2014: A Year of Adjustments; Bring on 2015!
What are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2015? There are many, but all of them are life resolutions (i.e. be a better child of God, wife, daughter, sister, etc.) and not something I can complete in the month between January and February when most well-intended New Year’s Resolutions are often left by the wayside; did you know more gym memberships increase in January than any other month? But, by February, the gym is typically deserted once again. This is not to say that resolutions or goals are not important; I am striving to live a healthier more active lifestyle, to budget better, to dust more often, to attend church more regularly, etc. But, I like to use New Year’s Eve as a time to look back on the previous year and reflect on the ways I would like 2015 — my quarter century year– to be both similar and different than the previous.
I say 2014 is the year of adjustments because for me it truly was. The whirlwind honeymooon phase of college graduation, a move to a new city, new marriage, a literal honeymoon and the beginning of a new job was over. By January of 2014, the real world set in and it was time to adjust to my new life in Phenix City. This included many adult things I didn’t feel prepared for.
What does it mean to be a wife? A manager at work as the youngest employee? A graduate student? I had no idea! Combine this with the fact that I did not have many close friends in my new home (which I was now in charge of managing, cleaning, etc.), and welcome to a LOT of stress and anxiety! As a recovering perfectionist, I wanted things to be just right. At this point, I was done waiting on life; life was here, and I wanted to make the most of every moment! Then, as a person accustomed to transitions– graduations, relationships, marriages, moves, etc. I started wondering what’s next? This day-to-day grind was really it? The 8-5 office job, the homework, the housework, the small disagreements that newlyweds are bound to have as they adjust to life together; where were the grand trips, the huge purchases, the next step? Starting out as a new couple means living on a budget and adjusting to a different lifestyle. I began to really miss being a kid where things just seemed…easier.
But, gradually, I began to accept my new life and I must say that in 2014, I survived and thrived. First, I learned about marriage. I started to discover what buttons to push (or not to push) to make life with my husband a happy, peaceful existence. I tried to put him first more often and to make less outside plans to allot time for us to bond one on one. I learned a lot about patience and commitment (after all, marriage is FOREVER, so the more I learn early on about my husband and the actions that I can take to strengthen our marriage, the better down the road when we encounter even more stressful situations, such as parenting.) I still have a lot to learn, but I think I have certainly improved in the spouse category (I guess to know for sure you’d have to ask Luke,) but I count it as a win.
Next, I learned more what it means to be an effective leader. As both the youngest and newest employee, I had to overcome several professional hurdles (thankfully gender has not been one at my company!), in order to gain the respect of my peers. I learned to compromise, to adapt my management style, to talk less and listen more. Although I know I still have a lot to learn, I feel much more confident in myself and in my position at our company. I also learned that success takes time and a LOT of hard work. But, it is still important to have an appropriate work-life balance. Work cannot be a last priority; neither can it be all-consuming. This one took a while for me to figure out (recovering perfectionist, remember?), and I must say that my sweet husband handled some really long hours really, really well. Since I have one more year of graduate school, I cannot promise that the long hours will disappear in 2015, but I do know that I manage my tasks and time much better and hopefully will not take my exhaustion or stress out on Luke
anymore as often if we are talking realistically.
Finally, we have made amazing lifelong friends in our new home that I will continue to treasure long after our time at Fort Benning comes to an end! Because time at an Army duty station is always too brief, we knew it was important to make lasting friendships as soon as possible in order to enjoy them longer! (Rachel Sampler also knows this; so so happy that you sent me that Facebook message to become friends after we met in the school parking lot ;)) As it worked out, we were fortunate enough to entertain often this year and to fill our home and hearts with some wonderful people. I can remember so many nights in 2014 laughing and talking with good friends into the wee hours in the comfort of our little apartment. We enjoyed double dating, watching ball games, attending parties, and eating meals together, and even some girls’ nights when our military husbands were out in the field for training. While it has been wonderful to have family visit throughout the year and to go to visit them as well, our friends here have become our family away from home, and I could not ask for better. Each and every one of them manages to inspire me on a near daily basis in multiple ways.
Now that 2014 is coming to a close, I can honestly say I feel pretty well adjusted. I am ready to be 25, to graduate from my master’s program, and to experience all of the wonderful adventures that come along the way. 2014 brings no regrets, only joy that some of the trials that seemed so hard at the time only served to make me stronger.
Cheers to you and yours and a Happy New Year to all!