It sounds so cliche to say, but 2015 really did FLY by. To be honest, I’m ready to leave it behind. It was a year of growth — personal + professional. A year of learning to accept that sometimes awful stuff happens and there isn’t really a damn thing you can do about it. But more importantly, it was a year that I became very confident in who I am as a person — who I am as a daughter, partner, sister, aunt and employee.
2014 was a year of taking chances and believing in myself. For pushing the limits. For doing things I never thought possible.
This year has been 365 days of hard work, tears, laughter and learnings. Here’s a look back on what I’ve taken away from it.
Death is like a shipwreck.
2015 was filled with deaths — both unexpected and expected. I am rational enough to know that this is the circle of life, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I lost one Grandpa to suicide on my birthday this year, another to alzheimer’s in the summer. A good friend of mine’s brother took his life at a place where we all consider to be our safe haven, the lake.
I stumbled across this article a few weeks after my Grandpa’s passing, and it helped me cope more than anything else I have ever read.
As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.
In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.
Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.
Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.
Now that it’s December, I can look back and not get knots in my stomach when I think of going to work the day after my birthday. I can look back be comforted by the memories and my family — whom have been the biggest emotional support of this year. Death is inevitable, and it hurts really fucking bad for the people left behind. But, looking back I would do it all over again for those people truly do leave footprints on your heart.
Work Hard and Be Nice To People
It’s pretty simple. Work hard and pour yourself into the things you are passionate about. Work hard even when the work is HARD — when it’s difficult to wake up and do it all over again. Be nice to people — even if they are not nice to you, their reaction probably has nothing to do with you anyways.
It will pay off. Stop looking for the ‘next thing’ and just enjoy where you are in life. Keep working hard. Keep being nice to people. It all will work out.
Don’t Be Afraid To Spend Out
Let it be known that I am a planner. A saver. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary and perform extensive research before making a decision. This year, I decided to throw caution to the wind and SPEND OUT.
I bought myself a new car (and said goodbye to my beloved 2000 Honda Accord with 240k miles on it), We headed to Costa Rica and had the time of our lives. We adopted an adorable GSP puppy named Zeke.
You can’t take money with you when you go, so why not invest it in things that make you HAPPY?
and… on that note.
Being a Puppy Momma is the Best Thing in the World
Ian and I adopted an 8-week old German Shorthaired Pointer the week before Christmas and BOY has it already been a ride. It’s been the best, most rewarding and HARDEST thing we’ve done.
From waking up at 3am for potty breaks, to hearing him howl when it’s time for us to leave the house. From Zeke learning to ‘SIT’ and cuddling us whenever we sit down. It’s been by far the best thing that we have done. He’s my little buddy.