Why 2020 is going to be a great year!
At year’s end, I have had too many things to reflect on to keep them all bottled up inside me. It’s weird because I’m generally a sappy suck when it comes to music, movies, and TV shows, but not on occasions such as New Year’s Eve or even birthdays. The first NYE that I remember really being affected by was 1999, and not because of Y2K and getting caught up in the mass hysteria of computers failing, signalling the end of the world, but rather because I’d had my first-ever massive break-up as a grown-up that year. And it’s set in my memory because of the nostalgia of being with my bestie before I moved away, which makes it a bit more significant (remember Dave putting chocolate fondue on his head, Nic?).
Anyway, I can’t exactly explain why NYE and thoughts of 2020 trickled into my psyche a bit more this year. I’ve half-heartedly joked to a couple of people that I’m hitting a midlife crisis, but that’s not it. I’m not filled with dread over the coming year. Not worried about getting another year older. It’s pretty much the opposite. I think I’m as excited about the coming year as I was over the two other most significant NYEs that I’ve had: 1) the one that I spent engaged, having been proposed to only two short weeks before the turn to 2011, and 2) going way back to when I was pregnant and the coming year was to feature the birth of my daughter! Yep, haven’t been this excited or jazzed about the future since either of those years.
I firmly believe 2020 has wonderful things in store for me, and not just because much of 2019 was garbage, comparatively. The year saw an inordinate amount of stress on my husband and me, which then trickled (though, ye gods, I tried to prevent it!!) down to our daughter, which then brought even more stress and shame to us as her parents. But we know our mindsets have a lot to do with where we're at. And that brings me to why I feel like 2020 will be a banner year. Because I believe it will. I have shucked off so much negativity and shit in 2019 that 2020 just has to be better.
I have been drowning in grief since 2014. Those who know me well have heard the story that I had, as a teen and 20-something, always joked that if something happened to my Mom, I would end up in the psych ward. There’s a lot to unpack there as to why I felt that way in the first place but, suffice it to say for now that it almost became a self-fulfilling prophecy in 2014 and the years since. This missive isn’t to detail my mental health decline, however (though that’s for another story, currently in the works, btw). Rather, I think I’m finally getting to a better point of acceptance, sanity, and (I believe this is key to my sea-change) letting go of who I was when my Mom died.
It’s occurred to me that I have not only been grieving my Mom, but who I was before, when, and even somewhat since she died. I was a researcher with a rocket trajectory career. I was a brilliant academic who had just taken a new post at a prestigious university teaching hospital and I was at a starting salary making more money than I’d ever seen in my life. Things were looking way up.
Then Mom died.
And I tried but I couldn’t get back to work. Especially not doing what I had been.
And everything tanked from there. Finances, for sure. Mental health, extraordinarily. Sense of self, lost. Confidence, gone.
It's funny because I'd started this website and blog and writing venture during this down time, but was never even fully able to give myself to it as I am now. But this year, I’ve finally turned a corner to be not only ok with who I am and what I’m doing now, but to actually be excited about it! I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings - wait, cap that - it’s not what 2020 brings me - it’s what I’M BRINGING to 2020!! And I’m so damn excited about it. I’m happy with who I am, I’m excited about the things I’m going to do - and not just at home with my own little family, but what I’m going to bring to the world.
I feel like I’m finally getting back to some semblance of being ‘me’ - but with a 2020 spin. I’m older, wiser, all that crap, sure, but I’m feeling comfortable in my own skin and in my own brain for the first time in years. I’ve even gone back to forcing earrings through the several holes in my ears that had closed up and colouring my hair (oh, dear bottled fun, it’s been far too long). People who have only met me in the last 5 years (business networking people, kid’s friends’ parents, I’m looking at you) are going to assume I’m cracking up and truly going through a midlife crisis, but what they don’t see and can’t possibly know is that I’m actually just waking up again. Emerging from an immensely dense fog of grief, worse than Sherlock’s moors. I am waking up to being Jen again and goddamn it feels good. (I just have to be careful now to not fall into any traps of regret for the way my life has played out over the last 6 years, especially as it was during my daughter’s late childhood. Although I can say that, if anything, I think my time with her was the only thing that did not suffer and I made damn sure of that because of all the shit we’d already been through.)
Maybe this is all just because my hemoglobin levels are finally being corrected. It bottomed out big time in 2019. I ended up in the hospital thisclose to a blood transfusion. But hey, if my perspective, energy, excitement, and clarity of thought are due to increased hemoglobin (and in many ways, they most surely are, as I know the physiology very intimately having been a nurse for 20 years), I’ll take it! If this is what being healthier feels like, bring it on! I can get used to feeling like this.
It's almost like I have a brand new brain this year. And I like it.