I have drafted this post so many times this year, I’ve lost track of where they all are. But, since we are only a couple days before the end of 2019, I figured there was no better time to resurrect this idea and put a cap on 2019, before moving on to my focus year of 2020.
A look back at my word for 2019 and what it took to get here
If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I’ve been using focus words for the past few years instead of resolutions to try to keep myself on track with my goals. Unfortunately, with my life being as hectic as it’s been, it has been hard to keep up with this blog, and many other things I’m passionate about. My word of 2020 is built to address that, but first I wanted to talk about my word for 2019, and where it came from.
Breathe, Strength, and Growth
My word for 2019 was “Growth.” I came out of a couple rough years into that word. Going into 2017, I was managing a life with chronic pain, all kinds of changed expectations and disappointments, and my goal for the year was to “Breathe.” Then, in 2017, I moved out of the house I shared with my ex-husband (who was cheating on me, but that’s not what this post is about), and decided the focus word for 2018 needed to be “Strength.” For the first time in years, I was able to manage affording my chronic illness, an apartment, and a dog on my own with minimal spousal support. So, it felt natural that once I felt strong enough to handle managing my life, that I should focus on growing it.
Everything grew in 2019
Growth meant so much to me in 2019, it’s hard to know where to start, which is probably why I’ve drafted this blog so many times. Here are just a few examples of things that grew in my life in 2019:
I grew in my career
I left a job that was doing me nothing but a disservice, and jumped without a net into unknown territory. I’m now a Marketing Director at an amazing company and loving every minute. I had no idea my life could be this good at a job, but here I am. It’s a constant challenge, and I learn something new every day, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
On top of my great job, I also secured some awesome freelance gigs that helped get me through a rough patch with no steady work, and I am continuing to work with some of the same people today and into 2020. The opportunities helped me grow my portfolio and breadth of experience, as well as my confidence. I have realized that if I’m good enough to freelance for a wide variety of clients, and advance quickly in an in-house role, that I’m good enough for myself, to launch my own projects the way I want to launch them.
I grew in my relationships
I was a few months into dating someone at the beginning of 2019. Now we’ve been together for almost a year and a half, and while no relationship is easy, I think there’s a lot we do that makes the other person better. I don’t know if I would have worked to get back into this blog, or do a lot of things on this list, without the support of my relationship, and for that, I’m grateful.
I have also been working on building and improving relationships with friends. When you go through a divorce, you lose a lot of people. Some of the people you lose really surprise you. It’s easy to dwell on it and get upset that the friends you thought would stick around end up leaving you in a time of need, but I tried in 2019 to look at things the opposite way. The people who reached out, who continued to keep in touch, and who took an interest in being in my life were the people I worked to draw in closer. I’m not where I want to be with a friend network, but I’m much closer than where I was last year.
I grew in my self-awareness
Chronic illness, divorce, navigating a new relationship, figuring out a new job – All of these things are overwhelming individually, but bring them all together in one year, and it can really take you down. While I seem like the kind of person who always “has it together,” please trust me when I say that I am not. I think I’m just better at faking it than other people.
It’s hard to figure out how to cope with so much change without help. This was the first year in a long time that I started talking with a therapist again. I’ve also done a lot of reading in what I consider to be emotional weak spots in an attempt to grow into a better person in 2020 and beyond.
My knowledge about my health grew
As I write this, I’m nearing my four-year anniversary with chronic pain. The road has not been easy. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few years back and have been questioning the diagnosis ever since.
This year, I decided to dig deeper into my health and try to figure out the root cause behind my pain, as well as work on treating it without prescription medications. I received a new diagnosis, met an amazing physical therapist, and am planning on covering my health updates on a separate blog (more on that soon, get excited!) My goal is to help other people dealing with chronic conditions in finding resources and a space where they feel welcome and believed. That part of my growth has been one of the most exciting developments in 2019.
My hobbies grew (oops)
I’m already stretched way too thin, but it didn’t stop me from accumulating more hobbies and interests. With an increased interest in my health, I am working on adding yoga reading and practice (as decolonized as possible) into my weekly routine. It’s slow-going, but I’m making an intention to keep building it in 2020 as well.
Even more exciting, I started weaving in 2019. I had always been interested in weaving, but never thought I’d actually take a class. I’ll be taking my next semester of classes at the end of January 2020, and couldn’t be more excited about it.
My increased interest in weaving also got me back into crocheting. I knit a huge, chunky sweater for myself at the end of this year, and I plan on jumping into more projects during these cold winter months.
I just bought myself a new computer in 2019, and my gaming has already increased as a result. I started podcasting in 2019, and plan to do a lot more in 2020. Plus, I just bought a new camera, so you’ll be seeing much better photos in 2020 on this blog as well! All very exciting developments, most of which happened at the tail end of 2019.
So, where do you go from all this growth?
The problem with “Growth” as a focus word is that things can get overgrown. You can go from having the appropriate number of hobbies and interests to far too many. My 2020 word is going to try to address that overgrowth in a way that feels gentle, and not overly judgmental. More on that in a couple days!
I hope you all have a great end to your year, and jump into 2020 with confidence, enthusiasm, and anything else you need. I know I’m more excited for a new year than I’ve ever been before.