Sunday, December 30, 2018

Farewell 2018: A Year in Review

"Change is Constant, but growth is optional. Remain stuck or do better; where you end up is dependant on your attitude towards life."
- Vex King


I've been reading all of my posts from 2018, hoping for a burst of inspiration to help me begin this year in review. Nothing, yet everything. It has been quite the year, to say the least. The year started on a slow simmer and by mid-march the boil was rapid, and then in June water began pouring over and I was drowning. I guess that is the only way to describe it. This year has been like playing chicken with a freight train and anticipating the hit, always on high alert, always preparing for impact. Sounds exhausting, right?

Well, grab a cup of coffee, throw some whiskey in it and lets chat! I want to know all about your year and I want to share a little bit about mine in complete transparency! *Cheers*

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My Word of the Year was Focus, and a detailed list of all the things I'd focus on this year was written. I checked every area of focus off my list. And yet, there was more ahead for me in the year 2018. Sometimes when we say "Focus," what we really mean is, "Re-Focus" or  "Shift-Focus." These lessons have jumped out at me like a flashing yellow light that told me to slow down and proceed with caution. And so, I did. With no force, no expectations, just willingness to discover. Loss, endings, death, anxiety, confusion, and bitterness. I have learned to replace them. Gain, New Beginnings, Gratitude, Memories, Love, Peace, and Happiness - Sometimes life throws our vision out of focus, and that's okay. Endurance, this was the year of endurance. *Excerpt from my Instagram.

My heart was set on focusing on 4 areas this year: Building my clientele, getting healthy, finding a new hobby, learning new recipes to cook. They sounded dreadful at the beginning of the year. Absolutely fucking dreadful. Yet, here we are, with a few short days left of the year and I can't help but laugh at how simple these areas of focus were to achieve and how quickly I blew through them while also forming the habit to stay focused on keeping them going. Now, I'm looking at a timeline for this year, almost like I'm looking at a hologram of my life in 80's montage form with "Time after Time" by Cyndi Lauper playing in the background. A girl can wish. Seriously though, every monumental moment of this year is flashing by and I'm realizing how much my focus changed throughout the last 12 months. And well shit, I fought like hell to keep certain things from happening. I stomped my feet and cried like a little kid in a grocery store who just wanted that bag of candy. Sadly, life is going to happen the way it is meant to happen, we just gotta learn to roll with it. I've said it before and I'll say it again for those of you in the back row...

"Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."

Roll your eyes at that, it's okay. I used to as well. I'm with ya girlfriend! But here is why, after 2018, I truly believe in that statement...

1. My Character was Questioned. And I was fucking pissed. One time was when I was setting up to do some yoga and mindful meditation. I went to check my phone one last time before I put it on silent, and BOOM, it happened. and the words "Are you fucking kidding me" spilled out of my mouth into my Lavender-Camomille tea. Thus, a 3 day battle of looking at myself in the mirror and repeating "They don't know shit! You are You! Keep Going!" And then my brilliant husband (don't tell him I said that) reminded me of one little thing, the person who questioned my character is someone who I don't even know and I was being questioned off of hear-say. I picked myself up off the floor, shifted my focus once again, and Kept Going.

2. I had to make hard decisions. I know I'm not the only one. We all have to make a difficult decision at one point in our lives. And for me, these decisions would shift my life in a complete 180 but not before it spun me around a few times so that I didn't have a clue which direction to go in once I stopped spinning. These decisions had me in the fetal position under the blankets on our bed, sitting in the shower sobbing uncontrollably, and sitting on the floor in our kitchen drinking a bottle of wine. No Joke and You're Welcome to the visuals. But every single time, I'd pull myself back up, tighten my bootstraps and get to moving along. "CowGirl Up Bitch! You got shit to do!" my best friend would say! I've learned to Focus on my emotions and become more aware of what makes me uncomfortable so that I'm able to pull myself to solid ground during a storm. My emotions mean that these decisions were truly difficult and often felt like I was cutting out my organs with a dull knife. But, these emotions also reminded me that all the decisions I was making were for good reason. 

3. I had to say Goodbye. A few times. There was a lot of loss this year, in many ways. If not in my life personally, the people around me lost a lot and I felt for them in so many ways. Friendships (*refer to #2), My Grandmother, My Childhood Home, My Family. Saying Goodbye became my most used line for the year 2018 - a line that I never asked for in many areas. With Goodbyes, come new perspectives and lessons. Learning to Let Go was one, no, honestly letting go was the main ingredient of 2018. And now I feel as if I'm coming out on the other side. A few days ago I went back through my journals of 2018 and I realized how sad and frustrated I was in many of my entries. I was screaming, begging to let go. I was over the pain and anxiety of my clinginess. It would have been easier if someone would have just ripped *it out of my hands and threw it in a wood chipper, because that way, I wouldn't have to make the choice. 

4. I lost my comfort zone. The Biggest hit I took this year was saying goodbye to my Childhood Home of 22 years. Full Transparency, I didn't even want to include this topic in my year in review. I'm still not over it. It's been the hardest blow this year and that's why, through the tears, I'm including this area of focus. I knew my parents were dappling with the idea of selling the house and at first, I wasn't angry about it because they discussed staying in the San Diego Area. But then my sister moved in August 2017 and I knew my parents wouldn't stay. In my bones and my heart, I knew they were leaving. A series of events led up to my parents making the decision to sell. I know it was hard for them, they have made this house their home for 22 years. We moved in, in June, and we moved out in June. It couldn't have been easy. Thinking about the fact that someone is living in MY Home and MY Room makes me sick to my stomach. I get sick just thinking about how I can't go home and my parent are not there. It's a very naked, vulnerable feeling. I don't like it at all. I think this loss will be one that takes a while to get over. 

5. My Anxiety landed me in the ER. I welcomed October by spending the night in the emergency room. I don't like thinking about that night because it was truly traumatizing. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think, My Vision was blurry, I was cold, I was hot, and I truly didn't think I would be coming back home from the hospital that night. I don't remember too much, but I do remember thinking I was going to have a heart attack in the car while my poor husband was trying to get me to the ER. and then I remembered thinking "Oh my God, I'm going to die and my parents are in another state!" Shoutout to Anxiety for these terrifying thoughts. In my defense, I have heart problems and when you feel like you're having a heart attack, all of these thoughts come flying through your mind. Physical Health was all clear. But my mental health was not. Time to Re-Focus!

6. Losing my Grandma. On our 4th Wedding Anniversary. Yup, it's true! I was at the Salon when my dad called me to tell me. I don't remember exactly what he said, but I do remember screaming. And I do remember the heartbreaking feeling that my dad no longer had his mom or his dad. I couldn't even fathom. You'd imagine my reaction when only an hour after that thought, my mom told me that my dad had made the exact comment, "I don't have a dad or mom anymore." - I was done. Broken. Shattered. Devon and I had plans to go to a super fancy and expensive steakhouse for dinner. We had talked about going there for years and he made the reservations. He told me we didn't have to go and we could just stay home. I ended up pulling myself together and we had a really good dinner. The staff overheard that I lost my grandma and included not only a dessert that said "Happy Anniversary," but a 2nd dessert that said "Condolences," - it was a kind jester. 


Through it all, I found the importance of having people in your life that you can count on, truly count on. I found who was in my corner and who wasn't. Who had my back at all times, not just when in my presence. Who would be there when shit hit the fan and who couldn't handle it. I also found an inner strength that I never knew that I had. When you battle daily with anxiety, finding some form of strength can be anywhere from difficult to non-existing. I've learned to stand alone and have my own back. I have become aware of triggers with my anxiety and I chose to take the necessary steps back and in another direction to protect my mental health. I've stopped explaining myself and stopped apologizing. I have learned to have grace with myself. I feel more myself then I have in years. And it's a good fucking feeling. I am alive. I have healthy. I am loved. I am happy. I am ready to take on 2019. It has been one hell of a year, but we made it girlfriend! So, pull yourself up by the bootstraps and cowgirl up bitch, you got shit to do!! *cue Cyndi Lauper* 


Love Yourself and Love other people! Love, Love, Love!

Instagram: @ash_felkner || Twitter: @ashleefelkner