(‘cuz it’s weird. and it makes me laugh.)
So…2016…that was weird, eh?
I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about how to encapsulate 2016, and I’ve got nothing. It was weird in our country. It was weird in the world. Our weather was weird. There was the zoo/Harambe thing. Kim Kardashian’s robbery. And, you guys! The Queen did not go to Christmas! I could go on, but I’m guessing you get the point because the general consensus I’m hearing out “there” is that it was pretty weird for everyone, not just me.
I don’t like to be all “good-riddancy,” though, because it’s not like everything happened to me. I had lots of opportunities to exercise my own sense of agency to create a future of my choosing. Rather than playing the victim card, I decided the best way for me to wrap up 2016 would be a critical review of the major decisions I made throughout the year. Which sounds entirely the opposite of riveting, but I promise it won’t be wholly revolting. Think more along the lines of “Senior Superlatives” than Public Television political analysis.
So here they are…my best and worst (and everything in betweens) decisions of 2016:
most fun decision || starting a bullet journal. For those of you who think I’m talking about firearm bullets, I’m not. 😉 You can read more here. It’s a fun decision for me because I like making lists and charts and I like doodles, but it’s also fun because it means I have a system in which to offload all the clutter in my head and get it organized so I can act on it. I’ve tried to be a planner person, and I’m not. The predefined pages and spaces just don’t suit me. I’ve tried to be an app person, and I’m not that, either. The physical act of writing does something in my brain that isn’t replicated by punching touchscreen keys. This has been my favorite solution by far, and the one I’ve stuck with the longest, too.
biggest risk that paid off || deciding to homeschool Gabe. Oh my gosh, was this ever a gamble! Although I prepped all spring and summer, we didnt pull the final trigger until the last possible moment (i.e. we didn’t withdraw him from public school), and making that phonecall was positively terrifying. Because of the Wisconsin school system rules, we’d been able to enroll him in a school that wasn’t in our own district. However, withdrawing him meant he lost his place permanently and if we wanted to go back, we’d have to reapply to the lottery system. I cried the first week of school thinking about what we’d done. But it didn’t take long to settle into a comfortable rhythm, and I’ve seen such an increase in joy and peace in our family. It’s hard, hard work and I’m not sure homeschooling is the perfect solution (or the forever solution) for our issues, but it was a good choice for now, and it feels good to say that because I truly wasn’t sure I’d get to the end of 2016 feeling that way.
biggest risk that didn’t pay off || taking a low-interest loan to pay off some higher interest debt. I mean, that’s not bad in and of itself, but we’d decided to take it for a shorter term making our payments more aggressive. A few months later, I unexpectedly lost my job. Globalization…cheaper labor…<wah wah> The job loss actually ended up being an okay thing for me. For one–and a huge thing at that–I get so much more sleep. I am way less crazy and cranky and zombie-ish. For another, homeschooling during the day and working in the evenings meant no time was my own, even just to read a book or catch up on a house project. But it was hard to lose the monthly income, especially in light of how we had structured our finances earlier in the year
biggest regret || this is a toss-up for me. It’s either writing or photography, both of which I hardly did at all in 2016. When I look back at the stories I recorded and the pictures I took of Gabe when he was a preschooler, I’m sad that I don’t have the same level of detail for Isla and Jude.
most surprising decision || I mean, it’s not totally surprising; it’s more surprising in the sense that we’d been talking about it for 12 years and we finally got around to doing it! And by “it,” I mean we bought a new mattress! We knew we needed one when Gabe was born because he’d lay beside me in bed and roll to the center on his own, long before he was ever capable of rolling over independently. After copious hours of (probably needless) research, we settled on a Tuft and Needle, and MY BED IS SO COMFY!!! And better yet, MY BACK HURTS SO MUCH LESS!!! I can’t speak for how it compares to other mattresses on the market, but when I compare it to a 16 year old mattress that was 12 years past its prime, it is a huge win!
overall worst decision || wearing pyjamas too much. I know…it sounds lame. But there was a stretch in December where Tahd was gone for 2 weeks, and I think I got dressed less than 5 times. <insert blushing emoji here> When Gabe was little, I got dressed every day. In fact, that was one of the earliest lessons I recall learning about motherhood. Gabe wasn’t even a month old and Tahd had come home from work for lunch to find an anxious, crying ball of chaos–me, not the baby. Looking at me in my bedhead and bathrobe he pressed me, “Go take a shower. You’ll feel a hundred times better if you do!” He spoke truth then, and it’s still true now. If I run around in my PJs all day, I can hardly get out of my own way and I get nothing done. There’s something about getting myself ready for the day (even if it doesn’t happen until after lunch) that strikes a much better tone in my mind. I need to do that more often in 2017. Which also may mean I need to stay more on top of the laundry situation, but I digress…
overall best decision || attending Making Things Happen. It’s quite an investment and I’d bought my ticket before I lost my job, which was a good thing because I never would have purchased the ticket had I known what was coming down the pike. But I’m so, so glad I did. I went to the October conference and have been trying to write a post since then about my experience, but the words elude me. Something happened down deep inside me, but I’m still not exactly sure what it was. All I can say is it was transformative, and the investment of that weekend still feeds my soul three months later. I’d love to go again this fall.
So that’s me and 2016. I guess we’ll see where 2017 takes me!