2018 in Review

This was a difficult year for me. I really thought it was going to be a good one, and things did start by going really well. But so much fell apart. Two members of my family passed away, plus three friends, plus one of my teenage idols (Dolores O’Riordan). My house was under at least partial construction 75% of the year, and full construction for a third. We had to replace both our cars. The grief and stress tore apart my health and my intentions to get things done in 2018. Our money situation spiraled dangerously out of control. I got really, really sick for most of the year. And I completely lost sight of my focus and goals.

But it wasn’t all bad. My children in particular reached great milestones this year. Morrigan did so well on the SATs and his AP tests, earned a place on a trip to our sister city in Japan, got into his first choice college, decided to apply for the Air Force, and voted for the first time. Ambrose learned to drive and got his license, the first one in our family to do so, in addition to being inducted into the National Art Honor Society at school, doing a fantastic job on the PSAT, and earning money over the summer as an apprentice to our contractor. Laurence had his first girlfriend, acted in the spring play, attended an extra summer class to get ahead when he started high school this fall, also did fantastic on his PSAT, and became obsessed with football to a highly knowledgeable degree.

I thought I’d do a quick recap of some aspects of my year. Books have their own wrap-up, of course. But books honestly weren’t a big part of the year. I had the lowest reading number I’ve had since I began blogging (49 books) and my focus stayed mostly on other things.

Movies
I probably I saw more movies this year than the last decade combined! In theatre, I saw Darkest Hour, The Post, A Wrinkle in Time, Book Club, The Neverending Story, Adrift, The Incredibles 2, Crazy Rich Asians, A Simple Favor, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald, and Mary Poppins Returns. At home (recent releases only), I saw Forever My Girl, Murder on the Orient Express, The Greatest Showman, Coco, Leave No Trace, and Little Women. My favorite of the year, by far, was The Greatest Showman, which I wish I’d seen in theatre. I became obsessed with the soundtrack in particular. It was the only thing I listened to for months and it still makes me feel alive and joyous every time I hear it – a particular achievement during this awful year!!

Cats
We unexpectedly adopted two cats, Jojo and Atticus, bringing our household cat number up to five. Things haven’t been easy. The two factions (the three former cats vs the two newer cats) tend to catfight, literally. But Jojo in particular has made great strides from a traumatized terrified kitten to a mostly-loving, relatively-calm cat. And while the strain of having five of them is overwhelming at times, I adore all of them and am happy to have them in my life.

Health
I had a really rough year in health as well: a major change in medication, the loss/distortion of my sense of smell, an early entrance into perimenopause, and no progress toward rooting out the cause of my severe insomnia disorder despite many tests. Then there was of course the four months of construction through the summer that derailed and undid the progress I’d made in losing weight over the spring. It’s been a hard year, but I have to admit that in terms of taking care of myself, I’ve done far better than I would have expected given all that’s happened. I averaged 3.1 servings of fruits and vegetables daily (this is hard for me), had a step count average of 9440, and consistently cut my sugar, processed food, and eating out throughout the year. My health numbers (cholesterol, insulin, etc) have all improved as well. I exercised on 249 days (68% of the year), for a total of 221 hours (over 9 full days!). I walked/jogged 381 miles. I practiced yoga 181 times. The best part of this is that I’m back to a consistent fitness regimen, which will help tremendously in the coming year. Now let’s just hope for better health in all the other parts of my life and body in 2019!!

Goals
Quick recap of my 2018 goals. If I tally up general percentages on all of these (including zeroes), I’m left with about three-quarters completion this year. Given that the year was one unexpected catastrophe after another, I think I did as well as I was able.

Goals I completed this year: participated in a 5K; got four professional massages; walked 300+ miles; sold our WI house; paid off our credit card (even if this was later undone); finished my afghan; used/gave away my yarn surplus; avoided social media stress; went to five new-to-me places/events in town; visited the Cat Cafe; visited the local meat market; saw a movie in theatre; tried out a new TV show

Goals I didn’t complete this year: any meaningful weight loss; look for a therapist; visit the zoo; attend a Paint Your Pet night

Partial completion, plus goals that were optional: 750 fitness minutes per month (reached every month except June and August); consistent yoga (every month except through summer/construction); better nutrition (changed per what was happening); work to make the house/yard more comfortable (started but interrupted by construction); volunteer (optional, none); write (optional, a minimal amount)

Other
There were some lovely things to remember and celebrate from 2018, which I tried to record in each of my monthly wrap-ups.  The positives may not outweigh the overwhelming negatives of the year – really, not having a livable house situation for four months straight is just AWFUL, not to mention losing TWO family members back to back – but I still want to remember the things that made this year bearable.

Looking back over the year more closely:

January: Lots of illness in the family, but we also sold our WI house and (briefly) got out of credit card debt. Also, lots of yoga (and Yoga With Cats at the Cat Cafe).

February: Overwhelmingly sad with the death of my grandmother. Read my favorite book of the year, watched a lot of Olympics. We adopted Jojo.

March: Made great improvements in my health and started really losing weight for the first time in years. Replaced our roof with eventual catastrophic results.

April: Continued to do well in weight loss. We brought home and adopted Atticus, who immediately bonded with Jojo. Xeriscaping began on our front yard.

May: A hard month, as usual, where I spent a big portion of the month mourning and binge-watching TV. I discovered Lularoe.

June: Construction insanity revealed, as well as my uncle’s cancer. Entered months of no kitchen, no exercise, no time for anything but construction. Due to stress, I went a bit crazy with Lularoe.

July: Continued with construction insanity, plus my uncle passed away. Morrigan went to Japan.

August: Band camp. Construction finally finished up at the end of the month. School began again.

September: House exploded again, creating more construction nightmares. Jason’s car exploded. Jason and I went on our cruise.

October: Morrigan dominated the month with all his excellent milestones and achievements. Plus Halloween.

November: Full holiday mode and lots of time spent with extended family. The announcement of my sister’s third pregnancy. Actual fall weather.

December: Christmas. Anniversary. Football. Renewed determination in my health and wellness journey. Illness. Insane nutcrackers. More Christmas.

That about wraps the year up. I hope you all had a much better year than I did. Please send me all the good wishes that 2019 will be an awesome one. I need an awesome year. It’s been too long. And to you, happy new year, I send you all the good wishes too! Let’s make this next year awesome for all of us!

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About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
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