So 2018 has been a weird year.
It’s been filled with the highest of highs, and yet also somehow has been overwhelmingly not-good as a whole. Even those highest of highs have been undercut by other pressures which have left me feeling at the end of the year just very… tired. I’m wholly ready to leave 2018 behind and start fresh.
Which is kind of saying something – because while I always make New Year’s Resolutions and whatnot, I never *really* see it as a fully fresh start. And this year, I’m really hoping it’s gonna be.
1) It’s been the first full year in the house. Which has been amazing. And relatively problem free considering the house is on the older side. Being in a house as opposed to an apartment and living with Jim have just been amazing all around for my sense of stability. Plus, I have a dishwasher for the first consistent time in my life – which I gotta say is one of those little things I will never stop appreciating.
2) This year we expanded our little fledgling family when we brought home Haruka. She is beyond a doubt the best decision we have ever made and fell instantly head over heels in love with her. She is a brat sometimes, but she is *our* brat and she brings so much love and joy to our lives.
3) We got engaged. Jim popped the question in August, and everything about it was so beyond perfect – and he even managed to keep it all a surprise, even given living together.
But all of those super high highs have been offest – and sometimes even directly undercut by – some seriously grinding lows. They’re not the sort of shocking, life-changing lows that I know others may have suffered through the year, but they’ve been sort of the constant, grinding kind. The kind that gradually just build and build until your endurance and your tolerance are just gone, and you have nothing left to give. The kinds of things that are always just kind of there, in the back of my mind, souring things that I should I have been throwing my whole heart into enjoying – things like making this house our home, enjoying being a first time dog-mom, basking in the bliss of being newly engaged.
I’ve always hesitated in detailing the specific low parts of things in wrap-up posts in the past, and this one will be no different. I don’t know why I always do this – I’ll write like 8 pages about all the pains and pressures, and then at the end delete it all because I feel like I’m just whining. I’m complaining about things that are small beans compared to what other people are dealing with. I’m complaining about things that are really just a result of my own mental health struggles with my anxiety disorder and that shouldn’t really be causing me this much heartache or stress.
I can convince myself that detailing them all will just sound like the pathetic whinging of a relatively privileged suburbanite who really has it much better than many. Because it almost certainly does and is. But I also can’t deny that – pathetic or small beans though they may seem to me when I take them in the big picture of the world – the reality is they had a tremendous toll on my wellbeing this year. And they’ve also been massively distracting.
And I can’t pretend that the direct result of that wasn’t my 2018 being generally shitty in a lot of ways. I didn’t meet goals. I spent a lot of time fretting and worrying. I spent a lot of time being angry, and feeling helpless in paralyzed in the face of it. I failed at just about all of my New Year’s Resolutions. I spent a lot of time awake at night, worrying about finances, or Haruka’s health, or wedding planning, or just generally being too overwhelmed for my brain to relax enough to sleep.
I spent a great deal of time just being exhausted.
So I’m really hoping that 2019 can sort of be a bit of a reset button for me.
I know the mere change of the year isn’t going to all of a sudden fix a lot of the external issues. Current events aren’t going to get less maddening, politics will not get less offensive or outraging. I will still have a wedding to plan on a shorter timeline than most, and my finances will not be any better. My house will not suddenly clean itself as the date changes over, nor will I suddenly be better at all the things I struggle with.
But maybe I can use it as a trigger to at the very least adjust my attitude. The date change can trigger a starting point for me to start pulling my life together a little more competently.
And to help me do that, I’m not making a whole lot of specific goals for this year. It hasn’t really worked well in years past. I’ve continued to make them anyway because I’ve felt like the progress I make towards them is generally positive – but this year I think setting a lot of specific goals might be a bit limiting in terms of the steps I take, and a bit distracting.
And so this year, as we move into 2019 I only have three goals:
1) Keep Reading
I’m keeping this specific goal mainly because it’s the one goal I’ve actually been able to do consistently in the past two years. And honestly? It just makes me feel good. And I need more things that make me feel good.
I didn’t meet my Goodreads Challenge of 52 books in 2018, but I got through a respectable 35. And honestly, if I pushed myself and powered through some of my manga and graphic novels over the last few days, I could have gotten that total up, but I just didn’t feel like it.
So I’m going to keep reading. I’m going to set my Goodreads Challenge at 52 again and see how I do. I’m going to delight in the little rush of endorphins that I get after I finish a new book and see that total tick up, but I’m also not going to beat myself up if I fall behind or don’t make it to the full 52. Because as long as I’m still reading for enjoyment, all is well.
2) Buckle Down on Language Studies
Learning a second language has been something I’ve wanted to do basically since we were first introduced to language study way back in 7th grade. But it’s also something that takes practice, consistency, and plain-old persistence.
I did really well in traditional structured classes – I actually almost achieved a functional fluency in Spanish by the time I graduated college… almost. But since leaving, I’ve lost it all. And self-study has been a struggle. Languages have never really come easily to me. I need constant maintenance, constant reinforcement or else it’s all gone. And since leaving structured classes, that consistency has never been something that’s easy for me to achieve. I’ll study it intensely and make a ton of progress for like two months – and then busy season will kick in and before you know it I haven’t touched anything in weeks and when I finally get back to it, everything is gone.
I’ve gained and lost everything in the two languages I want to work on – Japanese and Spanish – more times than I can count.
And so this year, this will be my one very specific goal. I want to try to really buckle down, make some progress, and not lose it. Utilizing the Duolingo app I think will help, and I’ve got some plans for accountability using Instagram that I’ll probably be sharing sometime next week. So if language learning is also on your goal list for 2019, keep your eye out for that, and let’s all work together to keep ourselves working on it!
3) Get my shit together.
This is the biggie this year. And I’ve left it purposely big and purposely vague, because there’s a lot of different things in my life that just simply need adjustment, and I want to have the freedom to try things and change tack if I need to. I need to get my financial shit together, I need to get my organizational shit together, I need to get my physical shit together… I need to get all my shit, and I need to get it together.
Why is this the direction I’m taking it? What exactly do I mean by this? Well, basically SO MUCH of my stress in 2018 was, if not directly caused by feeling like the edges of everything were fraying, very much exacerbated by that feeling. To use a metaphor, I’m just juggling way too many balls, and not doing it particularly well. So I constantly feel like everything is this frantic panic to keep everything in the air. So I need to do one of two things: I need to cut down on the number of balls, or I need to get better at juggling.
And my aim here is to do both.
Now, exactly how I’m going to do that is still kind of a work in progress. I’ve got about two big projects that are on the docket for January, but after those are accomplished, we’ll see where we are and determine where to go from there.
And hopefully the result will be a much better 2019.
How was your 2018? What are your goals for the New Year?