2018 Highlights

Twenty eighteen was a good year for me, for mine. After a handful of extremely rough years, 2018 turned out to be a much needed breath of fresh air. Here are a list of things that worked to make that so:

  1. Hope – I picked a Word of the Year this year and Hope was it. Hope that things could get better for my family and myself. Hope that opportunities I couldn’t yet see were out there. Hope that possibility might once again enter our lives. In January we got an unexpected $1300 tax refund when we really needed it. That’s when I felt reminded that holding out hope really can change things. That there is possibility in the world, even when we can’t conceive of it. I held onto hope throughout the year as we watched our house fall back into foreclosure, as unpaid debts limited our life choices. I clung to hope as Tony interviewed for a great new job. I let myself feel it even when it was scary or downright irrational. Hope got me through this year and through hope (and work and luck and privilege) I’ve found myself in a better place than I’ve been in a very long time.
  2. Stability – I can’t say I’ve exactly achieved stability, per se. But I have prioritized and striven for stability for the past year. I’ve stayed home to save money and chosen predictable (if dull) over exciting and risky. When your whole world has fallen apart (recently, not-so-recently, or ever) it’s amazing the sense of safety and security one must attain before being able to piece things back together. Not drinking, for the most part, this year played deeply into the sense of stability I’ve felt.
  3. Structure – I’ve known for a long time that structure is good for me, but this year I was able to lean into the walls around my life (you can find their blueprints in my calendar) and let them support me instead of fighting against or resenting them. No, I don’t happily jump out of bed each morning–at all–but I know that when I am where I’m supposed to be that my days and weeks and life go a lot better.
  4. Ginger – They got me a cat for Mother’s Day. A tiny orange kitten to be exact. My first cat in fifteen years. I’m smitten. We all are. The small dog included.
  5. Iowa – In August we went back to Iowa with Tony’s mom to celebrate her 60th birthday and visit Tony’s dad’s family. We hadn’t made it back to Iowa since 2011 and words fail to describe the feelings of re-connecting with everyone.
  6. Project Management – I’ve been positioning myself at work to take Project Management courses since early 2017. In the fall of this year I was able to take the full four courses to complete my Project Management certification through Portland State University. It was the most applicable-to-my-work training I’ve done to date and I feel immensely lucky that my positioning worked out with life and luck and privilege.
  7. Home – We almost lost our house this year. And we think we saved it for good/for the time being, however life should have it. I know I can’t predict the future. But feeling a sense of security and safety in our current housing situation is a huge improvement over earlier this year and previous years. There also aren’t words to describe the impending doom of an eviction. What living with that does to you.
  8. Federal Funding – My job is funded through a federal grant at work. This year we got re-funded an additional two years. That’s two more years of a steady job for me. Had that not happened my year would be ending on a very different note with likely a lot more fear and uncertainty. As it is, I have a lot [two years] of job security right now and that feels good. Now we need to keep our government open and re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act so things keeps moving.
  9. September – September was a great month for me in my mental health advocacy side work. I was featured in the Ask the Question Project and a video of me telling my story was used at the NAMI Clackamas annual gala.
  10. Tony and I – Since we survived 2017, we were able to come together to ensure our family made it through 2018, and began looking at what thriving might mean in 2019. We found a new couples counselor. We saw her half the year. We’re putting a lot of work and effort into this. And it’s showing.

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