Sunday, December 31, 2017

Notes from a year named Illuminate: Epilogue

2017 came on the heels of what felt like a hard, cracked-earth kind of personal year (2016 had been named Thrive.) It was a hard year for everyone, but it was hard for me because I left something—someone toxic behind. As I choose to name 2017 Illuminate, I knew that it was also going to shine on the shadowy parts of me... make me have to examine them.

There were chunks of 2018 that were one trigger after another, a continuous deep breath and stop to determine why I was jumping, furious or terrified, at those shadows. It has been a year of learning there is a lot that was not good or actively harmful in the years before this. A year of coming to understand that healing isn't a thing one does once and is done—it takes time and hard work, and then one has to keep doing it.

Maybe what I have at the end of this year is a deeper understanding of how the past can be the past, but it irrevocably informs the present. It conditions one to see certain shapes in those shadows. To see those shadows behind other people.

The job that I took in March offered me a promotion in early December, a recognition of my knowledge and expertise. Informally the team had been coming to me, and the promotion was to formalize what the company recognized was already happening. There are some uncertainties around this heading into the new year, but we're going to be all right. Their faith in me is sometimes alarming, mostly because it helps me understand what a lack of support there was from management at my previous employer.

This year instead of tracking words, I tracked days. 181 of them. That's how often I made time to write, to work on words whether it resulted in 35 or 3000.  And I finished a draft. It's not the draft I intended to finish, but it's the one closer to getting me somewhere in publishing. I feel like it's the same draft I finish every year for the past four, but I'm saying it counts because that decision belongs to me. I'm currently on a read through of the draft, so I can share with people in January.

Starting tomorrow, with the brand new year, I begin working on a brand new project. The goal is to complete it in 2018. I'm trying to remain ambitious, but at least realistic about what I can accomplish. That's another thing I learned this year, my frustrations come from being someone who thrives on accomplishing goals. When the goalposts are constantly being re-evaluated, it makes me bonkers. I've set a goal that should be attainable and then through factors and other people it can't be attained, which results in me feeling like those people are obstacles instead of resources.

It's not a thing I enjoy about myself, and it requires more than knowing it's there. But I'm actively managing it in a way I couldn't last year.

I also took 2017 off blogging. I don't know if I'm coming back to it. It's time and words that I found more helpful to put into actual writing. But I look at entries from previous years, discussing what I learned, and chronicling my progress is helpful. What's left to decide is the best way to do that.

I wish I believed that January 1st gave us all a hard reset, but I'm not sure that I do anymore. It's more it's that we get our allotted damns for the year back, and that we have permission to evaluate where we are going to keep putting them.

I hope you are warm, well-rested, and that you send off 2017 the way of your choosing. See you in 2018.