I did this!! A reflective look at 2017

2017 collage

January is the time that people make resolutions to do things differently (better) than the year before.  My theme for this past year was “Just Stop”  (just click here and you can read that post), I will continue to “Just Stop” in 2018 and beyond, but for now I want to look back.

This year, I’ve decided not to make resolutions, sure there are things I want to change, things I plan on doing, things I want to do….The whole Bucket List, you know, however, there is something we often don’t do, we don’t look back and see what we have accomplished.  I think we need to do that more often.

When we get sick we often look back on our “old life” and can’t see how much we’ve accomplished since we got sick.  We keep thinking about how we can’t do what we used to, I see so many people with chronic illnesses doing amazing things every day, but they can’t see it.  They keep looking back at what they used to be….never forget, you are still the same person.  The old self and the new self is the same self.  Let’s put those together and be okay with it.  (yes I know that isn’t easy, even when you feel you have gotten to that point, there will still be times when you think about the “old me” longingly)

So I decided to sit back and look at 2017, and just think about what I accomplished, and I was pretty amazed at what I found.

  • I worked hard and lost 45 pounds.  Cool.
  • I started exercising.  Just little things, but it’s a whole lot more than it used to be and I’m getting stronger so I can do more.
  • I overcame some pretty severe side effects to a medication.
  • I worked with my doctor and found the right medication, I didn’t give up.
  • I survived breaking my foot while alone.  I simply iced it, propped it up and waited until Stuart got home to take me to Urgent Care.  I didn’t panic.  yay.
  • I reached out to the local Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) chapter and I’m meeting new people through it.
  • I participated in the HLAA Walk4Hearing.   How cool is that?  okay, so I wasn’t able to actually “walk” that day, but I raised money and I went out there and showed support.  and I got a t-shirt to prove it!
  • We had visits from 4 groups of out of town guests this year, and I handled it all well.  (that doesn’t mean it wasn’t challenging, but my guests know my limitations and love me anyway, so it was easier)  I haven’t had guest come to my house in a very long time!
  • We went out of town to see the eclipse!  That was so cool; a little mini vacation centered around a most amazing event.  (and I made a new friend there too)
  • I went to an out of town wedding for the daughter of my best friend from the first grade.  I felt beautiful (that isn’t something I’ve been able to say in a long time).  I had a wonderful time, and I saw people I haven’t seen in 40+ years, that’s amazing.  (and now I’m in touch with another grade school friend who is just the sweetest lady, I just love her.)
  • I’ve had less vertigo this year.  Actually, I do have vertigo often, but it doesn’t last long and I’m not completely incapacitated for hours and hours….um..days.  I don’t know how much control I actually had over this, but it’s a huge deal for me.  (I’m actually thinking something I’ve been doing may have helped, but I’m not sure)
  • I made some new online friends, and have gotten closer to some old ones.
  • I went to a Christmas party where I knew no one.  (the HLAA Christmas party)  I arrived right when the party was ending (yes I read the invitation wrong, I thought it started at 7pm but that was the end time!  hahaha)  I still met some awfully nice people. (I knew these people would understand if I couldn’t hear them.  I exchanged many emails with the chapter leader beforehand and she made me feel most welcome and understood my fears)
  • I went to a family Christmas party at my cousin’s house.  I haven’t been to a family holiday gathering in something like 20 years.  I was very nervous, but it went well.  I met some wonderful people who were so supportive of my hearing loss, they even practiced sign language with me, I didn’t feel left out, it was nice; and I look forward to nurturing that friendship.
  • After going to those two parties (and the wedding in October and the Eclipse in August), I realized I can do this!!  I can socialize again.  No, I might not hear everything, I might have to ask people to repeat themselves, to look at me when they talk, and I might have vertigo…..but it really feels good to know I can do this!!  That knowledge is a huge accomplishment.
  • I searched out and found supplements to help with my conditions.  Not a lot, but some that have made a little bit of a difference.  I feel more empowered the more I learn about my conditions and the more I am able to help myself.
  • I have been home alone often and I didn’t die.  Okay that may be a bit melodramatic, but Stuart used to have to work at home almost every day, now he goes into the office.  Some days I do need him to come home to help me, but I do not need him to be physically with me all the time.  awesome.
  • I baked during the holidays!!!!  I haven’t been able to do that in YEARS!  and I love doing it, so this was amazing for me!!
  • I enjoyed the holidays.  I know that’s not much of an accomplishment, but the holidays can be hard, and have been at times very hard.  This year I sang carols for over a month!  I shouted “Merry Christmas”  to a Santa that was waving outside of a store and it was joyous when Stuart told me that “Merry Christmas”  was shouted back.  (I felt like I was in a Christmas movie)
  • Most recently I’ve begun to “paint” using the AutoDesk Sketchbook app, and I’m creating some pretty nice pet portraits.  I’m pretty happy about that.
  • I started Loom Knitting this year!  I’ve made a number of blankets, scarves, and the coolest pair of socks ever!
  • one more – I only had 2 or 3 (I think) seizures this year.  (if you don’t know about me and seizures you can read about it here: Psychogenic Seizures…)  How cool is that?  Yep, therapy works when you work hard.

Now, I challenge you to sit back, take a relaxing breath, and think back over the year and only think about things you have accomplished (or some wonderful things that happened).  There were a lot of things that went wrong this year (like the awful medication side effects, and watching our country fall apart….)  but it really doesn’t do me any good to think about that stuff.  Look at all the things I did!!  That is worth a reflective look at 2017.

(about the photo above: From left to right starting with the top left:
Me and Kim, me and Lisa, Walk4Hearing t-shirt
Baked Christmas Goodies, silly Christmas light necklace, me in Santa hat
Stuart modeling the cool socks I made, a portrait of Max, Me at the wedding)

I’m on Instagram now!  (Not as Picnic with Ants, just as me)  If you’d like to check it out, I’m wendy.holcombe

Advertisements

Mindfulness Monday – New Year

Happy New Year copy2

 

“She made a revolutionary idea:
She would make more time for
life’s truly important things

First on the list:
breathing.”

~ Amy Rubin Flett

 

“You are never too old to
set another goal
or to dream a new
Dream.”

~ Aristotle

 

*artwork by W. Holcombe, Please do not use without permission.

Just Stop

My theme for this year.  Just stop.

  • Just Stop and listen to my body more.
  • Just Stop and listen to others.
  • Just Stop and think before doing.
  • Just Stop and think before speaking.
  • Just Stop and get centered before moving.
  • Just Stop and think before putting that food in my mouth.
  • Just Stop trying too hard.
  • Just Stop feeling guilty for things I can’t change.
  • Just Stop and meditate.

Just Stop.

Mindfulness Monday 30 – Beginnings

00210009

photo by S. Holcombe

“We turn not older with years
but newer every day.”

~ Emily Dickenson

 

“So I close my eyes to old ends
and open my heart to new beginnings.”

~Nick Frederickson

 

“There are far better things ahead
than any we leave behind.”

~C.S. Lewis

A New Year….what will it bring?

“Change is inevitable, growth is intentional.”    -Viktor Frankl

In the beginning of 2013 I was so sick I didn’t even write a New Year’s post.  I was so depressed, and so very, very ill.  (yes, I know this one is a few days late, but it’s still the beginning of the year, right)

So what will the 2014 bring?  I’m not sure, but I know it will be a change.

Nothing is ever permanent.  I may feel I’m always sick and feel horrible, but if I look at every day, every moment, that isn’t true.  It’s not a constant.  Life is not constant.  I want to remember this, and work at being mindful about each moment.

I don’t want to make resolutions, because, let’s face it, very few resolutions are actually carried through.  But there are a few things I want to strive for….if I don’t get there, it’s OK.  Things change.

  • As I’ve already said, I want to be more mindful about each moment.  If I’m doing something I want to really pay attention to what I’m doing.  I do not want to multi-task.  I want to be present in the moment, each moment.
  • I’m trying to eat much less meat.  I know this is going to be a challenge because of my food limitations, but I feel the need to do this.  One day recently I realized if I had to kill the animals we were eating I wouldn’t eat them.  I’ve felt this way for a long time, but I didn’t really take it to heart.  But now, I simply feel I need to do this…so I’m going to try.  I’m taking it slow, and I’m not going to go crazy if I happen to have a bit of meat…just one moment at a time.  (I am still eating eggs…trying to only get pasture raised, and I’m eating some dairy…trying to only eat dairy from a local farm where I know how the cows are treated.)
  • I want to meditate more…I’d like to do this much more regularly than I have been.  I have found that this really helps me when I’m having a vertigo or asthma attack.  I can calm myself and that makes things much easier to get through.  However, I’ve found it is hard for me to meditate for long times, at least for now…so I will start off slowly (if I strive for a couple of minutes, then I’m sure I can succeed)  and work my way up..
  • I want to become happier with my appearance as I am now.  I’ve been so obsessed about losing weight, it has caused me to have very negative feeling about myself.  Yes, I haven’t been able to lose weight because of mitigating circumstances (like not being able to exercise, and taking meds that cause weight gain), but I blamed myself.  I feel if I feel better about myself the size I am I will have accomplished a lot!  I also feel that until I feel more self-confidence about my appearance, it will make it harder for me to lose weight.  That may sound counter intuitive, but when I’m unhappy with my body I get discouraged, and think why bother.  Discouragement, breads self-deprecation for me.
  • I’d like to blog more.  This past year was very hard, I can think of a few reasons it was harder than normal, and hopefully these things will be changing soon. (for example…Stuart getting a job, me getting the asthma under control….)  I don’t like to always sound like someone who is just full of heartache when I blog, so I didn’t blog as much.  I have found that I need to share more with others, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Someone out there may be feeling the same way.
  • And I’d like to challenge myself more.  I know I will have to do this when Stuart goes to work out of the home, but I think it will be good for me.  Sometimes, I feel I rely on him too much.  It’s much easier to ask him for help with something than to risk doing it myself.  My mantra on this must be….”slow, take it slow.”

There are many more things I could add to this, but as I said, this isn’t a list of resolutions, just some plans that may change as the moment changes.

note: for some reason WordPress would not let me insert a picture in this post…sorry for just words, words and more words.