It’s been my experience that some years are just a lot harder than others. 2017 was a hard year for me. It wasn’t that anything particularly awful happened (and in fact, many wonderful things happened), there were just a number of things that were hard. Because life is like that sometimes. Fortunately, it’s also been my experience that hard years are usually followed by years where life flows a lot smoother.
For most of 2017, I was pregnant (and while I’m lucky enough to get pregnant easily, I do not have easy pregnancies) and parenting a spirited three-year-old (if you haven’t been around one lately, three-year-olds are not known for being agreeable). My husband had recently taken a new job and worked a lot, including several business trips. I felt disconnected from friends and without a community. In the midst of being miserably pregnant, E had his tonsils and adenoids removed. The end of the year brought a hard labor to close out a hard pregnancy. The euphoria of welcoming my second little boy was closely followed by a long road to post-partum healing (including spending Thanksgiving night in the ER).
My One Little Word for 2017 was true. My intention was to focus on what was fundamentally true for me and my family versus what I believed or felt like I needed to prioritize based on the values of… literally anyone else. As usual, I didn’t do such a great job keeping up with the monthly prompts to make my word visible, but 2017 was perhaps the first year (in 4 years or so of choosing a word) that I really felt the impact of a word.
In early January, I checked Sabrina Ward Harrison’s website to see if she was hosting any retreats this year. I’ve adored her since I was 15 and read an interview with her in JUMP magazine. I’ve paged through Spilling Open many, many times. She’s hosted numerous retreats over the years (including one in Italy, I believe), and I’ve never been able to attend for various reasons. This year, before I was tethered to a nursing infant again, seemed like the perfect opportunity. The workshop was called “True Living Experience,” so it was basically meant to be.
That weekend in Madison was truly one of the highlights of my year (and possibly my life!). First of all, how often do you get to meet someone you’ve admired for close to two decades and have them surpass all of your expectations of who they as a human being? Sabrina is truly warmth and light and magic and if you ever have the opportunity to spend a weekend making art on the floor with her, you should seize it.
Secondly, it was great to just be me for a weekend. Not necessarily a wife and a mom. I didn’t have to worry about anyone’s needs except my own. It was also one of the few times I felt healthy during my whole pregnancy. I walked a ton (my pelvic girdle pain mysteriously and wonderfully disappeared that weekend). I ate somewhat normally. I had more energy than I’d had in months! I loved being surrounded by other creative souls. It was just plain good.
Coffee + Crumbs’ Year of Creativity was another highlight. Writing is my truth, and while pregnancy has a way of sapping my creativity, I did manage to write a few things I’m proud of (before not writing for most of the year). I hope to come back to some of the YOC materials in 2018, because I know there’s a lot of untapped inspiration there.
I’ve done my usual year-end navel-gazing (as much as I can manage with a newborn and a 4-year-old). I’m waiting for my Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter to arrive from Germany so I can revamp my notebook system. My 2018 Hobonichi Techo Cousin, Powersheets, and Your Best Year are neatly stacked next to me.
2018, I’m ready.