2017 was a year of change for me, my life had literally been turned upside down. It was both good and bad, and characterized by a spirit of hope, but also of brokenness. So, as I sit down to review 2018, I can see both of those themes in the goals and resolutions I had made for the year. This post is a breakdown of my year, but I have also made a pdf for your own 2018 reflections here: 2018 Reflection
Reflecting on the year, key themes
Romance and Hope: I was newly single this time last year and like most girls, my year in review last year focused a lot on being single, and worrying if I would ever find anyone (I felt a bit overlooked). Now, a year later, and married, I laugh a bit at the ramblings of the single version of myself. At first glance, I was mortified at the juvenile notes, but upon further analysis, I can see the hope in them. 2017 had me escape an unhealthy relationship and suicide attempt, and seeing how my heart was able to love and foresee a future of happiness, and trust that God would be with me regardless, is actually a beautiful thing in context (especially with me being a bit of a pessimist at time). At the time of that writing, I had no idea that I had already met the man who would later become my husband, it was unexpected, but completely a gift from God. I will post more on that story in the near future, meeting someone like him, is hard to summarize.
Family and Sorrow: This time last year, we had been told that my father’s tumor was benign, but if you’ve read my first post we learned early in 2018 that it was indeed stage four brain cancer. This also characterized a lot of 2018, understandably so, as it would be for any family battling terminal illness. The roller coasters until we found a diagnosis, left us with shaken hope. There are many complications that can arise when families’ begin to plan for the worst, as exhaustion and grief set in, but there are good things that came from all of this. We learned to cherish our moments together, the love of strangers, and the kindness of friends and community members. We learned to have faith and trust, my dad being the strongest example of this. And I believe, that we became stronger and more resilient as a result. Its hard to write this now, as we presently prepare for the worst in the coming days. Despite this deep sorrow, I know that a better place is waiting for him, when it comes time for us to say goodbye.
Friendship and Re-connections: 2018 was a year of reconnecting with old friends and making new memories with new ones. Even though I started my year nervous and anxious, I made sure to put myself out there, talk to more people, and experience new things. This opened me up to a variety of different people. From going to a youth group and finding a solid mentor, meeting my husband, going to a variety of studies and events, and meeting people from all walks of life, 2018 was a year of adventure and connections. I plan to carry this spirit of connection and fellowship into 2019.
Newness: I deepened my relationship with God, which included being baptized. I still struggle with my faith when my anxiety and depression rear their ugly heads, but He always finds a way to draw me back. I barely resemble the person I was in 2017 (or even at the beginning of 2018), God took a very broken girl and turned her into a completely new person. All I had to do was submit and learn to embrace the joys in life. My theme this past year was to live life to the fullest and be joyful, and though there was a point that I drifted from this, I am getting back on track as the year closes and plan to keep striving for joy in the new year
Resolutions, did I keep them? Sort of
Last year, I broke my resolutions into four categories: Health, Financial, Spiritual, and Self. Here’s how I did:
Health: My diet fluctuated a lot, and though I lost 15lbs (30lbs total since I began in 2017), I wasn’t really eating the way I had wanted to in the later half of the year. Too much processed, not enough whole foods… and to be honest, a bit of a Christmas indulgence. But, I did regulate a lot of my more unhealthy habits. I still lost weight, but sometimes, you just need to let yourself have some chocolate. My fitness gains actually took a major shift. I was very focused on cardio at the end of 2017 through mid 2018, but two things momentarily put that aside: strength training with my husband and a sprained ankle. Although running is still my favorite exercise, learning to build muscle through weight training has yielded surprising results. Sure chest day is painful, but watching my bench press go up each time, definitely makes it worth it…as well as being able to lift things easier in my day to day life. Strength is a good thing to feel. I also spent the year walking everywhere that I could, the fresh air did me wonders,that’s for sure. I will be posting my workout routines (aiming for videos too), what I eat, and my fitness journey in January.
Financial: Let’s just say, this was definitely the resolution that I slacked on. My husband is highly frugal though, and has slowly been teaching me to be better with my money. My biggest problem being my attraction to cute and pretty things..but who doesn’t want a mug with a pumpkin on it for October?
Spiritual: A lot happened in this category. I went on a mission, discovered my spiritual gifts, participated in kids ministry at church, and was baptized. But, even though there were ups and downs, 2018 was a big year of spiritual growth and deepening my relationship with God.
Self: Another big category. 2018 was my year of self discovery. My sense of self had been put aside in the years prior, so this year was my year to discover who I am. There were pieces of who I was, as I began to get back into old hobbies and interests, and parts of who I became, as I discovered and developed new interests. From attempting to ski, to learning to crochet; from finally doing what I enjoy through photography and writing, to trying new things, like snowshoeing and missionary work. It was a year of putting my fears aside and going to events where I would know no one and made some pretty great memories.
What did I think of the year?
Overall, it has been an amazing year so far. I got married to an amazing man, I have begun to heal from past pain, my adorable niece was born, and I realized that I am capable of a lot more than I had originally thought. There were trials of course, trials that still have uncertain ends in sight, but the support of my friends and family have really highlighted the year, more so than the sorrows.
2019, a prequel
Since my anxiety issues reemerged in the latter half of the year, I have realized that there are some areas in my life that need healing and peace.So I believe that where 2018 was a year of seeking joy, 2019 will be a year of seeking peace.
After a year of trying new things, there are some I things that I really hope to develop further. Before I injured my ankle, my treadmill skills were getting pretty good, so I hope to get back into running during the colder months, and then ultimately move outside come spring. I’ve always had this desire to run a race, not sure how long of one yet, but there are multiple 5km races in my areas, as well as, a full marathon. Running was always therapeutic for my anxiety, and with a proper commitment to leg day, my endurance and speed should increase, so possibly a win-win?
My husband and I also hope to travel a bit in the new year, both of us have stayed relatively close to home, so it would be good to experience some adventures together.
Looking back, but briefly
I will go further into my 2019 goals and steps on how to plan out your goals closer to the new year, but I think it is important to reflect on the past year first. Sometimes, we become discouraged in December, at failed goals or missed opportunities, but a deeper reflection can show more successes than would have been realized with only a shallow understanding. But this reflection should always be brief and with a proper focus on where you are in the present, to better apply it to your future. Too much dwelling can lead to anxiety and in some cases depression. We need to celebrate our successes and look at the bigger picture, but never lose sight on where you are right now.
Our goals and resolutions also change throughout the year, which is a good thing, we’re supposed to change as we grow and develop as people. My goals changed multiple times,as did my motivations. Getting married also shifted my ‘me’ focus, to an ‘us’ focus. I realized that lifting weights isn’t intimidating and can be very enjoyable if done correctly. I tried things I had always wanted to, some I liked, some I didn’t..because rolling down a hill at a high speed and getting whacked in the back with your own ski just isn’t for me.Which is ultimately what life is for: to try new things, to try to better yourself, meet new people, serve the Lord, and live life to the fullest. There will be ups and downs, but that’s being human. Years from now, we may see our downs in a new context and realize how we grew through those trials. Ultimately, we need to make peace with our past, because it can’t be changed, we can only really work on what is current and move on with our lives, change life where we can and at times, let life change us. All we can really do is have faith and try our hardest to do good in this world.