I was inspired by the lovely Holly (@ready2Bmom over on twitter or at her blog ready2bmom.blogspot.com) a few weeks ago. She came in town for a visit and as we went through hours of chatting over dinner one night, she mentioned a tradition she began several years ago. One in which during the last hour of the year, armed with individual bottles of champagne, everyone spends an hour only saying the good things that happened over the previous year.
We all know that last year was not the best year for me. However, I was determined to try and follow her lead; it’s so easy to focus on all of the bad things that have happened…but in the midst it’s necessary to still try and find joy lest we go mad.
My new year’s guests (and husband) were not to be swayed. Our Power Hour became a Power Fifteen Minutes of me mostly yelling at them that “There had to be something good, so just pick something DAMMIT!”
I have a feeling that this was not how Holly’s Power Hour went.
Not to be deterred, on New Year’s Day, as I was nursing my cold and my tequila/champagne headache, I whipped out my iPad for a Power Hour list of my own. This is what I came up with:
1. I went to Washington, DC for RESOLVE’s Advocacy Day.
This was one of the foremost experiences of last year in my mind. It was an extremely short trip, but packed with unbelievable camaraderie and empowerment. I met some brilliant and strong people, made wonderful friendships come alive, spoke out in an effort to help others, and walked away stronger and more outspoken for infertility rights than I have ever been.
I will be back in 2014.
2. I took a photography class.
This was great! T gave me a camera back for a gift during my first IVF, and I played with it but never really learned much about it. I finally decided to take some classes and took 4 series of classes on photography at the beginning of the year. I learned so much and it was a valuable experience. I now shoot more on Manual than any other setting! (Not saying I always choose my settings correctly…I’m definitely still learning!)
But…I can have a less ignorant conversation about aperture, lighting, depth of field, ISO, etc so I’m feeling okay with what I know and am itching to learn more.
3. I went to Vegas and had an amazing date night while there with T.
More travel! We had a wonderful time while in Vega…we go relatively often so we didn’t need to go crazy while there, but we had a great date night…hit a lounge before dinner which just happened to serve our wedding champagne by the glass (and we of course imbibed) and then onto Craftsteak, where my love for Tom Collicchio continued to grow.
4. I was finally able to experience pregnancy.
This was a first in my life. After all of the years of doctor visits, pills, injections, etc, I was able to get a small taste of a miracle. For 8 weeks in the summer, I was nervously blissful and full of hope. And I loved every second of it.
5. I had some amazing friends and family to support me during the darkest days of my life.
My super high of the year led straight into my lowest low…but I had some amazing friends and family who stepped in to help hold me up. Without them, I don’t know how I would have made it. My mother-in-law came to the hospital to be with T during my D&C, my sister-in-law brought us dinner that night and just sat with us, my local twitter friend came bearing macarons as a proxy for so many wonderful women, my boss sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and innumerable friends sent care packages, cards, texts, tweets, messages to keep me afloat.
6. I kicked ass at work.
I accomplished all of my goals except for one (which I am still working on for 2014) but also accomplished way more than I even set out to do.
7. We had a fabulous 5th anniversary trip.
We decided to stay local for our 5th anniversary, since we did a week-long trip to NYC the year before. However, we had an amazing time playing at Disney, hitting the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT (and trying something from all 30 booths), and an amazing dinner at Victoria & Albert’s, one of the top restaurants in the country. It was great to get all gussied up in a super cute cocktail dress with T in a suit…he even made sure the weekend was full of surprises; champagne and truffles delivery to our room one night and flowers delivered to our table at dinner. What an escape.
8. I got to see the US Women’s National Soccer Team play live.
And of course we won! The crowd was great, we had good seats, and got to see all of the amazing skill these women possess in an exhibition game!
9. I joined a book club.
Why not? I met some more great people and there is alcohol involved.
10. I saw Barenaked Ladies in concert.
They don’t come to Florida very often and it had been almost 10 years since I last saw them! The venue was so much smaller and more intimate, which was a nice change, and we discovered a great new band (who knew Canada had country?).
11. I saw David Sedaris read in person…within spitting distance!
And I learned that I should probably try and curb my use of the word awesome. Thanks, David!
12. I had a girls’ weekend full of fun, sun, ice cream, and throwback children’s games.
Seriously…to celebrate my SIL’s birthday, a small group of women ran away for a long weekend and took to alcohol, giant sundaes, more alcohol, The Blue Man Group, the pool, shopping, manicures, pedicures, Candyland, and more alcohol. What a blast.
13. I was able to drag T to the symphony.
And the Ride of the Valkyries had the biggest hammer I have ever seen in my life. I want that percussionist’s job.
14. Had a group girls outing to see Miranda Lambert in concert and in honor bought my first pair of cowgirl boots.
I’m not a huge fan, so I crammed her music for a few weeks before (and discovered some great songs!) and spent even longer shopping for cowgirl boots. Even though our group to the concert was probably over 20 women, there wasn’t much drama and everyone had a great time.
15. Chopped my hair off.
I became a grown up! No more ponytails and buns. I still get compliments on my hair, 8 months later.
16. Made stronger connections with some of my existing friends; made some amazing new friends.
My trials brought a number of friends and me closer to each other. I was able to offer support to some friends just beginning the IVF journey. And I was lucky enough to meet some lovely women over the course of the year and spend time with them in a variety of ways.
17. We had our first ever Christmas dinner at our house.
Although we woke up to a neighborhood water main break and no water, we pulled it off and had a great time. I think the issues will just lead to some extra color and laughs in our future memories of the day.
It’s often difficult to not focus solely on the bad things; and 2013 was no less than devastating. But I am determined to move forward into 2014 with positivity and an air of gratitude. I will falter along the way, and that is okay.
Thank you, Holly, for directing my energies and thoughts in a more positive direction. You are an inspiration.