I don't think there is any other way to phrase it: this year sucked. I'm sure that in another 50 years as I look back at my (immensely fabulous) life, this year will go down as one of the worst. I'm not sure if any of you have ever had the feeling of intense anxiety that comes with always waiting for the shoe to drop--and I certainly hope you haven't. It's awful, and this is the crippling kind of pain that I have been living with for the better part of this year: always waiting, preparing myself for the worst in regards to my health. I think about the things I was worried about this time last year and it all seems a bit ridiculous now. It's funny how time and experience can change your idea of "difficult."
I found out about two weeks ago that my body might be building antibodies to Remicade, the medicine I've been on since May that put my ulcerative colitis into remission. If that's the case, I can try one or two other biologics, but surgery is becoming a lot bigger of a reality and I've had to do a lot of thinking about what that would look like. Surgery. It's such a scary word. When I was little, I thought surgery was for really sick people who have something really wrong with them. Now I'm that really sick person, and something is really wrong with me. In a way it's a little humerous, but mostly it is terrifying. Never in a million years did I ever think I would have to consider major surgery at 23 years old. What the heck.
To say that this year has been a rollercoaster is an understatement. I feel like I was shoved off a cliff in March and I'm still falling. Except now, I have a parachute and I'm just trying to find a safe space to land. Since I have the luxury of a parachute and I have the ability to coast for a while, I have some time to think. I've learned a lot this year, and it hasn't all been so bad. I figured I would share some on here as we wrap the year up.
The most important things I learned this year, in no particular order:
1.) You don't always have control over the circumstances that you're thrown into, but you always have control over your outlook.
I absolutely have my really down days. There are days that I am miserable and mad that this is the set of cards God gave me. But, I can't change my set of cards. The only thing I can change is my attitude. UC sucks big time, but it has also alerted me to a host of other blessings in my life. This leads me to number two....
2.) It is never what you have, but who you have in your life that matters.
I have been overwhelmed by the incredible people in my life this year. From my amazing family that sat with me (and continues to sit with me) through all of the difficult things in my life; to my colleagues at work who didn't even bat an eyelash when their workloads doubled because I was sick. I remember my girlfriends showing up with flowers and a thousand magazines when I needed some cheering up. My friend Ryan brought me a whole week's worth of ready-made meals on Easter because I was sad I wasn't with my family. My best friend from middle school flew out to see me when my heart broke this Fall. I am so overwhelmed with how lucky I am in terms of the people I have in my life. And above all--my family. Goodness gracious I don't even know how to put into words how amazing they are. I am so, so lucky and I love them so much.
3.) Heartbreak doesn't have to be devastating, it can be an opportunity.
This was probably the hardest piece for me to process in 2014. When I love, I love hard. When something that you had such high hopes for doesn't turn out the way you want it to, it's devastating. There is a lot of crying and chocolate and wine and sad thoughts and Netflix binges and more crying. But the exciting thing about all of this is you get the opportunity to rediscover yourself, and rediscover the things you want from someone who you're going to let into your life. It's never easy moving on, but as my family says: "Buy a bag and get over it." :) And I'm doing just that. Thank you, 75% off Kate Spade sale.
4.) Everyone has a different path, there is not right or wrong way to live your life.
For the love of all that is holy, stop comparing your journey to someone elses. I can't even tell you how much I've talked with people this year about how nervous they are about the next few years because of what society "expects" them to do. It doesn't matter if that kid you went to elementary school with bought a house already, or if your best friend is getting married this Summer and you're not even dating anyone. Everyone has different goals and a different story. Don't think that you're failing for following your story into its next chapter.
5.) A good laugh really can make everything better. 'Nuff said.
2014 has been a year for learning, laughing and crying. I still have a long way to go, but I'll face whatever comes next with a smile. If anything, I'm pretty impressed that I can take as many hits as I did this year and turn out just fine. I think that bodes well for my ability to bounce back and live a wonderful life.
I am a tough cookie. I am still kicking. And I'm still wearing fabulous lipstick.