I know it isn’t New Year’s, but this is the time of year when I think a new year begins. Apparently this was quite common in the past, with March 25 being celebrated as the start of the new year in England and America right up until 1752. And so, that makes today (the second day of the former new year) the perfect day to consider reviewing the past year. It also happens to be my birthday, which simply validates my review even more. Let’s look at several areas of my life and see what kind of progress I have made.
My house is still a clutterful mess. I have, however, achieved a new attitude towards the clutter. I am now more willing to let things go and not cling to them. Staying put for so long and staying in the same house for nearly 4 years is a record for me, and putting down roots is allowing me to let go of the material things I clung to in my attempt to have some sort of stability. I have actually considered letting go of some books (our household library easily contains over 1000 volumes), though I haven’t actually done it yet. But the thought alone is progress. So although my environment still looks much the same, I feel differently about it inside.
I went to the doctor about my constant coldness this past year. We ran several blood tests and could find nothing. So now I am under the belief that it is psychosomatic. There is still an air of coldness in the relationship between my husband and my children, and my body seems to interpret this literally. I’m still now sure how to change this, but if knowing is half the battle, then I am on my way. I also started intermittent intermittent fasting. So some days I do the intermittent fasting and others I don’t. It is intermittent. It seems appropriate. I have found that the only days this is hard for me are the days when I really want to indulge in emotional eating. And I have been doing a lot of that lately.
My relationship with one of my children has dramatically improved this past year. 365 days ago I did not believe it was possible to get where we are now. It isn’t perfect, of course, but it is a vast improvement, and I owe that to my best friend, who took in my child for six months last year to give us space from each other.
My marriage is still wonderful, even after almost five years. This is remarkable for me because my first marriage was over before our second anniversary, and my second one was, too, but I refused to accept that for nine more years and spent a decade in resentment, fear, and anger. So I am incredibly grateful to still be happy with my husband after almost eight years together.
My finances seem no better nor worse than a year ago. We move forward, we fall back. It maintains equilibrium. This is a facet of my life that I really want to get on top of. Major expenses of the last twelve months include a rebuilt section of the garage roof, and two new (to us) cars to replace the one that was falling apart.
I regularly volunteer at my church, as I have for a while. Every Sunday I go in and set up the Parish Hall for coffee hour after the service. I am finishing up my three-year term on the Board of Trustees. This year, I also got more involved in the children’s lessons. This year I did not do the quilting fundraiser that I had done last year. As much as I loved the project, I wanted to free up some space in my schedule, and I didn’t feel like the fundraiser was nearly as successful under my leadership as it had been under the previous leadership. So when I heard that the previous leader was organizing a different fundraiser, I was grateful to let it go.
I also decided to pick up this blog again. I probably won’t post three times a week like I did the first six months, but I want to post more than once a month. I want to contribute to the world, and right now, this seems like a good way to do so. I hope to share my life and my skills in a way that helps others improve their own lives. I know this will take a while, but eventually I will get there.
I have learned new skills this past year, too. I relearned how to pluck and gut chickens. I learned that queasiness is not compassionate. If I want the cockerel to have a swift and merciful death, I need to be strong and firm with slicing his throat, otherwise his death is needlessly prolonged.
I started learning a new language, too. The more people I can communicate with, the richer my life will be.
I learned also that not everyone wants to have relationships that I think are vital and necessary. Not every parent wants their kids in their life. This has been incredibly hard for me because I see that my kids are awesome and amazing people, and why wouldn’t their father want to spend time with them? I spent a year and a half forcing the relationship on him, all while thinking I was doing him a favor. When we came to a head over it, he said I didn’t need to bring them over if I didn’t want to. I asked if he would go without seeing them at all. He merely shrugged at me. I was angry. Seven months ago, he suddenly decided to be active in their life again, and I thought that maybe he had changed his opinion and did want them in his life. But now, he is gone for good. Yesterday I picked them up from his house for the last time before he moves across the country to start a new life. I now have to learn how to help them cope with the loss.
Personal development has long been a passion of mine. I want to be the best person I can be. Wise men have said that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, so I have been surrounding myself with people who are extremely successful. They may not know me yet, but I listen to their podcasts all the time. They are my constant companions in the car whenever I run errands. I am so grateful for Melody Fletcher, Brooke Castillo, Jody Moore, and Aditya Jaykumar.
I have developed the strength to tell people no this past year, and learned how to not get baited into a useless argument, though this did take practice, and some very lengthy emails.
Cait’s personal trackers have provided great insight into my own mind, even in just the seven days that I have been using them. They have shown me that I try to take on too much at once. When I try to start five new habits at once, I tend to fail at all of them. I need to slow down and be patient with myself. Baby steps will achieve much more for me than gigantic leaps.
Do you do a year end review? Is it at the change of the calendar, around your birthday, or some other time? What have you learned about yourself in the process?