Happy New Year and cheers to our first Unexpected Ever Afters blog post of 2022! To close out the past year and start anew, we thought we’d do something a little different: a joint post sharing gratitude for 2021, excitement for 2022, and a toast to the New Year. We are excited to share our memories, stories, and hopes with you. We hope you join with your own toast to 2022!
As we approach our blogiversary, we discuss whether or not to continue our blog. Although the conclusion has always ended with a “yes of course we are going to continue,” the decision is never simple. We are two self-identified over-thinkers, and we never let a decision pass by unanalyzed. So, together, we contemplate the goal of the blog followed by a version of a cost-benefit analysis. We question if we still have stories to tell or if we have exhausted all of our topics. We consider if writing still brings us joy and if we feel like what we share still matters.
We understood that genuine connection with others through shared vulnerability can make a huge difference in combating both comparison and isolation. After thoughtful deliberation, we determined we were ready to dive into a shared blog as an attempt to both share that feeling of connection with others as well as provide an outlet for our interest in writing. Despite my “stage fright” of others reading my writing, I felt a surge of confidence knowing that I was not entering into the journey alone.
At some point, we seem to lose the excitement for celebrating another year of life. What would life look like if adults once again harnessed some of that genuine kid-like excitement of celebrating special days? And, of course, growing out of celebrations extends beyond birthdays, especially when considering the additional layer of when we expect things to happen. For example, reaching personal goals or completing educational and employment milestones.
There have been countless times I have wished for a magical solution to take away (or at least reduce) the fears I frequently encountered. A recent experience brought to the forefront of my mind the idea of a “magical solution spray.”
I wondered if the difficulty in navigating the spectrum of emotions added to my struggle with spinning. I was surprised to realize that feeling intense happiness could have contributed to my feeling nauseous.
The black dot analogy connects to many of my life experiences. Specifically, the reality that parents and kids often remember experiences differently. It seems that moms are often harder on ourselves than our kids are on us. It makes me wonder, are kids somehow able to keep their focus on the whole page while parents struggle to see beyond the dot?
As I reflected on this transition to a new season, one question in particular kept repeating in my mind: What might it feel like to grow out of the season of uncertainty and lean into a season of hope?
The underlying stress of COVID-19, safety restrictions, isolation, transitions for my kids, and navigating school social work, my daily baseline is higher, causing increased stress levels due to the constant level of tension. The more I talk to other people, the more I realize this seems to be the new normal for a lot of people. And, I think that says something about this pandemic and the impact that it's having on us, even when the effects aren’t always clearly visible. As I processed my experiences, I pushed myself to be honest and authentic in writing this post, acknowledging the fact that looking back over this year has been difficult and draining.
So, in the spirit of vulnerability, I have been tired for months. And, although, of course, at times I have been swept into moments of joy and gratitude, I have also spent an inexplicable amount of time barely hanging on through the day-to-day expectations and responsibilities. As I have continued in this less than ideal reality, I found myself confronted with the idea of moving through rather than pushing away the negative emotions and experiences.