Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

End of Year Check-In

Today marks three more weeks until the new year, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for 2019. This year, while full of some wonderful moments, had a lot of challenges, losses, and setbacks, some of which I’m still processing (losing Simone and losing my grandmother, for example). I’m sure next year will have challenges, too, but something really exciting happens next year that I’ve been counting the months to since July:

Joanie starts full-time public school in the fall! For the first time in eight years, I won’t have a young child at home with me part-time. I am imagining all the things I will accomplish, and I get so giddy!

Anyway, every year I like to set an intention or goal or theme for the year. This year it was to prioritize my health, and despite various financial and scheduling challenges and setbacks, I did a pretty good job achieving this goal. I got a full physical for the first time in nearly a decade (and got a clean bill of health!). I saw my gyno for the first time since Joanie was born. I got my eyes checked, got two teeth cleanings (I even splurged for my birthday and got my teeth whitened, which I’d been wanting to do for years), saw my endocrinologist twice for regular check-ins to manage my thyroid disorder, and saw my dermatologist for a skin cancer screening. I even started twice-a-month acupuncture in March to help treat my alopecia, and since then, my alopecia flare-ups have all but stopped, my eyebrows — which had completely fallen out – are growing back, and I’m even seeing some promising regrowth along my hairline, which my doctor and all of the Internet assured me was impossible with the kind of alopecia that I have.

Per my acupuncturist’s recommendation, I made a big effort to change my diet by reducing (but not eliminating) bread, sugar, cheese, and alcohol, and adding more anti-inflammatory foods (like sweet potatoes and turmeric lattes). In addition to whatever benefit this has had on my alopecia, I’m sleeping better and I’ve lost ten pounds since the beginning of the year (which was also probably helped along by increased exercise). This has probably been the best year in terms of setting and achieving a main goal for myself, and I feel so encouraged that I actually have the ability to put my mind to something and make it happen. I purposely set an attainable – but important! – goal specifically for that reason. I needed to remind myself, after years of prioritizing my children’s needs, that my basic needs were important, that they weren’t THAT hard to meet, and that making the effort could have great and long-lasting benefits. While I have a different goal in mind for next year — more on that in a second – I’m going to continue prioritizing my health and I’m going to add managing and improving my mental health to the docket. I have some ideas for that and I’m excited to get started!

In the coming year, I am looking forward to prioritizing my work, which includes this site, of course, which for nearly eight years has been my main source of income as well as my creative outlet. But I also would love to publish writing elsewhere and to flex some creative muscles that have sort of atrophied over the years. It may not happen until the last quarter of the year when Joanie starts full-time pre-k, but I’m so excited to start working on some of the ideas that have been percolating over the years, for DW and other projects, that I simply didn’t have time or energy to pursue with the very limited kid-free hours in my schedule.

Of course, I have other goals and hopes for 2019: I want to cook some new recipes; perfect the perfect cocktail; get/make more art for and on our walls; take some fun family trips (day trips and weekend getaways included); enjoy more one-on-one time with Drew; see more movies in the theater (I think I saw one non-kid movie this whole year?!); and see Trump go to prison.

What about you? How was 2018 for you in terms of setting and achieving goals? What kind of setbacks or challenges did you face? What big gains did you celebrate? And what are you looking forward to and working toward in 2019?

[image via]

25 comments… add one
  • Ange December 11, 2018, 3:17 pm

    I can’t even think straight. I’ve been working a tournament for over a week, 14-15 hour days. I want to sleep for a year. Can I sleep for a year? I’ll take that.

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  • Bittergaymark December 11, 2018, 5:42 pm

    That’s great, Wendy. You will have so much more free time!
    As for me? Eh, 2018 was a huge bust. I suspect 2019 will be more of the same. Never chase your dreams, kiddos. You won’t catch them and will find yourself instead in an endless nightmare of your own making.

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    • Skyblossom December 11, 2018, 5:51 pm

      My daughter is hoping to get into a good film school. We will see. She especially likes the one in Tallahassee and we went to visit. Excellent school but with a 5% acceptance rate for film school.

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      • Bittergaymark December 11, 2018, 5:57 pm

        Yikes. Seriously, do everything you can to talk her out of it. NEWSFLASH — Trying to be a screenwriter has all but destroyed my life. My foolishly bold move to LA in 1995 is a decision I deeply regret. Worse, one I will never financially recover from.

      • anonymousse December 11, 2018, 6:21 pm

        I sadly have to agree with Mark. I was an accomplished artist in high school. I got into a really competitive, expensive private school. Unless you are really, really wealthy, OR boundlessly driven…it’s really hard to make a living.
        I wish I had been counseled differently. Not sure it would have helped, but I wish so desperately that I had chosen a more lucrative field rather than pin all my hopes on teachers, advisors and my own parents dreamt of me being a successful artist.

      • Skyblossom December 11, 2018, 6:31 pm

        97% of their students are working in the field within a year of graduation. Their alumni make a point of hiring their graduates which is one of the things that makes it a great school. If she doesn’t get in there, and I think the odds are pretty slim, then it’s not so good.

      • Bittergaymark December 11, 2018, 6:41 pm

        Oh, I work constantly in the field. But currently earn less hourly than a Starbucks Barista. And yet not one — but two of the movies I art directed / set decorated this past summer are airing on Lifetime this month. Irony: I make everything beautiful on camera and yet my life is utter shit.

    • Skyblossom December 11, 2018, 7:08 pm

      That’s very interesting. So working in the industry doesn’t necessarily mean you can live off your wages.

      Congratulations on your movies but that is very sad.

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      • Bittergaymark December 11, 2018, 7:43 pm

        It is. There’s a reason why “the business” has a terrible reputation. Sad, but true $200 a day for a 12 hour day is not much to aspire to. Nor is it very inspiring. I wake up so angry. Every day is one big unheralded acting performance. Unpaid, too.

      • Skyblossom December 12, 2018, 3:32 pm

        Thank you for letting me know. I’m going to suggest to my daughter that she get a double degree with the second as a backup. I don’t want to tell her to not go for what she wants to do but to understand that realistically she may have trouble finding jobs.

        We took her to Chicago early this year for aptitude testing because we knew what she wanted to do and it turns out that what she loves to do is also where she has high aptitudes so it’s not like she is going to be good at accounting or chemistry.

  • ktfran December 11, 2018, 6:13 pm

    2018, what can I say, I’m completely over you. You can take your back problems and long work hours and canceled trips and demotions and lack of fall weather and Kavanaugh appointment and shove it. I suppose I should thank you for debts paid. And Nashville. And Cancun. And perhaps SW A-list. However, I’m sooooo happy we’re breaking up in three weeks. So happy.

    Bring on 2019! The year I choose friends and family over work. The year I learn to bake. The year I am no longer terrified to speak in front of a room full of people. The year I make our condo a home. The year I find a new volunteer activity. And the last year of my 30’s. I’m ready for you 40. Yes, 2019 will be a great year.

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  • JD December 11, 2018, 6:22 pm

    Ya I’ve been counting on the next year being better since like 2007, it’s never gonna happen. I will be just as annoyed a year from now I am quite sure. I think my only goal for next year is to not lose my mind. Too many things I don’t have control over that will mean MASSIVE impact on my life in this coming year. That kind of shit makes me pretty unhappy to live knowing that day to day. Based on the track record I am not holding out much hope it will go well. I hope so, and remain slightly optimistic, but let’s be honest here. I’d say mainly a topical goal of getting my running back to where it was before my heart was nuts, surgeries going the way they should and no one doing anything too stupid to tick me off. Also to convincing my husband that pillow tops are better than the hardwood floor like mattresses he wants….or investing in a sleep number bed.

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    • Skyblossom December 12, 2018, 3:33 pm

      If you have a king size bed you can get two twin size mattresses and each of you can have the firmness/softness that you like. They do that all over Europe now and we did that earlier this year.

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      • JD December 12, 2018, 4:10 pm

        No king currently but when we buy it will be. My husband needs to snore further away. Haha. With him being tall and two dogs we are ready to go bigger. I am interested in the sleep number for the snoring part though since the other person can tilt them up a bit. He isn’t really bad but if I’m already having trouble sleeping it can bother me more than when I’m able to sleep easily. Luckily I’m generally a good sleeper but have stints of a week or so now and then when I’m miserable. I have found the Costco sleep aid to be wonderful though! If anyone is looking for something I highly recommend. No morning groggy for me.

  • Sue Jones December 11, 2018, 9:52 pm

    2018 had a lot of challenges. I spent 4 days in the hospital last March from a random intestinal blockage that came out of nowhere and they still don’t know what caused it. My work was slow and a special project I have been working on took FOREVER! And then a huge hailstorm came and totaled 2 of our cars (still drivable though), our roof and solar panels. So lots of dealing with insurance companies, contractors, etc. Then somehow my home became infested with fleas and on I was bitten all over the place. My sweet son started acting more and more like a sullen cranky teen… so he is now in therapy so he can have someone besides me to talk to (which he does less and less), then my husband came out as Trans (more like genderfluid, but he is growing boobs….), then a tropical vacation was recently cancelled due to the health of one of our party, so I would say even though I am able to take care of myself and keep a positive mental attitude, not to mention how heartbreaking the news is everyday, when I look back at 2018 I say “good riddance!” On a positive note, I did complete a phase of a longterm work project and now I am crossing my fingers that it will redeem itself by making some $$$$, and my husband likes watching better movies now (he used to watch horrible action movies), and we saw some good theatre which always makes me happy. And I am feeling better healthwise, more strength and less fatigue.

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    • Dear Wendy December 12, 2018, 6:10 am

      That is a tumultuous year, for sure, Sue! I hope 2019 is a little easier for you. And I hear you on the “sweet son acting more and more like a sullen cranky teen”; my kiddo is only 7, but it’s amazing how overnight he has adopted a lot teenage-like attitude and surliness. I have been shocked by how early it has begun.

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    • Skyblossom December 12, 2018, 3:35 pm

      I don’t think I’ve ever had a year as rough as yours. I think the husband being Trans would be the most difficult.

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    • keyblade December 13, 2018, 11:37 am

      I have to say, your husband sounds like a very lucky person to have you staying in their corner. I hope you get paid well and this next year is smoother for you than the last, Sue.

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  • Bittergaymark December 12, 2018, 3:21 pm

    Hang in there. That was a WILD year. Yikes.

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  • Northern Star December 12, 2018, 3:38 pm

    2018 is the best year of my life because it’s the year my daughter was born. She’s basically the most beautiful and happiest baby in the world. (Nah, I’m not biased…) I couldn’t ask for a better year, really. (Maybe a healthier year, now that she’s started day care and is picking up all kinds of colds and coughs…)

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    • JD December 12, 2018, 4:12 pm

      Yah! Happy she’s bringing you so much joy!

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      • Northern Star December 12, 2018, 4:16 pm

        The minute she started smiling, it was all over—my heart was hers. I’m sorry 2018 wasn’t the best year for many of us, but I’m absolutely in love. 🙂

    • keyblade December 13, 2018, 11:37 am

      Thanks for sharing. The first social smile is priceless.

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  • alafair December 12, 2018, 4:53 pm

    I’ve decided to look for a new job in 2018. I’ve been working here for a while and it’s completely taking over my life. The balance is all wrong, and I feel like I’ve been living just to work. instead of working so I can enjoy my life. That also means that I’ve been eating worse, exercising much less, sleeping worse etc. I’m so tired and not as focused or present when I get to spend time with the kids. With my health issues this is especially dangerous.

    The work env has taken over my life

    My New Year’s resolution is to strive for balance again – so basically to find a job that allows me more of that balance and to ensure I make time for those things that keep me healthy and sane.

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  • keyblade December 13, 2018, 11:52 am

    2018 has been a year of decisions in our household. My husband has decided to take a new job and we will be moving this summer. I spent a lot of the last couple of years realizing I need a change to be able to grow more. I don’t like change, I’m pretty risk-averse. But I haven’t been happy here, for awhile. I’m hoping the changes in 2019 will help us (my family of four) all grow in ways we couldn’t here. I hope to see improvement in my mental and physical health.

    I’m relived Congress is purple again. I feel like I can breath, again. In some ways I’m thankful for the chaos because it really forced me to confront the differences held between myself and the people I feel closest with. I’ve realized their feelings are a lot stronger and deeply rooted than I realized, and that all the love and friendship on top can’t change the deep fundamental divides beneath the surface.

    So It’s time for us to spread our wings. It’s personal for me because I think there is a good chance it will greatly improve my odds of finding more like-minded acquaintances and friends, but the comfort of both of my kids.

    But it will mean a lot more time at the office for my husband, for quite awhile. The potential for growth is exciting. But I’m nervous to rely on myself more. My mental health took a nosedive over the last couple of years. I’m hoping for regrowth and healthier living, thinking, eating, sleeping habits will abound with the changes to come.

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