Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 Was More Than Just Okay

Here we are at the beginning of another new year. Just as a birthday does, this time of year leaves me surprised and wondering, "where did the time go?" Another year, just flying by.

This time of year, my facebook feed is filled with the many wonderful accomplishments that my friends and family have experienced over the last year. And I enjoy reading them. It's fun to look back on a year and review the accomplishments and good fortune one might have had. Over the last couple of years, I have also learned this: We tend to focus our accomplishments on the big life changes and experiences. These include things such as graduations, weddings and the birth of children. They may also involve things such as purchasing a home or moving as well as starting a new career or job or even just getting a promotion. Sometimes, though, a year (or many years) may go by that we don't experience these major life events. And so then, to some, it may feel the year was just okay.  Not me. Life is too short for that.

Here's what my 2014 was like:

- I lived for 365 days: And I would say most of these days were really good.

- I went to work for a vast majority of those days: While I don't necessarily love the fact that I  worked the majority of the days this year, I love that I have a good job that allows me to critically think and use my nursing skills. I love that by going to work, I'm able to help provide for my family.

- My husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary: No, this also doesn't happen to be a "major" anniversary. But the 10th, for example, wouldn't be as special if we skipped the 7th, right? My husband and I grew as a couple. We learn that there are great times and challenging times and we continue to enjoy the good times and work through the tough.

- I spent a year raising two wonderful children: I watched my youngest child turn 2 and my oldest turn 4. They had many accomplishments (some big and some small) and lots of firsts and milestones that were met. I find that my children's accomplishments are also my own. Not because I necessarily have anything to do with them, but just because it is joyous to watch. The girls actually had too many milestones and accomplishments to list but I'll try to name a few. Amelia became potty trained, moved into a toddler bed and is becoming more and more independent while still insisting she is "a little baby." She is learning her colors, shapes, her ABCs and how to count. She learned how to jump. Amelia had her first experience on a boat and her first camping trip (both of which she loved!). Autumn began doing preschool lessons with me at home 3-4 days a week. She is doing very well at writing her letters and learning to draw as well as learning patterns, basic math and starting to sound out words and do some pre-reading. She learned how to ride a bike with training wheels. Autumn decided she wanted to be a dentist when she grows up. Both girls became huge fans of Frozen (no, this is not an accomplishment but it was a pretty big part of their lives at this point in time). They both had their very first experience with Disney on Ice. And both girls started tumbling class and are loving to do flips and jumps. And they made us laugh and amazed us and allowed us to just plain enjoy life.

- My kids got sick a lot: Okay this part is not okay at all, it's actually really bad. But it was so significant, that I want to make sure I include it. My oldest had her first GI bug at 15 months (coincidentally, just weeks after I stopped nursing her) and had antibiotics for the first time shortly after turning 2. Seriously, like 2 significant illnesses her first 2 years of life. We had that many illnesses last month! I don't know if it's simply because there are two of them to share each others germs or because there are more kids at day care that also go to school or a combo of both but they have been sick a LOT. They both had 2-3 GI bugs, hand foot and mouth disease and the flu (despite vaccination). The baby had a couple random high fevers with no other symptoms and 2 upper respiratory infections that led to wheezing episodes (one lasting 10 days). If I'm looking on the bright side, I can say that at least they were never hospitalized. And, hopefully, they have built up some immunity so fewer sick days later, right? I can hope!

I finished knitting the baby's blanket: This might seem really small but I started the blanket when I was a few months pregnant. I got very swollen and knitting became painful. After the birth of my baby, I developed tendonitis and knitting (as well as opening a door) became impossible. My wrist has finally healed and after working on it for almost 3 years, I was finally able to finish the blanket which I gave to Amelia on Christmas morning. The blanket is made from a yarn that is blue, green and white. I had no idea when I was carrying my baby that blue and green would be her favorite colors but it makes it that much more special now.

- We experienced the trip of a lifetime: This one may actually fit into the "major" life events. It's not as big as a wedding or a baby or even a new home or a promotion but it was, for us, a once in a lifetime opportunity. My husband and I went on our first trip without kids (and our first time spending more than 1 night away from them). We learned that there are some beautiful and amazing parts of this world and while we got the opportunity to see 3 wonderful cities, we have a whole lot more to see. I also learned that even while on vacation without kids, I cannot turn off being a mom. I could not stop thinking of them frequently and missing them terribly. I had hoped being away would have been easier than it was. I also now know that while it's hard to be away, it's also really healthy.

I learned a lot about myself: Some of the things I learned I like and some I don't like so much. I decided to work on and improve some of the things I don't like (that I have control over). I also spent some time thinking about my goals and my dreams. I realized that I have some really big dreams and that I need to start following them. 

So, that was my 2014. And I have to say I think it was more than just okay. And here is to another wonderful year. If it happens to bring with it some amazing new accomplishments or life events, that's great! But if it doesn't, than that's also more than just okay too.