2016 – A Reflection

Last year when midnight rang in I was angry. I remember sitting in bed, staring out the window to the streetlight outside, feeling nothing but bitter. 2015 hit me with all that it had. In trying to make sense of that year, I found a quote that said, “Some years are questions, and some years are answers.” 2015 threw all kinds of questions and challenges at me – will I be able to get out from under this darkness, will things become stable, will our family ever grow? I desperately hoped that 2016 would be a year of answers.

So what was 2016, to me? I know 2015 was one of the hardest years I’ve had. I was grateful to see it fall away, as broken as I felt at midnight December 31, 2015. I woke up feeling shattered, still, but also, steeled. Ready to do the work to fix all the things that broke, that year. I knew it was not going to be one of those resolutions that takes care of itself, with an easy back-pat 365 days later. I knew 2015 had knocked me down hard and that I would have to put forth an effort to rebuild myself.

And that’s what this past year, 2016, turned out to be. It was a rebuilding year. It answered many of my questions and settled a lot of my anxieties. And it’s easy for me to think, well, I got pregnant and STAYED pregnant this year so it was easy to rebuild – but that’s not true. The events of 2015 left me an anxious shaky wreck, trying hard to control every little thing I could bend to my will. But I set an intention to change – to thrive instead of surviving – and I did.

I did the work to leave the hard stuff behind, when I could. I made a literal list of coping mechanisms and went through them one by one when I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I advocated for myself and assembled a team of people in my corner. Hell, I graduated from therapy this year, with my counsellor congratulating me for the way I turned things around for myself, even before I discovered I was pregnant again, and before that pregnancy stuck.

And of course, obviously, this was a growing year – literally, and figuratively. We rebuilt in so many ways, from getting a grip on the anxiety that was threatening me, to expanding our family. I will not pretend that I didn’t struggle with fear and anxiety in 2016; you all know that I did, and that pregnancy post-loss was most certainly a strain, but I also found strength in all of those experiences.

If 2015 was the year of breaking down, and 2016 was the year of finding myself in the rubble, I’m hoping that the upcoming year, 2017, will be one of stability. Of working with what we have. Of appreciating the joys that already exist in our world. Of simplification; of abundance, not in accumulating more or better, but in abundant joy. Of baby snuggles and preschooler paintings and self-care and family time and adventures and, finally, having all of what we need, right here. Of peace.

The only question I have for 2017 is this: how can we take all that we have, and make it that much better?

I am hoping, in the next few days, to delve into a final look at how 2016 went — I like to do a month by month review or I forget what happened! — and also, more on my hopes and plans for 2017. It’s slow going with a newborn, and a preschooler (and husband) at home, but all in due time.

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