Yet another year has come full circle, meaning it’s once again time for my annual reflection. This one is going to be a little different and a little less upbeat than past reflections because, honestly, 2018 sucked. It was full of heartache, disappointment, and saying “goodbye”…which is why I’ve dubbed this one “The Year of Loss.”
The first major blow hit me in March, when I got laid off from my blogging job at CharityUSA.com, LLC (AKA GreaterGood). It was all so sudden; I never saw it coming. And especially because I was a respected member of my team, it came as an enormous shock that shook me to my core. Then, of course, came the stress of filing for unemployment and searching for a new job.
The second major loss came when my parents sold the house I grew up in. I’d long since moved out and gotten my own place, but until August, it had always been there, a safe haven to which I could return if needed. Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy for my parents, as they have moved into a condo that they love. But it was still the end of an era.
The third loss was undoubtedly the worst, most painful one of all: the man I loved broke my heart. While he was far from perfect, he made me happy. He was so kind and respectful, and we had so much fun together. Five months ago, I was 100 percent confident that I’d have a ring on my finger before the end of 2018. I even had a date in mind for our wedding: September 7, 2019.
Then everything changed so fast that it nearly gave me whiplash. Less than a month after our relationship suddenly plummeted south, one week after our first anniversary, he stood me up on a date and broke up with me via text message. I was left angry, confused, humiliated, and devastated. Four months later, I’m still dealing with the disappointment of shattered expectations and the hurt of losing someone so important to me.
Of course, there were certainly good things that happened this year. But, especially since many of them happened because of Jared, they feel much less sweet to me than they would have, were we still together. We went on several fun trips together—to Chicago, to Traverse City, and to various concerts—including that of my all-time favorite band, Daughtry. He was the one who encouraged me to follow my heart and apply for a job that was truly meaningful to me.
And even though what he did to me was inexcusably wrong and showed his true colors—that he was actually a total jerk—thinking about the laughter and love we shared in the past year makes me miss him so much.
But even in the midst of my losses, there has been joy and comfort. I’ve received so much support and kindness from so many people—some of whom were actually strangers (i.e. the amazing staff of Embassy Bar and Grill, who supported me when I received that damning text from Jared and gave me my meal for free)! To those people who have been there for me through the hard times…I want to sincerely thank you.
On another happier note, this year I started working in a group home for four disabled men. While it’s certainly been stressful, it’s also brought me incredible joy and new friendships. I have grown as a person, becoming braver, stronger, more patient, and more compassionate. It is a job that gives me a feeling of meaning and purpose; it’s good to know that what I do truly matters and is important.
A few other random things that happened to me, both good and bad:
- I took my first-ever ambulance ride a couple weeks ago when I randomly passed out at the grocery store one night. I’m seeing my doctor in a few days to follow up and see if we can figure out what happened. Fingers crossed that I get a good report!
- In addition to seeing Daughtry in concert, I saw another favorite band of mine, Skillet. I got to high-five the lead singer and his wife as they passed by my row. It was awesome!
- I got the immense scare of hearing that my dog had melanoma. Luckily, her prognosis is promising, so hopefully she’ll still be here for a few more years.
- I got to see a sloth at the Chicago zoo.
As for my expectations in 2019? I’m hoping to start planning a trip through Europe—an adventure that’s been on my bucket list for ages now. Other than that, I only wish that next year will be less of a disaster.
Don’t let me down, 2019. Please.