It’s not lost on me that I’m reviewing 2018 a full month into 2019. Am I even a blogger still? As you may have noticed, I don’t blog as much anymore!
However, I’m still active online but in a different format: YouTube! In 2018 YouTube was a huge focus for me. I love to challenge myself to learn and grow and the medium of video was my personal challenge last year. It was both one of my goals for the year and a great way to explore a new form of communication.
So my year in review this year will cover the main themes and growth of the year as well as include lots of videos. Enjoy!
Highlight of the year: I had a daughter!
I started the year as a pregnant person and ended up with an 8 month old! It’s crazy how much my life changed from the beginning of the year to the end and that is 100% because of my little one.
I adored maternity leave and my time off with her! I’ve rearranged a lot of stuff in my life to spend more time with her. She’s been so wonderful and has triggered such massive change in my life.
Be the end of 2018 she was 8 months old! It’s crazy to think we started the year without a child and ended with a little one developing a personality. I don’t think I’ve had many years with such a drastic life change.
I had an existential crisis. Having a child triggered an existential crisis during my darkest moments of postpartum mental illness. I questioned the meaning of life, the purpose of my life, the point of it all. I had panic attacks about dying and about living. Mentally I hit an all time low, triggered by a lot of things, including hormones postpartum.
During this time I lost, found, and deconstructed my faith. This is still in progress in 2019 as I rebuild and reconstruct my faith based on the Bible, prayer, and what God reveals to me. It’s an interesting process and full of layers and depth and questioning and authenticity. I have no answers but every day I find new questions and answers. I’ve learned that we all have a soul, we all have a spiritual aspect to us, even if we ignore it. Eventually that will surface in one way or another.
To be honest I’m not a super religious person despite going to church on and off since I was 13 and growing up with a basic Christian faith and moral framework thanks to my mom. I’ve always been interested in different religions but I actually wasn’t allowed to attend church before the age of 13 so I’ve had a complicated relationship with both organized religion and God. I’ve had periods of abandoning faith and discounting the importance of it and also periods of feeling a pull that I couldn’t quite understand.
This year God truly showed up in my life in a real and tangible way for me, pretty much right when I’d decided I believed in nothing and life was meaningless. The people who know God showed up too and walked beside me in my personal darkest moments.
I’ve found myself desiring deeper connection with the faith community and found a home in the Methodist church, one that is focused on helping those with mental illness (among other things). I felt called to commit myself to being part of this faith community and supporting it after it supported me through one of the darkest times in my life. Their support and acceptance meant so much.
I still don’t know much, but I know that God pursues us and promises if we seek we will find. If you’re the praying type, please pray for me on this continued path.
Lowlight of the year: My mental health spiraled negatively out of control, as I mentioned in my spiritual journey recap.
I started therapy this year, originally because of the postpartum issues. I learned that while the childbirth and postpartum triggered something in me it went much deeper than that. I had never dealt with the abuse and trauma from my childhood. I had never dealt with the suicide of my half-sister. I had never dealt with the negative messages constantly in my head and my inability to love myself. So now I’m dealing with ALL of it. I full believe my healing is both spiritual and mental and God set me out on this healing path.
I’m working with a therapist who is helping me heal with various techniques, from EMDR to CBT to mindfulness and self-compassion. It’s a mishmash of learning skills I never learned early in life due to a dysfunctional home life. I’m learning how to think properly, clearly, and with compassion for myself. I’m learning how to regulate my emotions. I’m learning how to be a healthy and well-rounded adult so I can pass on those lessons to my daughter. Nothing has motivated me as much to get help before. Now I’m actually dealing with my mental baggage so that I can help lighten her load and guide her through life.
My health and fitness journey was put on hold when I had a baby. I worked out until I was 8 months pregnant but my eating during pregnancy was not ideal.
Afterwards as I struggled with my mental health I also struggled with my old friend: binge eating.
Since I didn’t know how to cope with my mental stuff, I turned to my favorite form of coping and relief: eating. Obviously this complicated my health after childbirth and it’s continued to plague me. While it’s more under control and the current focus of my therapy, I’m still struggling with binge eating when I get overwhelmed.
However, despite the struggles, in 2018 I started and completed Whole30!
I completed the full 30 days with 99.9% compliance (slip up was weighing myself and a cough drop half ingested, so… LOL).
I honestly never dreamed I could go a month without sugar. The fact that I did it and did it with compliance gave me great hope for my future. I can eat heathy and I can feel really, really good. I’m not there yet but this was a huge accomplishment in 2018 and I’m glad I did it because now I know… I can.
YouTube was a huge part of my life in 2018. I made videos for fun, for work, for side income, for sharing special events, for keeping memories for myself. YouTube is such an interesting thing and I’ve loved the journey!
Lowlight of the year: My YouTube channel was demonetized.
Highlight of the year: My Youtube channel was monetized and grew beyond expectations.
It’s honestly crazy that I make videos because struggle with my self-image on camera and I had major speech issues earlier in life. I went through a couple years where I didn’t share much online because I realized I’d confused real life and “online” life in many harmful ways, but now I’m enjoying sharing videos in a healthy and positive way.
I never thought I’d be a “YouTuber” but I started making more videos to get used to equipment from work and here we are!
Highlight of the year: We saved an emergency fund!
Highlight of the year: We got our finances in order and paid for baby’s birth!
Then after these things I started paying off parent plus student loans that have a long and complicated history but I’ve taken full responsibility for them.
My debt snowball plan is teaching me how to take responsibility, stay disciplined, and achieve a big goal. At least, that’s the plan! In 2018 I knocked out a couple of the little loans and got off to a good start with paying back this debt.
2018 was a year full of fun as well.
We went to a lot of sporting events! We went to football and basketball games. Penny is a fan of the Memphis Grizzlies and Memphis Tigers.
We went to a lot of parties! Before and after Penny, there was a lot of celebration this year.
We went to Alabama, the first trip as a family of three!
I went rock climbing! And did 5ks! And started doing yoga weekly, which I’ve loved!
It was a super fun year! I’ve hated it at times and loved it at times. It felt like the longest and the shortest year ever. 2018 was something special!