A year ago right about now, I was either about to pitch a temper tantrum or was being put to bed by my boyfriend for a late afternoon/early evening nap before our New Year’s Eve festivities. I was overtired; I hadn’t slept well the night before and I had gone to two (or was it three?) workout classes that morning, and then rushed home to shower and eat and pack an overnight bag that included not only everything I’d need for an NYE gala but also for a likely very hungover New Year’s Day. It was late enough in the day that the sun was about to set and I hadn’t even figured out how I was going to do my hair for the night, let alone start getting ready. We had planned to go to a friend’s house before our NYE festivities, and I had no idea how I was going to make it to midnight without passing out.
I whirled around my boyfriend’s apartment after I arrived, unpacking my bag and bemoaning how many things I still had to do before we could leave for the night. Half of my bag was unpacked before I realized he hadn’t said a single thing in response to whatever nonsense I was sputtering. I looked over at him to see that he was thoroughly unconcerned by anything I had just said.
“Well?” I prodded.
And then he said those magical words, “So why not just cancel something and get some sleep?”
I protested but I’m pretty sure he was pushing me into bed by that point. He’s pretty experienced at tucking me in when I’m overtired, that one.
We canceled on going to our friend’s, which was fine since we’d see her later in the night anyway. And then I slept. That nap made all the difference to me.
I’ve been thinking about how I want to recap these past twelve months, and I’ve come up short. I can list my highlights, some of which include:
- reacquainted myself with driving after a seven year hiatus by careening around the highways of Atlanta
- baked bread from scratch, and now have a desire to bake all of the bread recipes I can get my hands on
- got a promotion and a raise at work
- read and wrote less, which doesn’t trouble me as much as I would’ve thought
- …because I spent that time rekindling my love for knitting instead
- made custom knits for friends, with hopefully more to ~orders~ to come in 2018
- traveled to Sydney so that I could be there when my mom got MARRIED (!)
- went on my first long-term work travel trip
- participated in a writing course, and realized maybe my love of words hasn’t completely left me after all
- worked front desk at my gym for the better part of the year — be nice to the front desk staff at your gym, guys, they work really hard!
- bought new kitchen chairs after years of telling myself I could make do with my semi-functional (okay, broken) ones
- joined my boyfriend’s family on a vacation to The Happiest Place on Earth (so, Disney World)
- hit a major savings goal
- pet a wild stingray on a beach in southwest Australia
- got two (but I only pitched two, so YAY ME) writing pitches accepted
- fell more and more in love
- traveled around within the US, something I don’t do nearly enough
- got tickets to Hamilton (though I won’t be seeing it till next year)
- thought about what I want for my future, which is more thought I’ve given my future than for oh, the last three years or so
2017 may have been a dumpster fire of a year globally and politically, but it was a pretty good year for me personally. And yet, rather than focus on any of these highlights (or even the best stories, many of which I am now realizing I didn’t share anywhere on the internet — does this mean I’m growing up?) I keep coming back to the anecdote of last New Year’s Eve, when I realized that it was okay to cancel on something because I needed to do something else for me, more.
I certainly don’t advocate canceling on everything and everyone all the time.
But there is something to be said for saying no from time to time, if the occasion calls for it.
I hope that I have done that enough, in 2017. That I was able to recognize my limits, and learn to pull back when needed, but not to the point where I close myself off completely. I’m no good to anyone when I am overstretched or have completely overloaded on my capacity to handle things. And, of course, I hope that even while setting limits, I was able to grow in ways that will continue in 2018.