2017 in Reflection

For many people, myself included, 2017 has been an exhausting year.

I started off the year in a haze of anxiety and fear over the US election — a haze that only really stopped when I very intentionally stepped back from social media for a little while and tried to give myself some space. I donated when I could, and voted in my local elections, but otherwise feel like I didn't give enough or do enough to counteract all of the awfulness going on in my country. I've felt powerless and paralyzed. In 2018, I want to find sustainable ways to empower myself and my communities.

Improving my mental health was a focus of 2017. I was, quite honestly, a disaster in the beginning of the year. I experienced multiple panic attacks. After a significant amount of time and effort, I was finally able to see a psychiatrist. (Seriously y'all, why is it so hard?) For most of my life I've been opposed to medication (for myself, not others), but my anxiety meds have made a world of difference for me. My stress and anxiety are manageable, and actually reflective of reality, rather than high-key all the time for no reason. I feel like going out and being social again. I haven't had any more panic attacks. It took a lot of work, but getting the mental health support I needed was worth it.

My family went through a lot of pain and strife this year, which took up a great amount of mental and financial resources. I think — hope? — it brought us closer together, and we made it through the year intact. I'm considering that a success. I hope next year brings some much deserved peace and prosperity to my family.

Work was pretty intense this year. I took on a lot more responsibility than I thought myself capable of handling. In a lot of ways, I was right — I made a lot of mistakes this year. I got mired in details that didn't matter as much as the bigger picture. I learned and grew quite a bit. I led a WordPress release and it actually went pretty well. I learned a lot about my work habits (and my brain) that I'll be able to put to good use next year. I'm starting out 2018 with a professional coach, to help keep myself on track and focused, and to learn even more about how I can make the best use of my skills. Better late than never, eh?

A lot of people supported me this year:

  • My partner Kelly, who was with me every step of the way. Thanks for always supporting me, cheering me on, and being patient with me despite many of this year's hurdles. Thanks for listening to me rant, and helping me deal with the enormous work and family stress I was under this year. I hope I can always be as good a partner for you as you've been for me. 
  • My older brother Chris, who saw our family through some incredibly tough times this year. Thanks for your composure, your leadership, and for making sure our family got through the year with a roof over everyone's heads. This year would have been a whole lot harder without you.
  • My coworker and friend Tammie, who was my cheerleader the whole year. Thanks for the check-ins, the support and confidence, and for checking my work to make sure I was showing my best.
  • My team lead Josepha, who helped me through many difficult situations and worked hard to find the best way to support me. Thanks for listening, and for keeping me on-track.
  • My WordPress release buddies Weston and Jeff. I couldn't have made it through the year without either of you. We did it together.
  • All my wonderful internet friends. I love you all ❤️
  • My therapist. Paying someone for professional emotional labor is the shit, y'all. A++ would recommend.

2017 was hard. Damn hard. I hope that it's made me stronger, more resilient, and a better friend, coworker, and partner.

Here's to 2018.

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