It’s almost funny to me now when I look back at my 2017 recap post that I thought it had been a somewhat trying year. I guess 2018 figured I still had a few more lessons to learn…

A lot of people choose one word/phrase mantras for their years instead of a list of resolutions. If I look back at 2017 I’d say my phrase was “treading water” – I didn’t really get where that I wanted to (in my career life or personal life) and if I look at that year really critically (as I’ve been known to do) it’s because I was so busy just keeping my head above water trying to balance work, blog, freelance, relationships that I didn’t have a chance to dig deeper and do the work that would have resulted in real changes.

If I look back at 2018 I’d say my phrase was “drowning”. Like a slow culmination, early into the start of this year – my life began to slowly break down. My company downsized and went through multiple rounds of lay-offs. My position was spared but seeing colleagues that had become friends pack their things was not easy nor was living with the fear that I could be next. I struggled with health – emotional, physical and financial. One of my closest relationships shattered in ways I hadn’t thought possible and left me unsure of how to move forward without it. I spent my birthday at my grandfather’s funeral for god sakes. For the first time in my adult life I felt really truly lost. There were a lot of days that just getting up and going to work felt unsurmountable. And a lot of nights that ended in tears.

As I look ahead to 2019 I’d like to think my word will be “swimming”. I’m not going to be arrogant enough to set a goal of where I’m swimming towards (although I’m hoping it’s a sunny little island called happiness) – but the point is that I’ll have my head above water and I won’t be doing the backstroke. 2018 taught me that I have zero control over a lot of factors in life, but it also reminded me that I have complete control of myself. In the second half of 2018 I joined a gym again. I started writing just for fun. I devoured books again the way I used to before I let my life get too busy for it. I posted less on my blog (turns out the world didn’t come to a screeching halt). I had the difficult conversations I’d been avoiding since 2017. I loosened my grip on the past and opened my arms (just a little) to embrace the unknown of the future. In the second half of 2018 I came to the realization that at the end of the day – even if my life turns out absolutely nothing like I had imagined – I’ll be able to keep going. I know how to swim.

While I hope that your year didn’t have quite as much heartache as mine did at times – I also hope that you were able to garner some valuable lessons from it regardless. One of my favorite quotes this time of year:

“There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston

I feel ready to write in a few of my own answers in 2019.