure. Failure to have not met the goals of the previous year, or how I’ve fallen behind on other personal struggles. 2017 was a difficult year for many reasons. In July of 2016, my mom lost her battle with cancer, and the last year and a half have been filled with grief. I’m still navigating my way through the loss of my mother, and what that means as far as the new normal for my family. Every day is different, some harder than others, some with a more sharp reminder of my mom’s physical absence. Holidays suck, they’re just never going to be the same, and I’m trying to accept that.
Even with the hard parts, the bad parts (dear god, every day a new headline about our idiot President) 2017 is also the year I finally started to feel a bit more like myself after the three year rollercoaster of my mom being sick, being treated for cancer, and ultimately dying. Relief is such a loaded word when it comes to the death of a loved one. I’m relieved for my mom that she is no longer suffering, but my heart breaks for myself, for my dad, for my aunts and uncles, and all of my mom’s friends. My mom was an incredible woman, and she touched many lives. By the fall semester this year, I was able to keep everything together well enough to finish with the highest grades I’ve had since starting my B.S. in Social Work program all the way back in 2009. I worked hard, and am incredibly proud of what I accomplished.
I listened to a lot of podcasts this year as well. My top two are definitely Stuff You Missed in History Class, and The Ali on the Run Show. I find myself excited for each episode of both podcasts, for a chance to learn and reflect and better understand myself and the world around me. I’ve been reading Ali’s blog for several years now, and she is such a fantastic interviewer. I’ve loved feeling like I’m getting to know her better, as well as getting to know the incredible guests she has on her show. I may not be doing long runs anymore (who knows what 2018 will hold,) but listening during my commute is a real pleasure. Recently, Ali and her husband were talking about a trip she took to California on her own, and how it changed her. She’s said so many wonderful things, but a few have definitely resonated with me, and are things I’d like to take with me into 2018.
The first was the idea that for the first time, in a long time, during her California trip, Ali felt she was really doing what she actually wanted to do, not what she thought she should want to do. How many times have I pushed myself through something I think I should really want to do, or should be enjoying only to be left exhausted and drained by the end? Too many. The truth is, I do have to work everyday, and I am currently in a position where I am frontline and interacting with members my whole shift. This is a mixed blessing – positive interactions definitely have a great impact on my overall mental health, but at the same time, the need to be “on,” all day is exhausting. Giving all of my energy to others all day drains my batteries in a major way. This year, I plan to only do things I really want to do, when I can, and to continue to practice self care to recharge after the things I don’t want to do, but have to do. I’ve been foregoing television for more pleasure reading, and while I didn’t meet my 100 books in 2017 goal, I did read 82 which isn’t too shabby. I included my text books because I did so much reading of them for the semester, but I have absolutely felt a difference in my energy, my mood, and life in general by setting aside time to read in bed before going to sleep.
I’ll touch on more inspiration from Ali’s podcast later, because right now it’s time for reading and bedtime.
Happy New Year everyone!