Life

Looking back at 2018

This year has been a crazy roller coaster ride, filled with unexpected ups and downs and, just like a roller coaster, it’s leaving me at pretty much the exact same spot I got on, just a little shaken, beaten and bruised. I don’t regret this roller coaster of a year, it taught me a lot, allowed me to experience so many new things, and, for the most part, changed me for the better. I don’t regret this roller coaster year, but it’s not one I would like to ride ever again.

This time last year I had just been laid off from my job of nearly two years. The lay off was fully unexpected and I was not prepared for it at all. The timing couldn’t have been worse and it left me with a sense of “What the hell just happened?” and “What do I do now?” A part of me felt unappreciated and a large part of me felt like a loser.

During the first part of the year I started nearly every day with a walk to Kalama Beach.

Fast forward one year. Last Friday was my last day at work. I once again have been laid off. This was under slightly different circumstances, I was a temp and my employer anticipated me leaving the island sometime in early February, but…it’s not February yet and I was told I’d have a job as long as I was on island. I also had a little bit more warning. They let me know about a week earlier that December 21 would be my last day. (My previous employer gave me zero warning and absolutely no chance to say goodbye to any of my coworkers.) This time, as I wasn’t working my normal kind of position, this was nowhere near a PR or marketing role, I didn’t feel like a loser, but I did feel very unappreciated. Even though my husband and I will be leaving the island in just a few weeks, I wasn’t ready for this lack of employment yet. And although I knew unemployment was coming I’m still left with a sense of “What do I do now?”

After getting laid off last year I wallowed in my own self pity and a bit of anger for a few weeks, but that got old real quick. I made several very important Birthday promises to myself (My birthday is in January and I was still wallowing at New Years, so I missed out on making any New Year’s resolutions.)

My Goals for 27

  • Journal everyday
  • Read one book per month
  • Get in shape and back down to at least 130 lbs
  • Start a podcast with “Master Lemon Cake” (a best friend of mine) and/or start a new blog
  • Launch shirts
  • Grow my freelancing
  • BONUS: Start Writing my book

I didn’t do very good at keeping most of these goals, but they did help me do a lot and I made a lot of progress. I also plan to take these goals, although slightly tweaked, with me into 28.

As minuscule as it seems the journal everyday goal saved me the most this year, even though it’s also one of my biggest fails of the year. When I was in high school I wrote all the time. I wrote about everything that happened to me. I kept a journal. I wrote stories and poetry. After my dad died, that all kind of stopped. I distracted myself with school and although I still considered myself a writer, loved words, and dreamed of publishing a book someday, unless it was for academic reasons I rarely wrote until one day I just stopped altogether.

I can’t remember exactly when I stopped writing for myself, I just know that a year ago I literally could not write anything for myself. I physically couldn’t do it. That is when I realized I had some deep rooted issues that I really needed to get sorted out.

I’ve been to counseling before, always through school, and I’ve always been a strong supporter of it, if you find the right person. I went a few times in college after my dad died. I got a lot of help out of it while I was at Mt.SAC, but once I got to CSUF the counselors I got teamed up with just didn’t work for me and always left feeling worse then when I went it. After that I was never able to seek out additional help. I didn’t know how to even go about it after I graduated college and just started stuffing all my feelings down.

My dad

I never fully dealt with my dad’s death or my grief as well as a butt-load of other things. I just stuffed those feelings down deep and piled on everything else as it came my way. In doing this I lost myself, my character, my quirkiness, the things that made me ME. I was so focused on surviving and making it through whatever was happening or preparing for whatever might happen, I stopped fully living.

Although I was upset about being laid off, for the most part at this time last year I really had nothing to be upset about. I was married, living in Hawaii. I was happy. Life was great and my husband convinced me it was time that I focus on me and find myself again.

So I found myself a counselor and she helped me start unloading my 10 years of emotional baggage. We worked on everything from my dad’s death, to family dynamics and my overwhelming sense of responsibility and need to fix things for everyone. I only saw her for about six sessions before she decided I was good enough to work on things on my own, but within those six weeks I began to recognize things that triggered certain emotions and how to express different feelings rather than burying them away. She helped me start to believe that it was okay to focus on myself and believe in myself. She helped me come to terms with past events and current situations.

As of today I still have a ton of work to do on my own and I probably will be working on these things for years to come, but she helped get the ball rolling. I gained the courage to pursue more freelancing work. (I’m not currently freelancing , but at the peak of my freelancing this year I had three clients at once and was working full time.) I also gained the courage to chose my dreams over the safe path and start this blog.

Sometime during all this, I got a new job. It was as a temp position and it was in HR and I HATED it…at first. I was frustrated and angry at the job. I felt like it was a waste of my time and an insult to all my hard work in college. But it paid the bills and gave me the freedom to pursue my other interests (freelancing and this blog) and continue to work on myself. And somewhere along the way, I’m not sure when, I fell in love with my job. Out of nowhere I went from hating everything about work, to looking forward to it. I was excited every morning to walk into that office and I LOVED everyone I worked with. I even turned down work opportunities to go back to PR and marketing. I justified the decision to stay by the fact that I would be leaving Hawaii in less then a year and that this position gave me the freedom to pursue other interests, but it didn’t hurt that I loved my co-workers.

May 2018 with my mom at Maple Grove near Scipio, Utah

Then Fall rolled in and things started to get rough. Besides having lost my job, again, I have had to make two trips in the last four months back to the mainland for my mom. The first trip, she was in the hospital for low sodium. The second trip, this last one, was due to a stroke. As I write this she is still improving, but it doesn’t look like things will go back to “normal” anytime soon. My mom’s current situation is not only hard to deal with because she is my mom, but it has also mixed up my family’s dynamics and stirred up so many emotions I had started to work on while in counseling earlier this year. Situations and people and feelings I saw one way and had worked through are now coming back up in ways I am not prepared for. Besides having to cope with my mom and her pain and her struggles, I am now having to re-evaluate my own emotions, my capabilities, and my role within the family without undoing all the progress I have made this year.

Finally, I get to wrap this year up by packing up my entire life here in Hawaii and preparing to move back to California, with no clue of what the next few weeks, months or even year have in store for us. Under normal circumstances I would be excited for this uncertainty and new adventure, and a big part of me still is, but at the same time I can feel the anxiety building and am so scared of everything that could go wrong.

Like I said…I don’t regret this year and everything that has happened in it, but there is no way in hell I would ever chose to re-live it.

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