Thursday, January 1, 2015

Year in Review

If you guys are sick of hearing from me every day, just wait until my semester starts up again on January 12 when I will actually have a schedule and responsibilities and no Mama Bear around to provide meals and laundry. At the moment I have tons of free time and am loving it, but it's also giving me a lot of brain space to mull and reflect, and I have no where to let it out except here. Anyway, I wrote a lame, half-hearted "end of year" post yesterday, but I really feel like I should take the time to spruce it up a bit. I have a tendency to focus on the small and the immediate rather than the big picture; I get totally hung up on one teensy tiny, minuscule, meaningless detail (e.g. that muffin was HOW MANY CALORIES!?!?!?) rather than stepping back and appreciating the full landscape. What better opportunity than New Year's to exercise my reflection skillz? So, you don't have to read this but I'm writing it anyway.

This year was a doozy in a lot of ways, but in general a much better one than the last few. I started off in January feeling OMG FANTASTIC because my beloved Dr. A finally found the miracle cure for my neuropathy and I was pain-free for the first time since November 2011. HALLELUJAH. Things were going swimmingly in that regard, though I was stressed to the max with school and work, and my running (which started as a joyful appreciation of having a functional body again) got excessive and dangerous fast. By late spring I was having some pain again; nothing like it had been before, but still devastating after thinking I was cured. Summer was pretty rough, since I cut most exercise and was having major anxiety and frustration over the pain and my weight with no outlet. Starting school again in the fall was almost a relief, since it gave me more direction and purpose and left little room for the old obsessions. It turned out to be almost too much: four classes, two labs, 40 hours/week of work between three jobs, therapy, friends, volunteering, and 10 doctoral applications. I don't think I've ever been as stressed out or overwhelmed as I was this past semester, but ultimately I kept trucking and made it through, and generally maintained my sanity in the process. And then the semester ended, the odometer went from a million miles a minute to zero, and I promptly fell apart. Still digging myself out a bit, but the change of scenery and family time has definitely helped. My biggest challenges right now are body image and exercise related, but I won't get into it all now. I keep trying to remind myself what a luxury it is to be free of the nerve pain and eye issues that were so terribly and unbearable for so long. All the rest, I can manage.

There is also a lot I'm proud of from 2014:

I made it through some of the most stressful weeks of my life, school- and work-wise, and managed to not relapse or otherwise lose my mind.

Though I take no credit for this and fully blame my body's bizarre, fucked up metabolic gymnastics, I reached a new high weight and have continued to eat (relatively) normally in spite of it.

I made the decision to come off my anti-depressant, which may or may not turn out to have been the right decision, but it was something I needed to do.

I dated and broke up with a guy who was not right for me, which was incredibly hard and uncomfortable—although it did remind me that I can handle tough situations, and am not a hideous troll incapable of relationships.

I got over my insecurity and asked two bigwigs to write me recommendation letters.

I am now reasonably proficient in four new software systems, none of which I had used before the start of the semester. (Anyone need some mapping done? Holla at me.)

I made some new friends.

I became obsessed with podcasts.

All in all, I guess my main takeaway, after this little exercise in reflection, is that I've changed. I think this is the first year in a while that I can really honestly say, wow, I'm different. I've grown and learned and become a different person. In many ways, I think about things differently. I approach situations differently. I have different goals and aspirations and priorities. Not a bad way to head into 2015, no?

1 comment:

  1. You've had quite the year! I think you've done awesome in the face of some pretty tough challenges. I'm really glad you've been able to see that and be proud of all you've done! Hope 2015 starts out great for you!