Having a birthday so close to the year end makes it great for reflecting on the year that it's been. This year I started the year out mourning the loss of my grandma. That was a tough one and a loss that hit us all pretty hard. Fortunately, when something rocks us we usually come out of it better than we were before. My grandma G wasn't the first loved one I had lost but she was someone I was very close to growing up, she was the true meaning of unconditional love. When I lost her I felt like I had gained an empowerment inside that has helped me this year to conquer fears or to at least not let any fear stand in my way of experiences and accomplishments. I took on an "all in" attitude because I know I have her with me, guiding and giving strength.
The first leap was beginning this blog. I launched this blog for all to see six months ago and because of it I have grown an immeasurable amount. I have learned to overcome the fear of rejection, and to not take things personally. I have learned that I LOVE to write, it's really become my passion. I have learned that it's OK to not be everyone's cup of tea. I have learned to just do things for me.
I also raced a horse this year. There's no other way to put that. I raced in a race behind a horse, alongside other horses, in front of a very large and loud crowd. I wore a tiny purple flower pin in honor of my grandma that race too. I knew I needed her with me for that one. This was the most exhilarating experience in my 38 years. I trained for that race for a few months and fell in love with horses. Every time I was behind the horse I felt an adrenaline rush like none other and then of course that rush in the actual race was beyond thrilling and untouchable. I wanted to race again and again once it was over. Funny thing though, when I even thought about committing to that race my palms would sweat and the anxiety inside of me would kick into high gear. I figured I wouldn't sleep for months just fearing that race. I conquered that fear though and I am so glad I did! I can't imagine missing out on that experience.
This year I became an American citizen. After having been a permanent resident for almost 13 years, I decided to go all in and become a voter. Years ago, I was totally fine with just being a resident. I could work here and I could live here and that was enough. Until this year, when I realized that my voice matters, I teach in the public school system and I am a parent and what I think and feel matters. Instead of renewing my permanent resident status I just went for the big title. This took a lot of studying and some intense interviews. I learned a lot about this country, many people believe, probably more than the average American. I was sworn in with 72 other desiring citizens from all over the world. We cried together, sang together and waved American flags proudly together, all with our loved ones present. This was one of the proudest moments of my life. If you haven't been to an Oath Ceremony for people becoming citizens of this country, I highly recommend that you do. You will never experience anything more patriotic in your life. Also, stay tuned for my "I voted" sticker pic in the 2020 presidential election.
In my last year, I also went all in for my job. I became a part of a looping pilot at my school. I moved on from Kindergarten and went to first grade with my same class. This has been so challenging and rewarding all at the same time. I have gotten to know the kiddos in my class far more than I would've ever been able to in just one year with them. As a teacher, you want to be impactful and I wholeheartedly believe that in order to have an impact you have to have a relationship. I am so grateful that this year I was given the opportunity to grow the relationships that I have with 26 kiddos and I get to learn right along side them for 3 more years!
This last year certainly hasn't been perfect, there has been ups and downs, heartache, stress, tears and worry. However, heading into this new year I can honestly say that I have never felt more proud of myself. I know that 2020 is going to bring great things too...some trips and adventures, some new work challenges for both Nick and I. Nick is turning the big 4-0, we're getting a pool and in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the women's right to vote I will vote for the first time in a major election as a citizen of the United States. I will continue blogging and setting big goals for myself. I will also continue to carry my grandma's strength with me through all of it. Bring it on 38!
In memory of G
2/23/1947 - 12/31/2018
Today I was required to meet with an insurance representative at school, something I loathe, anything to do with finance, insurance, taxes, all that stuff. It literally makes my eyes go cross eyed and all I can think about in any of those discussions is how much my palms are sweating.
Following the meeting, a group of my work friends and I were standing around reflecting on how much we all hate that stuff and how we feel bad because we just pass it off to our husbands and trust them to just handle it and take care of it all. At first we were all thinking about just how bad and irresponsible it is that we don't know that stuff, or want to know, that we don't want to be the one to deal with it, that we don't want to be the one to think about it and that we just pass it on.
Rewind, to a week or so ago when I absolutely lit into Nick, my husband, about how he doesn't think about other people, he doesn't do any of the Christmas shopping, or family communicating. How he doesn't plan for dinners, or take it upon himself to organize homework and pre-plan for the boy's social and school calendars. I think at one point in the heated, nagging argument I accused him of not thinking of anyone but himself. Yeah, I feel horrible about that one.
Following, our hallway chat this morning, it dawned on me that we actually do have two entirely different roles in our relationship. That's a team, each member of a team has a position and a job in order for that team to be successful. I can't believe that it didn't hit me in the face sooner, but of course it would't because Nick doesn't gripe at me about the stuff that he does that I don't do. He doesn't ever use it against me when I forward him the health insurance emails I get, or when I forward retirement plan questions on to him. He doesn't ever throw up his arms and accuse me of being irresponsible, he just accepts that as his role, and his job on our team is to take care of our finances, prepare us for taxes, make sure that we are covered in a crisis and that we are planning for our retirement.
Coming out of this, I don't feel so bad now, I don't feel so irresponsible or stupid for putting all of that on him and wanting nothing to do with it. I have my role and my jobs too and I do them well, and I (mostly) enjoy doing them, whereas he wants nothing to do with the list making, the calendar organizing, the thinking about what we can gift to someone, or having outfits ready for school concerts and picture day or managing our home and creating memories for our family. Quite frankly, it scares me to think about how all of that would turn out if it were up to him, and I'm sure it terrifies him to think about how our future would look financially if it were up to me.
The point is, that we each assume the roles that we are best at on our team, if you can think the game and make plays, you play center forward on a hockey team or short stop on a baseball team. If you are speedy and quick with the ball you play forward on a soccer team. If you are big and strong and you have good feet you play offensive line on a football team. A relationship or marriage is just the same, we each assume the roles and positions that we are good at.
The epiphany I had today was that I shouldn't feel bad for not participating 100% in our finances or insurance or future financial planning, it's that I should feel bad for thinking that I do more. In reality Nick does just as much, thinks just as much, worries just as much and tries just as hard on our team, we just have very different, equally important positions.
I can't promise that I'm not ever going to nag again, or gripe about something I am doing that he is not, that's the goal, but not reality. I can promise, however, that my viewpoint on my marriage has changed and I have a new found appreciation for both my role on our team and all that my teammate does to contribute to our needs and achievements too. Go team!
Melissa here! While I'm all about sharing trends, deals, and outfit ideas with you, I have a true passion for writing. I love sharing thoughts on life the most and am excited to share those thoughts with all of you right here!
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