So long 2018.
I won’t miss you. I will miss you. I won’t. I will. I won’t.
This has been my thinking. 2018 - was without a shred of doubt- the hardest year of my life. You see, I thought I knew hard. Oh sweet, sweet Kalin, you did not know hard.
Anyone who clicks over here is ready for the list, so I won’t bore you waxing poetic about what’s hard and what’s not, but just a reminder that you can do hard things–you’ll survive–and make sure you eat good food along the way.
Here’s the list:
Lessons That 2018 Taught Me That Sorta Suck (don’t worry there’s a happy ending)
Grief is a real bitch. I mean where do I even begin? You knew this was coming. The cliff notes version for the one random internet stalker who landed here is this; in 2018 I lost multiple pregnancies. One of which ended in an emergency surgery situation. I’ve been grieving since February. Every day is new. And hard. And weird.
If you’ve never experienced grief; the only way I can describe it is: a roller coaster. You’re mad. You’re sad. You’re happy. You’re confused. You’re reevaluating your entire life. You’re crying. You’re laughing. It is true madness.
One thing I had working against me this year was that every cycle of grief was accompanied by an insane hormonal change each time. My body working up to produce the hormones I needed and then the slow steady drop of not needing them any longer. Or in the worst case, when my body kept going but we knew it wouldn’t last. Torture.
But oh honey, am I tough. Legit tough AF. And boy oh boy do I have the support network. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, but I do wish for you that one day you are forced to reach out and grab the hands offering to pull you back up. It’s a humbling and crazy time. But it’s so beautiful. I could weep thinking of those who love on us. And everything they’ve done for us this year.
To my sisters in the crazy throws of TTC. To the warrior women out there losing babies and subjecting yourself to more treatments and more appointments and more terrible phone calls. You are not alone. When you want to give up, it’s ok. I’ve been there. Take time off. 6 months. 12 months. Forever. Drink champagne and celebrate that you are free and then buckle up your bootstraps and get ready to try again if it feels right. Because what you want is valid and you deserve it.
And yeah–be mad. And find a great therapist. And go. Regularly. It helps.
Things will be out of your control. It’s hard. I could not for the life of me figure out why I kept crying about the trench this summer. Backstory if you missed it: we had a trench dug to run water to the tiny, it was, enormous. It was deep and big and 300 ft long and tore up the entire yard and OH YEAH–IT WAS COMPLETELY OUT OF MY CONTROL.
We are not in control. We are trying to be. That’s life. But things happen that you absolutely have no power over or ability to change and you will grasp at anything for answers and help but it won’t be there- because there’s nothing that can change it.
Whether it’s a trench in your backyard or the fact that your mom insists on inviting the priest to the wedding reception and you’re like “I’ve known this bro 10 minutes” - let some things go. Let them go and let them be. The trench got filled in. I eventually left the couch from my depression of no answers. The priest won’t stay long, just for the food. ;)
People will let you down. This is truly the most empowering blog post ever, I am LOL-ing. But seriously–people are gonna let you down honey lamb. This is life. This is ok. The person you thought was something probably isn’t. I’ve written before about how I believe life drops the people we need the most in it at the exact right time, even when we can’t see that for ourselves. But people leave your life too. This is the ebb and flow I talk about constantly. Release that.
You can’t do it all. If I perfected one thing in 2018, it was learning to say NO. Omg I said no to so many commitments and events and coffee dates and calls and zoom room things and retreats and trips and hangouts and dinner parties and events this year I should win an award. Saying no is beautiful. It shows you value you yourself. Remember you can say it too ;).
Dogs don’t live forever. When the vet told me “we are going to hospitalize Wally now” and then proceeded to tell me “this doesn’t look good” I was the insane woman at the vet clinic. INSANE. Sobbing. Blowing my nose. Demanding to see another doctor for a second opinion, a third, a fourth.
Lowering the tissues only to mutter “this dog cannot die.”
Wally is alive. He’s healthy. He’s insane. He removes shoe laces, and steals boots and farts audibly and he’s perfect.
Him and Maple are best friends. They bring so much joy to my life I sometimes think its unfair, that I get to have them.
They’ll never say a word. Their entire life here they will never say “hi” or “I love you”. They don’t know my name is Kalin. But they know me. They know the farm, they know our family, their cousin Muss. They listen for Matt. They know the sound of his truck pulling in the driveway and they go to wait by the door. They really do like the UPS guy even though it doesn’t sound like it.
They are never not happy to see us.
And we don’t deserve them. But somehow, they became ours. Our health scare this year taught me that as much as I wish it to be true–these furry four legged things in our life are not invincible. They are, here to teach us lessons. I hope you’ll look for them. Also sobbing right now as I write this, always with the dogs Kalin, Jesus.
It’s always something. One of my best friends takes her kid to the ER at 2 AM on Thanksgiving and the following Monday finds out she could lose her job after the New Year. Another friend of mine loses her brother suddenly. Another thinks she’ll marry that guy and they end up on opposite ends of the country and she’s lucky she got the dog.
You can’t survive on Netflix & sandwiches–trust me I tried. It is always gonna be something. But I mean this in the best way. When your career is thriving, you will feel inadequate in another sphere. When you are being an incredible best friend, you are drowning in work. When you’re able to be the spouse you want to be–chances are another ball is being dropped somewhere. “Leaning In” works–but you can’t lean into a million things at once, at the most basic level, you can really only lean in to one thing at a time.
So it’s always gonna be something, but if this year taught me any lesson its that the level of commitment you can give to everything at once isn’t a reflection of your worth.
The people. Your people are a reflection of you. 2018 will be the year defined to me by realizing how loved Matt and I are. In therapy almost weekly it is mentioned how insanely supportive and beautiful our network of people are. It really is incredible.
I credit a lot of learning to love on people from my parents. Growing up, I never realized what they were doing, but they were always loving on people. If someone needed something, my Mom and Dad showed up. With food. With help. With love. If someone didn’t have a place for Thanksgiving Dinner, my Dad opened up the door with a big hello and “let me take your coat” like they had been coming for 30 years.
My Mom with her angel-ninja-magic making abilities, made Christmas happen every year not only for us, but for countless families in our community she didn’t even know.
Omg I am a sobbing snot blowing mess as I type this.
So when people circled the wagons around us this year when it was hard, I realized they were circling because we love them back the only way we know how–the only way I was taught; fiercely.
So as you gather with those you love over the next few days, remember that the hard stuff passes, your life isn’t defined by things or accomplishments, I believe so much of it is defined by how fiercely you love.
Happy Merry Bright Jolly Peaceful Loving Everything.