Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Reflections

This years Year In Review post is likely going to be a little different from the ones that I've previously done. I am all for being optimistic, hopeful, and positive, but as I've sat here for a couple of days now working on this post, I have found it really hard to find the good that has come out of 2013 for me. 2013 was a really rough year. I think it's perfectly acceptable to flat out say that this year sucked and was one of the worse that I've had in a long time.

I'm sometimes hesitant to say that it "was the worse" with anything, because I think of when Spencer died and how awful that was, and still is. But I also had A LOT of good come out of 2011. This year, I think that the tough patches overshadow a lot of the good because they were the majority of my year. I'm not saying that 2013 was COMPLETELY bad, I know there were some really good moments, but it was just so difficult with being so sick. It wasn't just the illness that brought me down, but the realizations of possible surgery, losing my job because of it, having to move, and then the recovery which was incredibly hard.

 So while usually these year in review posts are positive and reflect the entire year pretty accurately, I'm going to take a different route with this one. I just kind of want to forget about 2013, honestly. My sister did a cool Year In Review post on her blog and I thought maybe I'd do the same because I'm finding it really hard to write out everything that has happened, and I don't want to sound ENTIRELY negative the whole post ;) This helps me think about the good that HAS come out of 2013, even though it's difficult to find!

What did you do in 2013 that you've never done before?
Attended a funeral of a close friend. Became a phlebotomist. Was nominated for employee of the month. Moved into a place of my very own. Quit a job.

Did you keep your New Years resolution? Will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any resolutions and it's very rare that I do. I have goals in mind for the upcoming year to better myself as I believe those are more achievable :) I just don't think you need a new year to all of a sudden start something new. I've already implemented things into my life to try and improve myself this year and I just hope it carries on to 2014!

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! My friends Christine and Adam gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Atticus!

Did anyone close to you die?
Unfortunately, yes. My friend Molly passed away.

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Optimism; 2013 was really tough for me. New friendships and meeting new people would be nice, too. I would really like to find someone to share my life with. It's been a bumpy road since Spence passed, but I feel like I'm ready to take that next step. We'll see what happens. I certainly need to meet people, first!

What moments from 2013 will remain etched in your memory and why?
* The funeral of my friend, Molly because of the emotions and grief I experienced. It was incredibly difficult.
* When Christine told me she was finally pregnant :) They had had such a trying process with IVF and many setbacks and heartbreaks. It made my heart so full when I found out!
* Heart-to-heart moments and time with a friend. My friend and I don't spend a whole lot of time together anymore and I wonder if moments from the past didn't interfere with our friendship. But I really cherished and appreciated the serious (and even not so serious!) talks that we had and hope that this year isn't the last of it!
* Christine and Adam coming to visit me in Kansas shortly after I moved back. We had such a good time together and it was fun showing them my roots.
* 2013 Fairs in Benkelman, St. Francis, and Imperial. They were such a good time!
* The Riddle camping trip!

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Recovering from being so incredibly ill and pushing through my struggles. While this year didn't bring a lot of positives for me, just getting through each and every day being so sick was an accomplishment for me. Sometimes you just have to focus on those little victories.

What was your biggest failure?
I really fell off the bandwagon with my faith. More-so than you will ever know. I don't know if you'd call it a failure, but it's the first thing that comes to my mind. I'm still not at a point where I am comfortable or feel ready to get back into it. "Get back into it." I know that sounds weird. I'm holding a lot of deep emotions that makes it very difficult. I don't need to explain myself, but I am disappointed with how that journey has went for me this year.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Oh yes, yes I did and it was the majority of my year definitely overshadowing everything else. I went through the biggest health struggle of my life. It started in January and spiral out of control quickly after. I went through ER visits, multiple doctor visits, GI visits, scopes, clinical trial, the very real possibility of surgery for the first time, rapid weight loss, muscle atrophy. It was awful. I've never been that sick before and I got sick enough to where I was very scared. The lack of control and rapid deterioration was terrifying. I am still not out of my flare-up with my IBD yet, but it's gotten a lot better than it was.

What was the best thing you bought?
Even though she annoys me greatly, I'm so glad I got my kitten. She makes me laugh a lot and she loves to cuddle (when it's convenient for her). I think I've decided to name her Skid/Skidz. She skids around everywhere and is so incredibly spazzy. Skidz was also Spencer's nickname, it just really, really fits.

Whose behavior merited celebration?
Certainly not mine ;) But really? My sister tops the list on this one. She overcame a lot this year by starting therapy for her anxiety and depression. I've seen her make a lot of strides. Of course there is always set backs, but I'm beyond proud of her for pushing through and continuing on the path of improving her life. She deserves this and the hope that she now sees flickering in the distance isn't just hope for her, but for me, too.

Whose behavior made you appalled?
It's hard to name names when it's a public blog ;) and so I won't do that. But I will honestly say that my own wasn't much to be applauded on. I don't know if 'appalled' is the right word, really.. but disappointment seems to fit well.

Where did most of your money go?
Medical expenses. Thousands and thousands of dollars out of pocket went into medical expenses and are still going into them, too. Depressing, really.

What did you get really, really excited for?
This is a tough one. I don't know that I got really excited for anything, but a few things I really looked forward to was moving into my new house, starting my new job, and moving back to be closer with my family. What am I currently really excited about? Going to Vegas in January? :)

What song will always remind you of 2013?
I don't know that there is a song that will specifically make me think "oh! 2013!" but a song that was popular this year and really stands out in my mind? What Does The Fox Say. Oh jeeze that got too much popularity ;)

Compared to this last year, are you a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer? 
a) Happier. Though it's been a hard year I feel like my heart is mostly full. 2013 is ending on a better note than it began. b) Thinner. Lost so much weight from being sick! c) Poorer. So many medical bills continue to pile up.

What do you wish you'd done more of?
This is a really hard one, because I wasn't physically able to do a lot this year. But I wish I would have read more books. Went on more trips (aside from just to Kansas to visit) such as exploring places I haven't been to before. Did more in Utah while I still lived there like visiting museums, hiked, and went to places I have been wanting to go there. I wish I would have done more on my weeks off of work!

What do you wish you'd done less of?
Spending less time on my computer. Less time worrying about roommates, my future 10 years down the line. Spending less time having such a plan for anything and everything.

How did you spend Christmas?
Not too far off from the usual. On Christmas Eve we had the Sander's Christmas at my grandmas with my moms side of the family. Eating lots of food, visiting, and opening gifts. Christmas day we opened up our Santa gifts from mom and dad, spent most of the day putting together these Santa gifts, and went over to the Home where my grandpa is to celebrate the Johnson Christmas with my dads side. It was a difficult time over there because my grandpa isn't doing well and likely doesn't have more than a few weeks left with us.

Did you fall in love in 2013?
There was this boy... and I don't know if I fell in love with him, or the idea of being with him/someone. Likely I did not fall in love, but I think I have always loved him and always will, but more-so as a friend and brother and sometimes I think it's hard for me to distinguish that because I want to love someone again. I want to share my heart, my life, and my overabundance of love with a man. It's easy for me not to fall too deep too fast and too easily, I guess you could say.

What was your favorite TV Program?
I do have to say The Walking Dead. My sister and I watched it together (we're still 2 episodes behind!) and it is just brilliant! I also really love The Sing Off! I don't have TV so I don't watch a lot of shows and most of what I watch on Netflix are movies. Oh.. and Gossip Girl probably tops them all. I know, lame.. but I really got into it on Netflix and finished the last season this year. It's still a favorite!

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No, I really can't say that I do.

What was the best book you read?
It's really hard not to go back to the very last book that I read! But The Fault in Our Stars by John Green was amazing. I love his writing style. But I read so many great books, not as many as I wanted to.. but still a lot of good ones! (My Foreign Cities, Something Borrowed, The Pact, Safe Haven and etc!)

What was your greatest musical discovery?
I rediscovered a lot of artists I'd previously forgotten about, but I also discovered some new musical talent this year, too. The Icarus Account. Boyce Avenue. Alex Goot. And then there was also a lot of miscellaneous songs I found that I loved as well.

What did you want and got?
A place of my own. To feel better. A job at Dundy County Hospital in the lab. A kitten. To be physically closer to my family.

What did you want and not get?
Remission.  Insurance. To go back to Utah to visit.

What is your favorite film this year?
Les Miserables, hands down. It is spectacular and I cry every time I watch it!

What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying? 
The love and support from friends and family when I was so sick. Being closer to my sister. Getting to work again and at DCH, where I wanted to work!

What kept you sane?
Hope. I mean, really, though. The hope that I would eventually get better is probably one of the only things that got me through. My family helped, my sister helped.

Which celebrity/ public figure do you fancy the most?
Oh dear. Chace Crawford? ;) (Gossip Girl anyone?? lol)

What political issue stirred you the most?
Healthcare. No questions about that. But there were more. The little girl, Sarah Murnaghan challenging the lung allocation system. Gun control. But mostly... Healthcare.

Who do you miss?
As always, and what will come to no surprise to you, I very much miss my husband. I also miss Mary, an old co-worker from ARUP, The Soderborgs, The Riddle family, Emily Rosenthal, and I'm sure there's more I'm missing here!

Tell of a valuable experience you learned in 2013.
The biggest one I am not going to share publicly. Sorry. :) But other things? I once again learned I HAVE to be my own advocate with my health. Friends will come and go. I cannot hold on too tightly too the past because it is just that, the past.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. 
The storm is coming but I don't mind
People are dying, I close my blinds
All that I know is I'm breathing now.

But all that I know is I'm breathing
All I can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing now.

-Keep Breathing -- Ingrid Michaelson

Now for a few pictures that I feel highlight my year. It's always difficult to pick between only a few!

So that's my year. Here's to a really great 2014 with much to write about in my next Year In Review post =)

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