So long 2016! We are about to slam the door on another year passed. It was turbulent, chaotic, stressful, fun, and most of all, memorable. Every month, every day, every step of the year helped me become a better person than who I was 365 days before.
In January, I was forced to conquer two of my biggest fears: flying and international travel. Even today, I’m perfectly happy to see distant places in photos only. But God placed me in an international charity, so now I have to fly to wherever we are doing work. This year, my job sent me on an 18 hour flight to India. It changed the rest of my year, and possibly my life.
In February, my heart was a wreck. I thought I might be in love with someone I met in India. I told Joel, my American boyfriend we needed to go on a 3 month break. I was searching for my value as a person. I was searching for God.
March was even tougher than February. The situation seemed to escalate on every side. Joel was devastated and reached his lowest point, while I was trying to be content with being alone and understand my feelings for Suraj. The harder I tried to hold the pieces together, the quicker they shattered in my hands.
April was when everything erupted. I had to say goodbye to Suraj with not even a friendship left to salvage. Joel was still working through his spiritual trials. I didn’t know what to do with my life. My only option was to live one day at a time. Work kept me busy. I moved from one project to the next, thankful that when my coworkers were thrown into the mess of my personal life, they embraced me instead of pulling away.
Honestly, I don’t remember much about May. The only day I really remember is May 14th, the end of the 3 month break. For weeks I imagined how the moment would play out: He would knock on the door with a bouquet of flowers. I would run into his arms and give him the biggest hug ever while we cried in each others arms…In reality, I was vacuuming and didn’t even hear the door the first time he knocked. Then, we were both so reserved that the best embrace we could manage was an awkward side hug with puffy-red eyes…We spent the rest of the month getting to know each other as though we were new people.
June was like a breath of fresh air after living under a dense smog. Chloe and I flew to California to visit Theresa. Once again, my fear of flying was tested, and after getting on the wrong train and going through TSA twice we managed to find our flight and get to our friend. It was a great time, and it helped me realize that my friends still loved me. Even after my huge mess-up. I was so inspired by what I’d learned that I started this blog to help others!
Whew! We’re half way through the year. How about a quick dance break?
Now back to the action!
In July, Joel and I were pretty confident that we wanted to get back together. When we did, we turned out to be stronger and better than ever before. Together, we set some ground rules and boundaries and have been working on our communication ever since. (His has always been fine, but I struggle to turn my feelings into words, ironically.) I decided to work on my physical health as well, so I joined a gym and invested in their personal trainer package. I say “invested” because it is quite a bit of money, but every dollar has been worth it. I’m able to do more and experience more out of life now.
Still lovin’ it!
August was full of house-sitting, gym, job training, and learning what it means to be a precinct leader. Yep, I wanted to get involved with this election, so I showed up to my first-ever caucus and got nominated for precinct leader. Talk about escalating quickly! I had no experience and didn’t know what to expect. While walking the neighborhood with my precinct-partner, I learned that some of the neighbors I thought were nice, really do not like it when people knock on their door to encourage them to vote…Yet other neighbors that I never met were very nice and even thanked me for what we were doing. I also went back to college to get a degree in Business. So far, I’m learning how to be a better business person and how to be a better person in general!
September forced me to deal with some of my deeply suppressed character flaws. I was jealous and insecure, and I had to work through that without blaming others. Chloe and I also won tickets to see Tim McGraw in concert, and it was amazing. Joel and I went to the top of Pikes Peak, and talked about porn in society for the entire 45 minute drive up the mountain. I tried Zumba for the first time when I learned that a friend from High School would be teaching. I also had to accept that my dog was getting old, when the vet discovered arthritis in Kasey’s spine…
October kept me busy: I finished walking my precinct for the election, and gathering/making everything for our costumes. I wasn’t sure how much longer Kasey would be with me, so I wanted the costume to include her. This Halloween, we made costumes for Doug, Russell, and Carl from the movie UP. We watched the movie 4 times during the month to make sure the costumes were accurate and to get into our characters. Also because it’s a really good movie!
I couldn’t find the cone of shame for Kasey! She was glad…
Finally when November came, I was like a caterpillar emerging as a butterfly. I felt secure in my relationship with God, and that gave me a sense of peace in all other relationships. Theresa flew in from California so we could go camping. But we had to flee from the mountain when it began to snow since we accidentally brought our summer sleeping bags! We saved the weekend by renting a hotel room. And after a quick run to the store for craft supplies, we painted glittery snowflakes all night! This was the month for some not fun things too: I got my most recent parking ticket, and my friend had a devastating class 5 aneurysm the day before Thanksgiving. She was rushed to the hospital, and is still making progress…
December…I will actually miss you. This was honestly the best month of my year. Joel and I have worked through most of our fears from the past and fears about the future. I flew all by myself to visit family in Arkansas. So although I’m still afraid to fly, I don’t have as many panic attacks now…I lost my Christmas joy and gained it back with the help of friends. And I chopped off 17 inches of hair and gave it to Wigs for Kids.
2016: It was rugged and rough and really, really good for my character.
Yet my greatest life lesson this year, I actually learned in one of my Business classes…I learned that it’s okay to mess up. It’s okay to make mistakes and be wrong. The only way I truly fail is if I don’t learn anything from it.
While I’m grateful for the lessons and growing pains, I hope 2017 will be more kind…
Karianne is the founder of Windmill Ways. She plays the cello professionally and currently works as an Art Director for a charity. Because she loves animated shows and movies, she studies 3D animation and graduated with a BFA with the unfortunate class of 2020. Her dream vacation would be just staying home, but "home" being a glamorous cabin somewhere in the mountains surrounded by forest.
Favorite band: Lord Huron
Favorite book: This Present Darkness
Favorite quote: "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:20-21 (NLT)
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