It’s December 31st 2019 and I find myself full of to the brim of thoughts from this last year.
I am an introspective person, well honestly that’s an understatement. I am one of those women who often turns inward to reflect and while it’s beautiful it can also be super damaging if it isn’t put into check. The saying “we are our own worst critique” is something I have to remind myself of often.
Be kind Amy.
That has a lot to do with 2019. I wasn’t very kind with myself in certain areas and then in others I was compassionate, patient, and offered a lot of grace.
2019 was growth.
It really was and I’m so thankful for it now. Don’t get me wrong 2019 was HARD HARD STUFF but now that I’m looking at 2020 with a fresh perspective I am finding myself grateful for the tough challenges I went through (and am still walking through). Maybe it’s the late night sitting in my sunroom sipping on warm ashawanga milk and listening to “Closer” by Johnnyswim that has me feeling self-connected but y’all…I’m so thankful.
All of it – I’m so thankful. The separation from my husband due to deployment and navy extensions and countless nights full to the brim of loneliness and frustration. The loss of friendships that cut me deep opened up space for me to cultivate and delve into other friendships that have brought such fulfillment. The desert season with Jesus that felt like I just didn’t care to take another step forward and those small moments where my eyes pricked with tears because He stood beside me and slid my hand in His and told me it’s okay to be mad and it’s okay to be hurt and it’s okay to ask questions and that He loves me tenderly. The counseling sessions learning that all of these emotions I have been processing were deep rooted in loosing my parents and having to face their deaths in a new way now that I’m living in Charleston again after years of growth and separation.
It’s all so good, even when it was so bad.
So what is this life audit?
(yeah, I went on a tangent above but sometimes it just spills out!)
My sweet friend Sam mentioned this blog post to me that is full of SO MANY GOOD THINGS and I found myself pulling out my journal and making pages for each category; basically you have 8 categories that you rate and 2 life questions:
- Marriage / Relationships (or friendships)
- Personal Growth
The two questions are:
1. What good things happened this year?
(What grew well? What are you grateful for?)
2. What challenges happened this year?
(What didn’t help you cultivate what matters this year?
It’s pretty dang simple to write it all out like that but once you carve out time to sit and reflect it’s a whole other beast. You find yourself remembering things you complete forgot about and having to come face to face with some potentially hard questions/seasons. It’s also so so good to be reminded of grace and fun and laughter.
So I’ll give a little snip into my 2019 Life Audit below and how I rated it (1 being the absolute worst and 10 being peachy). I am learning how to balance what all I share here so if some of it feels vague, well, it’s meant to 😉
Woof. This year I started at a weight that was overwhelming to me because I told myself I would NEVER see that number again and there I was creeping towards and above it. It still wasn’t my heavies (220) but I was sitting pretty around 178. It was something I just couldn’t shake. I started to find a rhythm with exercise but food was (and still is) my issue. I’ve gotten as low as 167 this year but am sitting back around 170/171 due to an injury (trochanteric bursitis) that has kept me from working out the last few months. I definitely wanted to get a better understanding of nutrition but often made excuses as why not to. I also used exercise as an equalizer so I could feel good about not eating well because I would work it off. Definitely not healthy and something I need to work on moving forward.
This was a tough year for friendships but honestly also really good.
I still struggle with closing certain chapters but I also know that finding my voice and taking steps forward brings a since of comfort. I’ve also been able to really see who my friends are and who is intentional with me and who I want to be intentional with. The older I am getting the more I don’t want surface, fake or disingenuous people in my life and I don’t want to be that person to others. I’m also seeing how hard it is to make friendships.
Man oh man this was such a tough year for Eddie & I.
Living apart the entire year was exhausting. Throw a deployment and extensions on top of it has been just…gut wrenching. Most days I’ve struggled with feeling connected to my husband because we hadn’t communicated in days/weeks. I’ve struggled with feeling sad / angry / frustrated with God that after praying for years for marriage that our first 3 years together we’ve hardly seen each other let alone get to know one another as husband and wife. A lot of those feelings came from mis-assigned and mis-labeled emotions from my parents (feeling abandoned, etc but that’s a whole other post) so counseling helped me work through that and showed me I wasn’t crazy. I will say that the small windows of time we’ve gotten together in 2019 were so good and restorative.
Eddie gave this a higher score than I did.
We worked towards some of our goals but you know, life happens (like your downstairs HVAC going out and having to replace it AND all the duct work), and those saves you were hoping could go to something fun goes to something practical. We are looking at some goals for 2020 and it’s good to have goals!
This was a hard one. I was in a not-so-great place with Jesus this year. I battled A LOT of bitterness, anger, and frustration and felt super isolated and couldn’t understand my emotions. I felt numb a lot and complacent in a bad way. I just didn’t really feel like diving into a deeper personal relationship with God and most of the time I was okay with that and at other times I was disgusted with myself. I struggle with legalism, hard and I had more than one person remind me that I need to be gracious with myself and that Jesus would meet me where I was. I didn’t need to spend hours in my Bible every day pulling out the commentary and understanding every piece of the scripture to count it as personal time with Jesus. I just needed to say His name, talk to him, and read more of His Word. I didn’t do that all the time but when I did, and even when I didn’t, He met me. He tended to my needs and helped me grow even when I was unaware. My hope is that moving forward I will shake off the dust and love Him more proactively.
As I said above I was really struggling with my emotions this past year. You see, I have been in counseling off and on for almost 15 years and it’s such a good thing for me. One of the main things I always struggle with and have to process is emotions. Due to loosing my parents so early I created defense mechanisms where I shut down and didn’t process emotions in order to cope and get through life. This has NOT served me well in so many areas and I often find myself “going numb and through the motions” when things get overwhelming. I truly do not know how to process emotions normally and have to force myself to work through them. So the good thing is that this year I went back to counseling for a while and was able to assign the feelings of abandonment away from Eddie’s deployment and to the loss of my parents. It was a lot of work and something I’m still chewing on even months later. I also spent a lot of time alone which meant that I did a heck of a lot of self reflection and honed in what I want more of in my life and what I want less of.
The good thing is I went back to work this year. I started off at one part-time job and realized it wasn’t the right fit for me and started another. I had a few more photography clients and blog content but over all I’ve felt pretty dissatisfied in work. I think that’s just something I struggle with in general. When you feel unmotivated and unsure of your purpose you’re going to struggle with finding fulfillment in work ya know?
So a 4 may seem super low considering I did have an amazing trip this year to Big Bear with some girlfriends and I was able to go to San Diego to visit Eddie a few times. Mainly I am looking at it as I didn’t get out and explore like I thought I would. I felt creatively stifled and just completely un-inspired this year and I really held myself back from exploring and being adventurous.
What Good Things Happened This Year?
- I can do hard things.
- Big Bear trip with the girls was so so so needed and so so so amazing.
- Reconnecting with a few friends this year.
- HOMECOMING! Seeing my husband after 6 months was just, oh my gosh, INCREDIBLE!
- Working again, structure is so good for me.
- Being back in Charleston and around my family and friends. It’s been comforting a lot of the time.
- Learning more about myself.
Challenges from 2019
- Deployment. I mean I could write a novel but still.
- Being back in Charleston has also been hard. This place carries a lot of baggage (good and bad) and working through it has been more than I thought.
- Feeling isolated and alone often.
- Photography wasn’t as successful as I wanted.
- Blogging slowed way down.
- I felt super unmotivated for so many things.
- Getting injured and not being able to finish the year strong.
- Not having Eddie around.
So there is a small glimpse into my life during 2019.
If you stuck around until the end, man you are a trooper. I realize that it was a lot of words, a lot of feelings and a lot of information. I was actually telling Meg last night how a few of my posts coming up are more for me than they are for my audience/readers because this is still my space and I want to be able to look back on it years from now and remember so much.
Seriously y’all, thank you for reading and hanging out with me, it means more than you know!