2018: looking back

Skipped the writing recap for week 52, since it was time to put together a mini 2018 retrospective anyway. Besides, spent most of last week hanging out at the dads, so I did not do much writing, although I did look over feedback and make notes to myself.

So, here’s a quick review of 2018.

Memories
– Got a touch of Lasik. My BIL Sam did it, then Adam did it, and then I figured, fuck it, I’ll do it too. Being able to see really emphasizes how much I couldn’t see before (duh, I guess). Like, did you know that depth perception is a thing? I only did Lasik in my left eye, since the vision in my right is pretty darn good. It was totally worth it, took much less time than I anticipated, and was painless.
– Some of my friends from residency visited me in St. Louis! It was lovely to see everyone again (though we all missed our friend Mark). This really drove home for me the idea that I actually do need friends.
– Adam and I took a trip to Europe with my family. We cruised down the Canal de Garonne on a barge and ate way too much food and drank way too much wine. It was excellent.

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So. very. green.

– Adam and I took a little excursion to Amsterdam as part of the Europe trip, and we both got tattoos. I was pumped to get a new piece, and this one has some symbolism for me of rebirth and renewal — it felt like a way to mark my transition from my previous doctor life to this one now. (Shout out again to Pablo Sanchez and Ink District Amsterdam for being so amazing!)

– I got to go to PAX for the first time. It was intense and overwhelming and fun to be around so. many. people. who share one of your interests. I’m glad that I went. Not totally sure I need to go again (it was a lot), but it was a good experience.
– I got to meet Mary Robinette Kowal! She was incredibly gracious and nice. Hopefully I didn’t squee too hard at her.
– Diana and I organized the first-ever Bscotch Shenanicon, and it was a huge success! And we did it in like six weeks. (Or something like that. I don’t know. Time runs together.)

Successes
– Continued process improvement. I’ve developed a pretty solid framework/structure for myself now. I’ve improved a lot in terms of writing consistently (and writing consistency, really).
– Had several painful but extremely elucidating and necessary person and interpersonal revelations.
Won NaNo again.
– Joined a writer’s meetup and started to make some connections.
Put together a sewing space and finally got a bit more organized.
– Kept a bullet journal for the entire year. It was super helpful (and occasionally onerous). Selection of month cover pages below. I’m doing it again in 2019, though maybe with a little less detailing.

 

Making Progress
– I have trouble with the difference between holding myself accountable for things I want to do and self-flagellation/punishment. I’m working on figuring this out, but it’s a more thorny and painful process than I originally anticipated.
– I still have trouble returning awkward to sender and calling stuff out. Confrontation is hard, guys.
– I still sometimes drift towards distracting dopamine drips and activities that bring little to no value to my life because they are easy to lose time to. I tend to do this particularly when I am being avoidant towards something I know I need to do, and also particularly when it’s something I feel really insecure about.
– I have so much crippling self-sabotaging self-doubt, and I’m not totally sure what to do about it. There’s a lot of self-esteem stuff there carried forward over decades. There’s a lot of impostor syndrome stuff. I’m still figuring out how to address it.

Lessons
Some of the lessons from last year still apply, driven home and refined a bit over the course of this year.

  • Progress is incremental. But small steps are still progress and it’s important to acknowledge them as such.
  • Process is constant.
    • Re-evaluation and reflection are key. (i.e. Not doing morning pages really doesn’t work for me, and I should stop testing that out.)
    • Entropy is relentless, but that’s okay. The work is hard. It’s supposed to be hard. And that’s okay too.
  • Honesty and kindness both start with yourself.
    • Letting go of something requires acknowledging it. Even if it’s painful. Especially if it’s painful.

A lot of things have changed this year. I feel like I’m still learning how to settle into this new life. The support and encouragement that I’ve received has been invaluable and more necessary than I realized. I am so, so grateful.

It’s helped me learn a couple of new lessons.

  • I don’t have to do everything alone. Community and connection and help are important.
  • But also, I am capable of much more than I give myself credit for.