that’s a wrap on the holiday season of twenty twenty two. it came & it went. all in what felt like a blink. some years, it feels like the magic lasts a lifetime. other years, it feels like it literally drifts in and out in the same breath. for whatever reason, this particular season didn’t feel a certain way for me. i tried for weeks to put my finger on it. maybe i needed some time off from work. maybe i needed to sit in a quiet space for like an hour. or maybe i just needed like fifteen minutes of free time to gather my thoughts. either way, my winter break started off rather chaotically and quickly became very overwhelming. my mental health and my brain were just kinda spiraling. i kept plugging in the word ‘holiday’ in an effort to try to trick myself into some kind of better place. but the reality is that i was unable to really get out of this funk. this space that felt all too familiar. one that i had spent some time in during the earlier days of chemo and even in the immediate moments after my mastectomy and sometimes even just on a random thursday in survivorship. there’s this immense invisible pressure; to have a plan. to have all these things checked off and figured out. i always feel like i am in this race against everyone. this societal game where i need to have more and more figured out every single time the calendar starts ticking down the days til january first. a new year. ugh. there is something about it that just doesn’t feel like a fresh start. that this massive weight is bearing down on me. that at thirty four- i am still navigating everything. finances, relationships, goals, my health, my brain, cancer, my brain, survivorship, friendships. and all the roles that i carry- making sure they are all fulfilled and satisfied. that i am not letting anyone down; even if it means letting myself down. it’s a lot. and i know, i know. you’re probably thinking it’s as easy as just saying no or just letting stuff go or my favorite- not filling your plate so much. but the reality is that everything on my plate and in my brain is important to me. it’s mine and it’s valuable and it’s not as easy as just layering it into some other basket off to the side. or neglecting it altogether. that’s not me. that just isn’t who i am. and the past few years have held a lot of growth. measurable in my opinion. and there is much realization in how much i have done in these past few years. but it’s hard for me to say the same about twenty twenty two.
and it is really easy to be hard on myself as this year comes to a close. because i didn’t accomplish any of the shit on my original resolution or goal list for this year. not a single thing. and i really mean that. this was the year that it was all supposed to come together. a surgery. better health. picking up the remaining pieces. but in reality, as we finish out the remaining few days of this year- i am feeling like a failure. and not just because of some weak resolution list that’s buried in a landfill at this point. but because i didn’t feel that incredible spark that typically comes when a new year is about to begin. it’s usually this massive opportunity to start over again. and maybe it’s because my brain is just feeling like it’s on overload. or maybe it’s because the joyful holiday spirit just kinda fell apart this year. maybe it’s because i still feel like this world isn’t mine. that i wasn’t built for this. for all the stuff that i still wanna do but have to do it in this body, with this brain; and this stamina. maybe it’s because i keep trying to catch up and it feels like something always comes to undo all my hard work. i feel so pressured to lose weight, buy a house, invest in the stocks, join a gym, find a hobby, make a career leap, make more money, pay off debt. but in reality- i just wanna clean out my closets and organize the cheese drawer in my fridge. i want my dog to come home when i call for him and i want a private chef to make dinner every day. i want this new doctoral program to be manageable and for everyone to stop asking about how i can make it into a career. i want the pressure to be lifted. that existing is okay. no. more than okay. that being here, right now, in this moment is actually good. because that’s what works for this brain of mine. after being in a trauma induced space for so long.
it needs to be okay to just be present. to just be here. not in twenty twenty three making astronomical plans. not in june, planning what might be my greatest idea yet. not in five years from now. just right now. relishing in the joy that is getting to today. getting to this point. getting to a place where it’s okay that my savings account went to the veterinary emergency room last weekend. that i have five hundred and twelve dollars worth of southwest flight credits but they are not the vibe right now. that i am feeling overwhelmed by my own possessions and don’t know where to begin in the decluttering. that i am not sure when i will be able to own a home. and that i am still paying off medical debt. that it is okay to be in a place where- well, where things just aren’t one hundred percent figured out. or one hundred percent packed with joy. to be in a place where the spirits didn’t feel as bright this time around. to be in a space where the anxiety was a little high and the coping mechanisms were a little weak. where things just didn’t go my way. and that’s okay. and it’s also okay that i am not really jumping for joy at the freshness of a new year. because it comes with a lot of other pressures. and right now, i just want to be happy and settled in this space.
twenty twenty two had its highs and its lows. i even wrote them out in an effort to push my brain into a bigger gratitude space. because the big picture should include the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. weather forecasts are not strictly sunshine and rainbows. so here’s the highlight reel of twenty two:
january: welcomed twenty twenty two in nebraska with my bestie
february: one year in remission! got my first nose piercing!
march: five year wedding anniversary ✨
april: recurrence scare number three but all clear!
may: girls weekend at the lake!
june: summer break! reunited with my bestie!
july: twelve day road trip with amazing friends & our five year vow renewal! bestie graduated nursing school!
august: surgery is rescheduled. year 12 in the classroom starts!
september: peppa pig surprise! COVID19 booster shot
october: recurrence scare number four but all clear! celebrated my thirty fourth birthday
november: accepted to a new PhD program!
december: new position at work in leadership and blessed to work with an incredible team after a tough start to the school year. harley caught pneumonia at school. missing my bestie as my nebraska trip was cancelled.
it was a busy year. no doubt. filled with lots of everything. it was busy. it was disappointing. it was fun. it was wild. it was expensive. it was full of love and friendships and traveling. it was filled with emotion and lessons. it was a turning point in a lot of ways. it forced me into uncomfortable places and scary spaces. it was filled with more health navigating and more scans than i would like to see in twenty three. it was a year. i didn’t hit any major goals. i didn’t check off any major milestones. but i did okay. and it’s okay that it wasn’t the most joyful of years. it’s okay that it felt a little less fireworks and parade filled than other years. and it’s definitely okay to just be feeling okay about the new year approaching.
make a list. or don’t make a list. set goals. don’t set goals. do whatever works for you. survive. thrive. do what makes you happy. don’t be so hard on yourself. this year was hard. trust me, i know. but remember that joy is not a requirement. it’s not a checklist item. it’s just something that comes and goes. and it’s okay if things are just okay right now. there is joy to come. there is joy in the next season. we can create it. we can manifest it. we can be our own joy.
happy new year babes.