On paper, 2018 was an incredibly tough year. One that you might reflect on now that 2019 has rolled around and think “how the hell did we actually get through that?”
In the year that I decided to stop working for a bit and officially “slow down”, we experienced two significant losses, a family member in turmoil and subsequently, into rehab, recurring endometriosis sending my body into a chronic state of unwell and subsequent surgery in June and incredibly trying behavioural issues with our son. Pass the rosé please. But the funny thing is, I feel pretty good about the year that’s passed. After reviewing it with my close friends and family, we feel as though it was a year of learning. It took 365 days to get my word for the year, but that was definitely it. Learning.
Sure, we are going to have years that are better than others, but everything I listed above – and the thousands of other things I didn’t – are what life is all about.
The light and the shade. The magnificent highs are really nothing without the contrast of those dark lows. Being able to survive loss, turmoil and illness builds us, makes us resilient and encourages us to keep on bloody going. Yes, sometimes it’s tiring, but this year I really learnt that I just want to continue to jump life’s hurdles. I suppose once you lose that desire, it’s all over really.
When I list the bigger challenges that came out of 2018, I can trump all of them with displays of love, kindness, joy and empathy.
Losing my nan in February felt like my heart was ripped out. Yes, at 89 she’d had a good innings but, damn it, I wanted it to last a whole lot longer. We weren’t ready to say goodbye, but we did and it was beautiful. I miss her every day, but I feel her every day. She guides me as a mother, a daughter and a wife and for that, I will be eternally grateful. I have a new perspective on my relationship with my mum, as if somehow, losing nan showed me just how important it is to show love to her every day. Seeing family members experience their own loss and trauma was so difficult, but again, it provided us with the opportunity to step up. To support. Silently and furiously. To love, without wanting anything in return. But of course, you always receive that love back in droves. That’s the beauty of life.
Sharing my own health struggles in 2018 was confronting and talking about endometriosis in a public forum left me wide open. Vulnerable.
But you know what? It was the best thing I could have done. Not only did I feel a great weight was lifted, it also opened up a conversation for others in my position. We have been able to share our experiences, our feelings and our fears – knowing that we are not going through this alone. Parenting aside, this has been my most rewarding act to date. So, 2018, thanks for teaching me all the lessons. Thanks for making me a little bit stronger. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to cast some of my fears aside. Thanks for the beauty. The ocean swims. The warm days. The times with our family. The tears. The laughs. The craziness. The fun. The sharing. The friends. The family. The connection. And 2019, I am ready for you.