A year in review (and what a year it was!)

While my co-blogger thoroughly enjoys looking ahead into the fresh New year & making resolutions I like to sit back at the start of the new year and reflect on everything that happened during the year. So that’s what I’ve been doing… For the past week and a half.

But 2017 was quite a year!!! It deserves some reflection even if it’s coming a bit late.

Change and chaos have been two constants of my life the past five or six years. Between 2012 & 2016 I bought a house all on my own, went through a pretty rough & long divorce (and somehow survived), adapted to a custody arrangement that’s less than ideal (or really even functional), tried real hard to change said custody crap, went back to school, ran a handful of half marathons, applied to dental school and got rejected, & delved into the world of online dating.

And then 2017 came and kicked some ass.

I’ll stop burying the lede here and just tell you: I GOT ACCEPTED to DENTAL SCHOOL!

That was the most exciting change/accomplishment of the year but it’s far from the only one. 2017 was a year of big leaps forward; it was a year of transitional achievements.

In April I finished my bachelor’s degree and graduated from college. As a former teen Mom (way before it was glamorized by MTV) and someone who struggled through my twenties, this was a huge deal for me. I’m super proud of myself!

My oldest son graduated from high school. His junior and senior years were a mix of opportunity followed by frustration and, to be honest, disappointment. He did not go out in a blaze of glory but he did successfully go out. And while he struggles to find direction in life (or even get off my couch some days) I am proud of the kind, decent person he is despite some shit that life has thrown at him. I’m hopeful for his future; I know that once something lights a spark of interest he’ll take off.

Early in 2017 I waded back into the murky waters of online dating this time with in hopes of finding a potentially “regular person”…an actual sustainable relationship (whatever that might look like). In February I met & started dating this guy, my boyfriend. He’s great. It’s been fantastic. And almost a year. I’m super impressed with that. Part of me was not sure I had it in me to sustain a relationship after the mess of my marriage and divorce. I really questioned my ability to trust at the necessary level.

And, of course, there was the usual making and renovating and carrying on of wrangling my monkeys and managing my circus.

When I look back at my adult life there are years that, in retrospect, stand out as pivotal. Years of fundamental shifts; they changed life and created a new direction. (2012 & 2014 for example) 2017 is among those years and life will be drastically different because of it.

Did I mention that I’m going to dental school in 2018?!?!?!

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Impatience

I think of myself as a relatively patient person. I worked with kids for years then I moved on to traumatic brain injury patients. Both jobs relied on keeping cool and being patient with whatever situation arises. Even now, on a regular nursing floor, I understand the importance of being patient even though there are ten million other tasks to complete.

patients-versus-patience

I rarely have road rage. (Unless someone cuts me off.) I can make a (usually) unbroken cheesecake which requires so much waiting and patience for a properly finished product. I just don’t get riled up easily.

BUT, then there are times when I’m extremely impatient. Waiting in long busy noisy lines gets me. I’m impatient when other people are running late and I’m meeting them. It drives me crazy.  And once I’ve made a decision, I just want it to happen.

This is also the case with New Year’s Resolutions. I just want them to happen. Unfortunately they are all things that take time. As I mentioned, I’m job hunting, and, probably, driving everyone crazy because I’m talking about it so much. I just want to know what that next step is going to be. Now. I want to know now and I want to begin down that path now! However, everything moves slowly in the healthcare world. So I just have to be patient and wait.

I’m a whole 2 days into trying to lose weight…with no results yet. Obviously.

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I’m realistic. Really. But it still tests my patience. I’m trying, so what do you mean I have to wait for results?! How many times do I have to go to the gym and not eat fries before I start seeing results?!?! (I do understand the reality of it all, honestly.)

I’ve got some long roads to go down, I get that. And I’m trying really hard to be patient.

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It’s that time again….I love a good New Year’s Resolution

I say it every year (2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017) and I’ll say it again, I love a new year’s resolution. I love the fresh start even if it’s just because the calendar is turning over.

Last year, 2016, was a maintaining year with no big changes. That was not the case for 2017. In April I graduated from nursing school and in July I left my job of seven years and started a new nursing job.

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It was so exciting to graduate and pass the NCLEX. However, I took a hospital job and I really don’t like it. I never enjoyed the hospital during clinical and I really dislike it on a regular basis.

Resolution #1: Get a new nursing job. Preferably one without a midnight shift and not in a hospital. After years of a messed up schedule- night shifts, weekends and everything in between, I’m really looking for something consistent and normal.

shift work

Along with the change in jobs and the end of school I now have time. It was pretty elusive in 2016 but all of sudden I actually have downtime. I haven’t really made good use of it either. It’s time to get some other areas of my life together. Especially if, as a nurse, I’m going to be preaching self-care and healthy living, it’s time to take my own advice.

Resolution #2: Lose 50 pounds. With diet and exercise, of course.

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You know, the normal ones that everyone makes.

#3: Try some new hobbies. – I’m taking a photography class in January for six weeks with a DSLR camera. I’m interested to try my hand at something new. New hobbies might including cooking too. I’ve been watching a lot of Top Chef lately. Those meals and ingredients are amazing. It’d be interesting to learn just a little of that.

possibility

I think those are it. They seem big enough to tackle for the year.

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Another Year, Another Resolution

As I’ve previously mentioned, as in a year ago and the year before that, I really like a good resolution. A change on the calendar marking a fresh start is just invigorating.

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This past year didn’t mark changes the way 2015 did. It was sort of a maintaining, just have to get through it type year. Don’t get me wrong, I made progress but the changes were already in motion. I maintained nursing school and I just put the finishing paint touches on the guest room I’ve been working on since 2015.

So what changes does 2017 have in store. Quite a few I hope and the completion of several long term goals.

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I only have one resolution this year but I watched a Ted Talks video that says I shouldn’t share it. Goals that you keep to yourself are more likely to occur.

I support all you resolution makers out there. New year, new opportunities! Just remember, don’t tell!

possibility

Finding Faith & Chasing Ghosts

I’m sure your blog feed, Facebook wall, and whatever other social media you may look at has been flooded with new year’s resolutions, surely that market is saturated now, so I promise you this is not one of those.

On the last day of 2015 I read a post about choosing a word to use as a theme for the year as an alternative to making a resolution. It was an excellent post but when I read it I thought it sounded a little cheesy for my taste (I love cheese but cheesiness, not so much). The word you choose is supposed to capture the essence of the year or embody a quality that you want your life to have over the year. Or something like that. Then you write the word on a candle and put it by your bed or something. Based on my excessive use of “or something” it’s safe to assume that I’m very broadly paraphrasing here. In the comments of the post it was mentioned that ideally the word should just come to you in a magic cloud of inspiration, maybe on a moonbeam or a ray of light. Again, paraphrasing. It’s a nice concept but you see what I mean about it being a little cheesy right? My typically cynical  skeptical self read all this and scoffed a little. Inspirational theme words, psh.

But then a weird thing happened on New Year’s Day.

I was driving home from the usual type of New Year’s Eve festivities feeling a little wobbly of head when I slid around on the freeway just a tiny bit. It was a warning slide; I heeded and drove like a near sighted grandma the rest of the way home. I was cautious, maybe excessively so. Generally speaking I’m not sure I can be considered a cautious person, but when it comes to driving on bad roads my motto is Slow and steady keeps you safe. Or Go around me, you fucking asshole, there are three lanes here! As I was crawling (okay, going between 50 and 65 mph) along the freeway I began to question whether it was actually necessary to be going quite that slow. Maybe I truly was being ridiculously overly cautious, maybe a little paranoid. I couldn’t really tell though and wasn’t sure I wanted to take a chance and go faster. I seriously doubted my ability to judge the state of the roads in that moment. And that right there is how I’ve felt about everything the past few months: I have seriously doubted my ability to… I don’t even know…
everything.

Somehow in the last half of 2015 I lost my faith. I’m not talking about religious faith or faith in a belief system (though that has been seriously faltering as well), I’m talking about something that’s kind of like confidence but runs a little deeper. Something that supports the foundation and this past year it’s gotten a little cracked. I saw it during the microbiology class that was so tough for me this past semester. It really should not have been that bad but even when I knew the answers and had a grasp of the material, albeit a tenuous one most the time, I chose the wrong answers on tests. Over and over. I didn’t trust myself and because of that ignored my instincts. I had no faith in my intelligence, no confidence in my knowledge. I have doubted myself, not just academically this year but across the board. I’m sure this has something to do with being back in court with the ex husband. It’s not easy to sit quietly and listen to your parenting abilities and your personal integrity be attack. Even knowing the bombardment is one built on exaggerations, faulty perception, and flat out lies doesn’t help in the moment. That combined with my past dealings with the family court system leave me feeling scared. The most important situation in my life is being evaluated, so much is at stake, and it’s almost completely out of my hands. I’m probably doing something to fuck up the small part that’s not. My lack of organization, my lack of foresight, or something else I’m missing or just not doing will probably bite me in the ass and cost me more than I even care to think about losing. Not only do I have no faith in myself but my faith in the system is totally shot. That belief that everything will work out one way or another and that we’ll all be okay is gone. I need to find a way to restore some semblance of that. I need to be able to trust that things will work out, that people are okay, that the system can and does work, that I am competent and capable of handling what’s being thrown my way (or what I’m choosing to pile on top of that). You can’t have trust without faith so my Not Resolution this year, my word for the year, is faith…find faith.

When I was standing here a year ago looking back I was able to say that 2014 had been monumental. As I look back at 2015 I’m not really sure what to think. In some ways all I did was maintain this year and often barely even that. No huge changes, just day to day. Work, kids, school, and a feeble attempt at dating (that ended in me realizing that I just shouldn’t actively try to date right now). That’s it. It’s tempting to regard the year with disappointment but I know that’s not entirely fair to myself because even in the maintaining there is growth. It’s not leaps and bounds growth but slow, steady development, the kind where you maybe don’t realize is happening at the time but when you glance back to where you were you can see how far you’ve come. Outwardly my life doesn’t look much different than it did a year ago (other than the court bullshit) but through the process of navigating my day to day I’ve identified some of the ghosts at the back of my closet (to employ the phrasing of The Mountain Goats). Now it’s time to eradicate them, to burn the fucking house down (so to speak),  to forgive some of the difficult things about myself and move on.

Okay, I guess this was a resolution post after all. You’re just going to have to deal with that. Next time I’ll  write a post about running or making something. It’ll be lighter, more fun…maybe.

I like a good resolution!

Yep, that’s right, I like a good New Year’s resolution.

I seem to be in the minority but I still find something refreshing about it. New start, new year, new dedication to making something better. I’ve heard most resolutions get pushed aside by February. I still like the idea of them.

This year actually marks a few changes for me. My college schedule is changing, as it does every semester, and my work schedule is changing. The work schedule change feels like a really big deal. Instead of full time nights I’ll be part-time nights and part-time afternoons. At least for now.

I like my job, mostly, I haven’t minded night work too much but I find I’ve started using my work schedule as an excuse for bad behavior. I can’t make lunch – I work nights and I’m too tired to socialize. I can’t work out – I’m too tired to even move. I haven’t texted you back? – yeah, with my work schedule I forget things. My slovenly appearance – who sees my anyway? I work nights.

With the change in schedule I think it’s time to put away those excuses and get on with it. A good new year’s resolution seems to be in order. So, drumroll please, my resolution for this year:
To be a little more put together.
What does that mean? Well for one thing getting out of my pajamas on a regular basis even when not going to work. I may never be a fashionista but I’m pretty sure losing the pj’s would help matters.

A little less like this…

A little more like this

I would also like to go all cliché and get on that exercise bandwagon that everyone gets on this time of year. Last year I bit off a bit more than I could chew by agreeing to run a half marathon with my co-blogger. She did. I found a variety of excuses not to. I’m not going that big this year but I would like to re-attempt a 5K.

With such a drastic change in my schedule I want to take the opportunity to create something more manageable and a little bit better. Good luck to all you other resolution makers out there! Let’s keep them – at least until March!