my year in review: flourishing in 2017

For my word of the year, I set flourish as my intention to see me through 2017.  Do you know what I learned though?  Sometimes flourishing is hard work that is worth it in the end.  Since I graduated college in 2011, I’ve had massive change every year from a new job almost every year to grad school to moving etc.  For the first time in a long time, I felt I was able to just settle in without a lot of change and just figure out where I am instead of trying to figure out where I should be.  This year brought a lot of comfort, knowledge, and processing.  It was a huge blessing to be able to just have this space to figure things out without any big changes. 

What I learned about flourishing in 2017:

1| I’ve learned that you don’t instantly flourish.  

There is often struggle involved in getting better and succeeding, HELLO LIFE LESSON.

2| Sometimes flourishing looks a lot like grace.

My autoimmune illness sometimes makes life unpredictable.  It has been hard for me to grasp that giving myself rest is what I need when there are a million things for me to do.  It is so easy for me to tell myself that flourishing is a to-do list, but it isn’t.

3| Sometimes flourishing looks like routine.

While this may seem contrary to number two, I’m realizing that flourishing has meant to show up for myself a little bit everyday.  There are intense periods where I have needed a lot of rest, I need the grace to allow myself that, but it also means to create enough of a routine so that I don’t feel overwhelmed in the margins.  There have been times that pushing myself to do just a little bit, instead of it all, has helped me feel better simply because I felt like I could count on myself.

I’ve been feeling really good the last couple of months so I’ve been really using this time well to minimize my need for more efforts.  This has been everything from getting rid of things in our closet to pairing down a lot of our belongings. 

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Here’s my recap for 2017:

Autoimmune issues stink, but it is so much better.

I started really hunting for some new Doctors after I spent months nauseous this year and was ignored.  I tried experimental diets.  I tracked symptoms.  I’m glad though because I found an amazing endocrinologist that is really actively working towards my goals and really listens to me.  I have been able to maintain and lose weight much more easier now, I walk every week and regularly exercise to keep my inflammation down as much as possible, and I am really celebrating over here because I recently realized my hair is looking thick enough that I can do more with it again.  I haven’t had a flareup since November and this is so amazing!

We went to Ireland!

This is a place that has always been on my list and when plane tickets were so cheap, we decided to go.  We went with my parents and Devin’s mom and step-dad; we’ve done Thanksgiving all together the last four years and decided we would do a trip on the fourth year.  We originally had planned on a cruise, but the Caribbean was destroyed by hurricanes and then we went to Ireland and ended up with the first hurricane there in 60 years.  Ireland is gorgeous and I totally want to go back with Devin… there is seriously so much to see still!

I'm being a basic tourist in my grass green sweater. I'm feeling pretty good about it .

I quit my job and I’m happy about it.

I never saw this one coming because I really love teaching ESL, but the drama at my job was too much.  After my boss gave me a list of ridiculous reasons on why he felt that he shouldn’t have to pay me for two months, I put on my sassy pants and went to town and then I put in my two weeks notice.

I thought I would miss working more than I did, but I haven’t.  I really enjoyed the students I interacted with a lot, but I’ve enjoyed more time to myself and I’ve loved having the evenings open (I previously worked nights) to be able to spend time with Devin.  I haven’t figured out how to tell people that I’m unemployed and I’ve stopped looking without receiving a million questions, but I’m happy so that is all that matters.

Today I had such a good reminder that I need outside & open space to feel grounded. I love IDing plants, smelling pollen, and being able to share thoughts and feelings with friends. There have been many times being unemployed has felt like it was the end of the world, but I'm certainly enjoying life being more simple .

Blogging mentors are awesome.

A huge thanks as well to my friend and blogging mentor Ashley!  I felt kind of stuck with what I was doing with blogging and I wasn’t seeing any growth there.  She has given me a lot of insights on how to turn stuff around, be a little bit more focused, and has given me a lot of encouragement to make a lot of changes!  I’ve made a lot of friends through blogging and I love bouncing ideas off of them!!

I relaunched my blog!

After seven years of blogging under Stay gold Autumn, I changed to The Spirited Violet.  I’ve honestly wanted to change my blogging name for years, but never found something that I absolutely loved.  I will always be passionate and introverted though.  I love my new blog name and with same encouragement, I made my first ebook, created a mailing list, and found a focus that really clicks for me.

7 years of marriage.

I’ve really enjoyed this time with Devin and having the ability for us to just get into a rhythm and have fun together.  I feel like we’ve become better at communicating our needs while also becoming more intuitive about each other; 7 years of marriage has been a sweet, sweet thing. 

Today is my favorite person’s 31st birthday! I’ll always remember when I was asking my Dad if I should continue dating Devin or not and he asked me how I would feel if Devin asked another girl on a date. I listed off a couple of reasons why I enjoyed spending time with him and ended with “I think everyone should have the opportunity to go on a date with someone like that.” It wasn’t the reaction my Dad was going for, but when I got off the phone and started actually thinking I realized: oh, I think *I* should should date this nice guy and I’ll let the other girls find their own; and I did. Devin is one of a kind. Thoughtful, genuine, understanding of people’s situations and circumstances, and intelligent. I enjoy our conversations and his sense of humor (which I think people would be surprised about since he is so quiet out). I learn a lot from him and he is a great example to me. Excited to see a million more birthdays with him!

Therapy pays off.

I’ve been going to therapy at least once a month since November 2016 again and sometimes it really stinks, but I’m really happy for the progress I’ve made the last few months.  I’ve had a few people ask me why I talk about therapy if it makes people squirm and I guess that’s exactly why I talk about it.  I can’t really control that I have CPTSD (because I would not choose it for myself) anymore than someone who is perfectly healthy and has genetic diabetes, but I can manage my symptoms and I can get help.  My triggers are sometimes still surprising to me, but I’m getting better at noticing when I am stuck emotionally and it has made my life overall much better.

In reference to the picture below, it has been over a year since I chewed my nails which is miraculous and amazing.

I have chewed my nails my whole life. When I was teaching special education, I found myself scrubbing my hands all day because it was so compulsive that I never thought about when I was doing it. After several months of therapy, it occurred to me that I have not chewed my fingernails IN MONTHS. It never occurred to me that THAT would disappear and with no effort on my own part. Therapy is good my friends, highly recommend. We are taking a very short weekend trip to do some exploring this weekend, I also highly recommend 🤓.

I brought home foster bunnies.

I love our bird, but I wanted something to keep myself a little bit busier when my seasonal depression hit this year.  As a huge animal lover, the logical thing was to go find myself something non-permanent to love on and I brought home two bunnies that week.  It honestly has helped a lot, but they certainly have kept me busier.  Can we talk about how for every ounce of adorableness these bunnies have that they are equally messy?  One of the bunnies is my literal spirit animal and likes to lounge, eat, and snuggle; the other bunny is constantly on a search and destroy mission on anything he can find to chew, dig at, or knock over.

I think I’m a bad person to foster animals because these rabbits are an absolute mess and they will hardly even let me pet them still, and yet, I tell Devin we can maybe keep them . Even I am like: no, no, no at this thought. Please bring me all of the cute and fuzzy things.

Georgia became a lot better.

I really made some genuine friendships this year and we’ve really made couple friends.  I’ve really lacked that sense of community since our move here five years ago and while our time here has progressively become better and better, I still felt a large sense of void on our experience here.  Do I still wish we lived somewhere less busy and smaller?  Maybe always, but it has been a great joy to be able to play fun games with friends and laugh at ridiculous things as well as be able to walk five miles every week.  I love when my friend’s little ones smile big when they see me and we were really grateful to have people invite us over for all of the holidays this year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.  It took some time, but we’re there and I’m really happy for it. ♥

There are a lot of things I like about the south, but I can't list them all so I'll just say the old houses, food, and the flowers. The detail on this house is dreams . Until I can get a historic Victorian charmer, I'll enjoy my lovely 1960s home (which has a former occupant history of FBI files and Wikipedia pages ).

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I am starting a series for 2018 where I discuss my word of the year on Youtube monthly and where I am seeing progress with that. I made a video recap discussing the goals I made for this year below; there is a lot of overlap between what I have already written here, but I specifically discuss the broad goals I made for myself in 2017.

This year has been full, but good.  I feel like I’ve been able to see a lot of my growth instead of just hope that I did 😉 .  I’m happy to see that 2017 was all about flourishing even if that meant some hard times too.  I’m really looking forward to 2018 just as I did 2017 and I have a lot of hope and excitement for what 2018 has in store.

What have been some themes you had throughout this year?  What was your high and low from 2017?

  • I am so happy for you and how you wrapped up 2017! I love the focus you have for your blog now and I’m so excited to see you flourish in 2018!

    One thing I had to learn about flourishing in 2017 was that it isn’t always sparkle and shine. I got caught up in flourish and success meaning I had to prove that I could make it in the big city. I built a great career, succeeded in Atlanta, had a ton of big corporate friends, but was overwhelmed and exhausted. All of the changes we made this year led to far greater joy and more passion than our previous life ever did.

    • You always have a way of putting things and you’re right: flourishing isn’t always sparkle and shine. I’m so happy that y’all were able to move to WV, simplify, and you were able to flourish too. You’ve made so many huge changes with blogging too! It has been a joy to be able to hear about your changes!!