16 Things I Learned in 2016

As I sit here on New Year’s Eve (nursing a cold because, of course this year should kick my arse one more time before it expires), I find myself deeply conflicted over the year that was. It’s been one of the worst years in my adult life, fraught with illness, treatments, side effects, failures, and disappointments. But at the same time, it’s been one of the best years I’ve had as a married person; Joey’s and my relationship has grown by leaps and bounds while trying to make sense of our circumstances. I’ve learned more about myself in these twelve months than I ever knew, and I’ve done things I never thought I’d be able to do.

I also find myself ill-at-ease about what 2017 has in store. I do know that the infertility journey will continue.  Round 3 of the meds/trigger shot didn’t work, so we get one more try with that before we have to make the decision as to whether to visit the infertility clinic or go ahead and start saving money to go toward an adoption. Will 2017 be filled with pregnancy and labor and a baby? Or home studies and paying thousands to an adoption agency, waiting and hoping someone chooses us to give their child to? It’s too overwhelming to think about at this point.

So in light of this time of reflection, here are 16 things I learned this year.

  1. I learned that (non-life-threatening) surgery isn’t as scary as I’d feared. I was pretty terrified the couple of days before my endometrioma removal, but the day of, I was remarkably calm. After an excellent nap, I was back home only six or seven hours after I’d left.
  2. I’ve learned that you should try to avoid opiates as much as possible. I didn’t even take that many of them and STILL ended up with weeks of stomach and (lack of) poop troubles. No way.
  3. I learned what my insides look like.  Gross.
  4. I learned how to tell where your ovaries are on an ultrasound, what cysts and follicles look like (and when they’re big enough).
  5. I learned what endometriosis really is and why I’ve always felt crampy and uncomfortable for most of my adult life.
  6. I learned what menopause feels like (along with bone pain, brain fog, etc).
  7. I learned that walking in the woods and hiking mountains cures most of my anxieties.
  8. I learned that I can do HARD physical things. And I have the journey up Mount Mitchell  and FIVE 5K races to prove it.
  9. I learned that diet and exercise changes really can drastically improve your body in both appearance and lab results.
  10. I learned over and over again, with every small and large gesture, that my husband is one of the best people on the planet and far better than I deserve.
  11. I learned that being responsible for a dog really does make me want to be a better person.
  12. I’ve learned to change my prayer from “God, please let me have ‘x,'” to “God, please help me to accept what You are going to do.” (still working on this, obviously)
  13. I’ve learned to stop clinging so tightly to things I’ve loved in the past but that cause a great deal of stress and anxiety.
  14. I’ve learned that I don’t want to have to hustle to be a freelance writer; I may love to write, but I don’t love the stress of constant pitching to clients. I’ll be okay in my stable, corporate job at this point; I’ll write because I love to and will just wait on God to see what comes.
  15. I’ve learned that adult coloring books are straight out of heaven.
  16. I’m starting to learn that I don’t need to apologize for saying “no” to things sometimes.  It’s not my job to fulfill everyone else’s needs all the time.

I think I’ll be back tomorrow with goals for January. Signing off for now.

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