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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

A Happy New Year Holiday Newsletter from Me

Happy New Year (a couple days early, depending on when you’re reading this)! I hope 2022 was a decent year for you and, if it wasn’t, I hope these past few days have given you a chance to decompress, reflect, and clear the air for a more promising 2023.

This past year I stepped back from DW and haven’t regretted that decision though just recently I have felt a tug to spend a little more time here, and so in 2023 I think that’s what I’ll do. Don’t expect daily postings again, but I do anticipate a little more regular posting than you saw this year, and I’ll be popping in on the forums more regularly, too. As always, please feel free to send requests for advice my way, and if you’re on Instagram, you can follow me there as well. I’m thinking about doing sort of “flash advice posts” on IG – similar to the shortcuts columns you’ve seen here – where I’ll answer short questions with short replies. So keep an eye out for that.

In my personal life, 2022 saw a number of new-to-me experiences: In February, my fam traveled to Grand Cayman where we swam with stingrays and enjoyed many hours at the swim-up bar just outside our condo; I finally visited Philadelphia on a girl’s weekend with a friend of mine (who wrote this and this and this); in late June just after school got out, the fam visited Acadia National Park where we hiked a whole bunch and “glamped” in the fanciest tent I’ve ever slept in; and in July I visited Montreal for the first time with a bunch of friends to celebrate my pal’s 50th birthday. There were also repeat visits to see family in Missouri and friends in Chicago and Louisville, Kentucky, and in November we celebrated my sister’s wedding in Miami. (Don’t ask me how many of my flights were cancelled this year!) After making up for a couple of quiet years spent mainly at home, I’m ready to do a little less air travel this year.

In addition to visiting new (and old) places, other new experiences this year included: doing a 100-day creativity challenge and discovering a love of drawing flowers; a whole month of grand jury duty; and taking up a part-time side gig cat-sitting neighbor cats. (My own sweet boy, Miles, is hanging in there at 17-1/2, but in preparation for the day he’s no longer with us, I thought taking on some cat-sitting clients would be a nice transition so that when I no longer have my own cat, I can continue enjoying the company of other cats in my life.) In October, I also started running regularly again after getting sidelined in 2020 and not really picking it back up until now. I ran only my second-ever race as an adult earlier this month and didn’t come in last place (I was right in the middle of the pack). Next up: a 10K and we’ll see how that goes and if I want to try for something longer after that.

There was also a lot of illness in my household throughout the year: multiple rounds of Covid; RSV; Norovirus; and coughing fits that lasted many weeks. I’m hopeful 2023 will bring less sickness, more healing. In fact, my word for this coming year – a sort of North Star I hope guides me through the next 12 months – is “healing.” The past three years have been… a lot. Is it totally naive of me to hope this year brings a little more ease? Maybe. But hope I will.

In 2022, my kids especially brought me a lot of joy. They are 11 and 7 now – we are well past the baby/toddler/preschool/kindergarten stages and solidly in the middle-age stage of kid years, where I feel much more comfortable and confident as a parent. (A highlight this year was at Jackson’s elementary school graduation where he was one of just a couple of the 100+ graduates who went up to the mic and thanked their parents for all their love and support; my heart almost burst.) It took ten whole years to get here – nearly two of which were pandemic years where we were all home together around the clock losing our goddamn minds – but now that we’re here, it feels a little like a new lease on life. If you are in the throes of parenting young kids and suffocating under the weight of all that, here’s your reminder that this stage will pass and on the other side: kids who happily write their thank you cards without needing to be nagged for days on end; conversations about all the deep-marrow life stuff with people who are only just starting to think about these things; kids who can make their own snacks (!). It’s all right there, waiting on the other side of the diapers and sleepless nights and messy meals, so hang in there. And enjoy the sweet baby toes while you can!

Anyway, I guess this post turned into an old-school proper newsletter like the ones my parents used to get from family friends in their holiday cards. If you’re in the mood, share your own in the comments. I’d love to hear what you were up to in 2022 – what new things you experienced, what brought you joy, what your hopes are for 2023.

Happy New Year, friends.

15 comments… add one
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    Copa December 30, 2022, 5:24 pm

    Wendy, it’s been nice to see you posting in the forums lately! I think a flash advice post series would be great. A few accounts I follow do those and I always love ’em. One account I follow is a matchmaker and one thing she does that I still find fun to watch even though it’s not relevant to my life is critique online dating profiles (with consent).

    I ran a marathon this year! It was the only real goal I set for myself and even though I finished in the bottom third or so of runners, I feel like I knocked it out of the park. I don’t even like driving 26 miles (and as someone who is car-free in a walkable city am almost always within a, like, three mile radius from home), but somehow felt great the entire time I was running.

    Not sure what I want out of 2023 yet. I’m a little disappointed to be going in without a clear goal or two. Particularly in January and February, it’d be great to have something to focus on to keep the seasonal depression from creeping in.

    Always looking for book recommendations (preferably memoirs and nonfiction) if anyone has any. I’m currently reading The Sum of Us.

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      Dear Wendy December 31, 2022, 7:24 am

      I’m so impressed with your marathon-running and how you felt great through the whole thing!

      I read a memoir a couple weeks ago that was pretty fascinating about a childhood in a polygamist cult in Mexico. The book is called “The Sound of Gravel.” It was really well-written and one of those stories that would be hard to believe if it weren’t true.

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        LadyInPurpleNotRed January 2, 2023, 11:44 am

        I just started this book based on your recommendation and I’m already sucked in! Thanks for the rec, Wendy!

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        Dear Wendy January 2, 2023, 2:15 pm

        Oh, good – glad you like it! It’s a page-turner, for sure.

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        Copa January 3, 2023, 10:40 am

        Thanks for the rec! Just put a hold on it at the library.

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        Dear Wendy January 3, 2023, 11:31 am

        👍🏼

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  • Ange December 30, 2022, 6:00 pm

    Happy new year Wendy and the DW crew! I enjoyed the newsletter feel immensely. It’s not something that’s really done in Australia but I like it.

    My year was generally good. We moved back to the city where I met my husband and bought our first house. The stress of interest rate rises hasn’t been super fun but it’s been cool getting to be homeowners and think about how to decorate and how we may want to renovate in the future and all that. Other than that my biggest revelation this year was CBD oil for my RA pain. I feel better than I have in literal years, I’m so glad I finally gave it a try.

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      Dear Wendy December 31, 2022, 7:27 am

      Congrats on the move and new homeownership and finding relief from your RA pain!

      I’ve now lived in my home – first that we’ve owned – for five years, which is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere in my life and I’m definitely feeling the familiar itch for change. Moving is not an option so I’m doing some small-scale redecorating. Currently shopping for a new living room rug and throw pillows and ottoman.

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      • Ange December 31, 2022, 8:00 pm

        I think decorating is almost as good in a pinch. Once our cats go I have so many more ideas for all the space their crap takes up lol.

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  • Anonymousse January 1, 2023, 10:18 am

    I had a kind of hard year, but also a good one. I lost some good friendships, but that was probably a good thing really because I have been feeling incredibly happy.

    I went on a road trip, alone up through NE and stayed with my 96 year old liberal grandpa, my older brother in upstate NY and my sister for her after-wedding bachelorette in Lake George, NY for an epic weekend. We had a boat, a beautiful weekend, lots of wine and legal-in-NY weed penis cookies and had such a great time. Some of the women there I hadn’t seen since they were teenagers and they were asking me to buy them wine coolers.

    Summer was also spent with many trips “down the shore” at our favorite Jersey Beaches, going to an awesome concert with my husband for his birthday, and swimming constantly at our community pool. I even had a tan. It had faded completely two weeks after the pool closed.

    I also lost my dad & my stepmom, after I tried to talk to them about abuse I faced as a child under their supervision & them abandoning my brother and I completely at age 11. The conversation didn’t go well and we’re no longer talking. He refuses to hear it. He wants everyone to tell the story of him being a great dad. He also has broken up with my brother. A lot of family pain this year. He’s now telling his relatives my therapist has implanted false memories of abuse in my brain- and then over Christmas his sister and her husband told me all of that and really triggered me, then got angry that I said I was triggered and started harassing me.

    I just, for the maybe very first time in my life- did not respond with the raging anger of a child left by their parent- I just blocked them, hugged my own kids and got on with my happy day. That was me the week of Christmas! If you could see that vs. me five years ago or even a month ago, I think I may have had a totally different reaction.

    On a brighter note- I have been setting small goals and breaking them so fast. At first my goals were very small, walk the loop around the neighborhood. Then bike it a few times. Then bike it ten times, then more and more. This fall, I took a part time job to see if I had the stamina to work a job and parent after all my medical tribulations from the past couple years (I have permanently lost 70 lbs, and still feel somewhat like a shell of myself) within weeks I was bored as hell with that, found a position in the company I was working with which was a step down from where I was when I left my career 8-9 years ago, had an insanely great panel interview with 9 people that proved to me that 1) the anxiety meds are working! 2) I am still my charming self. I didn’t prepare much, nailed the interview, got the job, have started working full time and I feel like a little badass. I am so good at what I used to do. It’s awesome to feel my brain being used and to feel competent and good at something that not many people have knowledge in.

    I also in the midst of joy and heartbreak of losing a living parent again- I started painting again. I am finally feeling like my own self, working, making art for only myself, parenting great kids, being me for me. I know it could all change in a second but I feel really happy and in my power. Maybe this is what happens when you are on the cusp of forty and finally are ready to take no shit and give no fucks?

    My goals are to keep kicking ass and choosing my peace, I want to be incredibly frugal this year because my little family and I have dreams of buying a bigger home, with a lot of yard to play in and have a big garden. We are all together in wanting more space, a garden, a dog, a cat, so please cross your fingers for me and wish us well.

    Wendy, I love the Instagram ideas. I miss your shortcut advice. I have enjoyed watching your step back, your drawing, and your return to the forums. Can’t wait to see what you do in 2023.

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      Dear Wendy January 1, 2023, 8:11 pm

      Thanks so much, and I loved reading about your year. Here’s to more great things and opportunities to grow and reach in 2023.

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  • 000 January 1, 2023, 5:31 pm

    Thank you for posting! I am still subscribed and would love to read more in the coming year from you.

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    Moneypenny January 3, 2023, 5:00 pm

    I’m glad to see you posting (a little bit) Wendy! As far as future posts, perhaps book reviews or even Wendy’s Picks every now and then would be fun to see again! Flash-posts on instagram sound great as well. 🙂

    I had a pretty good 2022, although it was fairly uneventful. Had some fun events ( friend’s wedding, wine tasting, short trips around the area), but overall just fine. I’m hoping to get myself back on track in 2023, primarily with my health/fitness and financially. If things go as I’m planning, I’ll be in a good place. Here’s hoping for a positive and successful year!

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      Dear Wendy January 3, 2023, 5:43 pm

      Nice to hear from you! I need to get back on track health/fitness wise after the past two weeks of overeating and drinking and not being very active.

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