2016 Year in Review

In Parenting, Self-Awareness by Jenn0 Comments

Despite the fact that today is much like any other day, I’m still going to jump on the looking-back/looking-forward bandwagon of December 31. I rather like this list of year in review questions, first written for 2015, so I’m going to reprise it for 2017. Read last year’s version here.

  • What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about? Since my grandchildren probably will not want to hear about the four days it took my cervix to dilate, I suppose I will tell them about the double-overtime, earthquake-equivalent OSU-Michigan game.
  • If you had to describe your 2016 in 3 words, what would they be? Tired but wonderful.
  • What new things did you discover about yourself? That I am capable of greater depths of love and sacrifice and anger and fear than I ever knew possible. I also seem to have activated the parental survival skill set necessary to keep my offspring alive under duress, such as while fleeing an escaped bear at the zoo.
  • What single achievement are you most proud of? Giving birth to a human being. #micdrop
  • What was the best news you received? I guess making it through to (and past) my due date with enough paid sick time to cover the rest of the school year and keep my insurance and salary through the summer. 
  • What was your favorite place that you visited in 2016? We didn’t travel much this year. I suppose going to the grocery store by myself after the baby was born was an accomplishment…
  • Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year? Probably my stubbornness in making breastfeeding work despite excruciating pain.
  • Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on? To be totally honest…me.
  • Which new skills did you learn? Timing contractions, breastfeeding, and inventing new ridiculous faces and noises every day.
  • What, or who, are you most thankful for? The opportunity to spend as much time as possible with Science Guy and Fire Monkey (despite occasional bouts of wanting to run away from home).
  • If someone wrote a book about your life in 2016, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else? Comedy, because like I said last year, if I can’t laugh at being awakened by my child at 4am or simultaneously wearing three different bodily fluids that don’t belong to me, I might just lose my mind.
  • What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2016? I am stronger than I realize.
  • Which mental block(s) did you overcome? I am still working on replacing my notion of “fairness” (which turns out to really mean what I think or want at the moment) with what is better for all of us in the big picture.  
  • What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with? Fire Monkey, Science Guy, my parents and brother.
  • What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise? I stayed home for more than half the year but I guess my “breakthrough” was realizing that while staying home was the best decision for our family, it was harder than I expected.
  • How did your relationship to your family evolve? Seeing my parents become grandparents has been interesting and also caused me to reflect on my experiences as a child in different ways.
  • What book or movie affected your life in a profound way? Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. And Star Wars, of course.
  • What was your favourite compliment that you received this year? My parents telling me I was a good mother. And Fire Monkey (finally) laughing at my tricks.
  • What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life? Naptime with Fire Monkey, family snuggle time on our new giant Frankenbed, and Monkey’s funny little dramatic sighs.
  • What cool things did you create this year? A HUMAN BEING, how about you? Oh yeah, and this blog.
  • What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)? Probably tired.
  • Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year? Had an epidural, gave birth, nursed a child.
  • What was your favorite moment spent with your friends? I have two: fall retreat with my church, and going out for dinner last night with some of my high school gal pals. 
  • What major goal did you lay the foundations for? Working from home
  • Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary? Whether Fire Monkey was going to love me after we started sleep learning.
  • What experience would you love to do all over again? Uh, definitely not labor. I’m surprising myself by saying this but I do miss being pregnant just a little bit. Or maybe I just miss the ease of caring for a child in utero versus corraling him in real life.
  • What was the best gift you received? Definitely the Star Wars amigurumi crochet kit.
  • How did your overall outlook on life evolve? Me really became we this year, not just with Fire Monkey but also Science Guy as we crash our way through the first year of parenting.
  • What was the biggest problem you solved? Solved is a generous phrase, but how to sleep less than 3 consecutive hours for over a month and not die.
  • What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it? One day Science Guy randomly found this meme and we both cry-laughed for about 15 minutes.

  • What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever? The Beco Gemini for wearing Fire Monkey.
  • What one thing would you do differently and why? I would have started sleep learning earlier than 7 months because we were keeping Fire Monkey up way too late and I lost 2+ months of sleep for no real reason.
  • What do you deserve a pat on the back for? Sleeping on the couch for a few weeks while we sorted out the mattress debacle.
  • What activities made you lose track of time? Nursing and sleeping.
  • What did you think about more than anything else? Pretty much still the same as last year: “Can I actually be responsible for the care and feeding of a tiny human?” and “What are we going to do about my job next year?”
  • What topics did you most enjoy learning about? The X theme in WordPress, hand lettering.
  • What new habits did you cultivate? Haha.
  • What advice would you give your early-2016 self if you could? Write down memories even if you don’t feel like it or don’t have time. Make time.
  • Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year? I went from working full-time to being a cray-at-home mom and there was some mental whiplash involved there.
  • What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year? Fire Monkey.
  • What do you want the overarching theme for your 2017 to be? Like it or not, change will be a big theme this year, but I’d like it to be positive, so maybe Growth.
  • What do you want to see, discover, explore? How to best use my talents to support our family and make a difference in the community. And I’d really like to travel, possibly by myself.
  • Who do you want to spend more time with in 2017? Same as last year: My friends and community both near and far, especially if this is our last year in town.
  • What skills do you want to learn, improve or master? Same as last year: Let’s stick with parenting. And if there’s any way to turn any of my skills (graphic design, writing, crafting) into a work-from-home arrangement, that would be great too.
  • Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen? Genuine humility. Parenting requires reserves of selflessness that have shown me how self-centered I can actually be. 
  • What do you want your everyday life to be like? Balanced.
  • Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of? I really want to work on establishing and maintaining routines for keeping the house clean(er). Still working on mindfulness practices…and flossing. Le sigh.
  • What do you want to achieve career-wise? Same as last year: Find a way to do fulfilling work at home so I can help support our family financially and by caring for our baby.
  • How do you want to remember the year 2017 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now? This will be the year Science Guy graduates and quite possibly our first big relocation as a family. I’m hoping that process will be not insane and that we can become part of a new community together. Here where we both had our own lives and friends prior to meeting and marrying, neither of us has been terribly motivated to make friends together which I mildly regret.
  • What is your number one goal for 2017?  Pretty much same as last year: Love husband, self, and community. Care for baby, don’t break it. Don’t go bankrupt or insane. The rest is just details.

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