I keep a list of goals that I hope to accomplish every year. I'd like to say that I always accomplish all 10 goals, but that's not true. For the most part, I accomplish 5-7 items on the list. I love feeling like I've completed something that I wanted to during the year. This year, I implimented something new into the list at the end of the year: an evaluation. What did I actually accomplish? Why? Why not? It made me realize 1) how monumental a lot of the goals were 2) how hard 2016 actually was. I would say that based on the projects that I took on last year, it was one of the most difficult. I lost a lot of people that I loved, I took on a house renovation, I began a new career, and I am in the process of changing religious denominations. That seems to be the story of my life, and as I told my friend Allan, when the times get tough I just seem to make them tougher.
In looking at 2016 I evaluated my overall health, career, personal/spiritual changes, relationship progressions, and hobby development.
Honestly, in 2016 my health was pretty poor. As a generally healthy person this hit me hard. I had a double ear infection during the summer that almost ruptured both of my ear drums (I already have eustation tube disfunction). I can't honestly remember a time that I've been that sick and in that much pain. I had a minor surgery that took me a little longer than anticipated to recover from (I thought it would be a walk in the park...apparently I was the only one). Then, torward the end of the year...I caught the flu. I haven't had the flu in at least a decade. My gosh, I was miserable. Honestly, I know stress was a contributing factor to a lot of the illness I had last year (not only from new job training but also from personal loss). The health of my family members was also poor. My mother had to have a pace maker put in and my father had a total hip replacement (both are doing great!).
My personal/ spiritual changes have been pretty significant. For several years I've been thinking about converting to Catholicism. I grew up attending Catholic school and the Presbyterian church. This decision has been very difficult. My family established a significant number of Covenenter Presbyterian churches in the United States. My granddad was an ordained minister and my grandfather was a lay minister. It was not an easy choice, but it is one that I am very comfortable with.
The relationships in my life...well that's been interesting. Renovating the house has been a strain on pretty much all relationships in my life. It's definitely been a trial. I've used all of my friend points, that's for sure. My relationship with my parents was strained because of the training that I was in. I had no time to help with family obligations, and that was hard on them. 2016 was also a year of loss. A beloved family friend, an uncle, died rather unexpectedly. Katherine also died. Katherine has been a surrogate grandmother to me, in addition to being a teacher and mentor, for a decade. Her health began to decline in February and she passed away just before Christmas.
My hobbies have continued to develop. Katherine instructed me to keep painting. She told me that I was the legacy to her style - and I know that's true. How terrifying, to think of painting (a hobby that we shared) without her instruction. So, I began to paint. I thought of the techniques I had been taught for a decade. I could hear her voice - "no, no not like that" and "yes, yes" or "that'll do" - and I by the time I had finished I had created a lovely piece of art in my own home instead of in her studio. This year hasn't allowed me to paint as much as I wanted to, but I can't wait to see what I will create in 2017 (ensuring that my style, so carefully sculpted by Katherine, will continue to develop).
My work on my family history continues. I ordered two DNA kits - one for my Dad and one for my Grandfather - and am anxiously awaiting the results. I've also begun writing to family members, continuing to develop those relationships with people that I love.
I began my own family history project: journaling.
Overall, 2016 was a challenging year. It was emotionally trying, especially with so many people that I loved being sick during most if it. I love that it was definitely a year of change. The feeling that something had to be different this year, that it would be a great year, was also accurate. I'm working on a residential project that I love. I've got a career and am delighted with it. I'm thankful for my experiences in the past year. I'm grateful for my friends and family. I've been blessed by lost loved ones in my life. A friend posted that 2017 has big shoes to fill. Initially, I thought that she was mistaken, but upon further reflection I find that she is correct. I look forward to this new year. Happy New Year, friends.