In spirit of shaking off the old, I’m taking one last minute to reflect on the past year before saying goodbye for good.
Honestly? 2018 was an off year for me. I had a lot of self doubt, a lot of insecure thoughts, and a lot of seeing other people achieve things when I just felt kind of stuck. At the same time, I also got published for the first time, my extended family grew by 5 babies/future babies (3 more due this year), and I found someone who’s considering publishing Flightless. It was a year filled with growing pains.
One of the biggest changes was, for the first time since I graduated high school, I didn’t have a 9 to 5 job. Sure, I was still getting a little bit of money from a few commissions/updating my dad’s social media for his business, but that sort of thing doesn’t take as much time as a “real job”, so I rarely count it. Those are both things I enjoy doing that I happen to make some money now and then with, but not something I have to focus on every day, with a boss to answer to. I’m not complaining, I consider myself very lucky in this aspect, however it made me focus on myself, my writing, and what my plans were for the future.
The problem was, I had no freaking clue what my plans were. I wish I could tell my younger self that by the time you get closer to 30, you suddenly get some cosmic knowledge and things just make sense, but they really don’t.
And oh boy, it was hard. Being forced to only spend time with yourself, when you thought you knew everything you could know about who you are, is HARD. That being said, I think I needed to do it. I put a lot of my self worth on how other people view me/the work I put out in the world, even if that work is just a 9 to 5 job, and without the recognition that I was doing a good job, I felt like what I did didn’t matter. It started messing with my head, and even my husband was shocked when I came to him crying because I felt like people who mattered the most in my life didn’t need me. I kept asking myself, how did I know if I was good enough if I wasn’t working and contributing to other peoples’ lives somehow? I wasn’t bringing home a paycheck, I wasn’t putting everyone else before me, I wasn’t focusing on a career, so how, HOW could I be contributing?
I had no idea how little I valued myself if I wasn’t working and bringing home a paycheck.
After some very long talks with friends and loved ones, I slowly began to change my thinking. Instead of seeing the only thing I could provide was a dollar sign, I started focusing on just being there for people, including myself. I sent letters, like paper and stamp letters, to friends and family, I worked out more, I got back into writing, and traveled with my husband and our dogs in our camper van. I cut toxic people out of my life and started telling people when things hurt me instead of just pretending like I had to be okay with everything everyone did, or else they’d leave me. It was painful, don’t get me wrong, but that kind of pain that comes from any change.
And yeah, I still cried because it sucked, but when I was done, I somehow felt stronger.
All in all, I’m happy 2018 is over with, because I was getting a little down there this past year, however I definitely needed to experience it. My husband’s favorite saying is “iron sharpens iron”, meaning we have to go through hard times to become what we’re meant to be, and damn there was some emotional sharpening this past year.