18 Lessons I learned in 2018

This is my final word about 2018.

At least on this blog.

Was 2018 really that bad?

Maybe.

But 2016 will always be the worst year of my life.

There was a lot of negativity in 2018.

And some very hard lessons.

I am grateful for those lessons because pain brings growth.

I absolutely refuse to carry that into 2019.

At the beginning of 2018, I felt like the year was going to end very differently than it began.

2018 started with the funeral of a good friend (followed by two more, one of which was my grandmother.) I also lost an old high school friend in July.

I traveled every month except July. Austin, Boston, NYC, Philly, Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee and Ohio. I spent a lot of time in Maine and it has felt good to be home.

I suffer from wanderlust and traveling has been good for my soul. It’s been part of my healing process.

It was a year of reunions. I saw my cousin three times and I saw my Chicago best friend three times.

And the year ended with a fabulous wedding between two amazing friends.

I am leaving with this list of 18 lessons I learned.

In no particular order-

Kerry’s top 18 lesson from 2018

1. I have come far from my early days of grief.

2. The Paw Patrol can fix anything. No job too big, no pup too small.

3. Forgiving people really is for me. A quote that reasonated with me was that by not forgiving, it is like you are drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The offending party doesn’t care how you feel. In fact, they may enjoy that you are upset. So forgive and let to.

However…

4. Forgiving someone does not mean you grant them absolution for what they did. It just means you’ve let go of the anger for yourself. It doesn’t mean that the offending party is off the hook.

5. You are not entitled to anyone’s loyalty.

6. Be careful who YOU are loyal to and who YOU trust. No one is entitled to your loyalty and trust but don’t be stingy to those who do deserve it.

7. Let go of friends who took me for granted and don’t respect my boundaries. And that’s okay.

8. Boundaries are everything.

9. Truly appreciate the friends who are supportive and continue to truly be there for you.

10. I am an empath. Not to be confused with empathetic. Empaths absorb the emotions of those around them. It’s overwhelming at times. You have to work out your emotions vs others.

11. Empaths attract narcissists and I need to avoid narcissists.

12. It doesn’t matter where I go, Bryon will find me. He even found me on what would have been our 6th wedding anniversary while I was waiting for my lunch at a takeout window at a clam shack on the Maine Coast.

13. It’s amazing how much a 4 year old can teach me.

14. I need to stop trying to please people. Some people will never be satisfied.

15. It is important to love yourself.

16. Everyone is free to make their own choices You are only responsible for YOUR choices and no one else’s.

17. I can’t do the fake and superficial thing.

18. I am officially out of give a f*cks. I have no f*cks to give. All out of f*cks.

I do not know what is in store for 2019 but I am ready! It’s going to be a good year.

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Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #47

Today is Friday!  You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.

 

I am inviting you join me on Good Vibration Gratitude Fridays!

Exciting, right?

You are probably wondering how you get in on the action.

It’s easy! If you are grateful for something, please either comment below or share a pic of what you are grateful for on Instagram with the hashtag #goodvibrationsgratitude

Also feel free to follow me on Instagram at @kerrymckim

This is the last Good Vibrations Gratitude Fridays posts in 2019.  So hard to believe!

Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week.

  1. Santa’s Pre-K visit.

    My daughter had a great Pre-K Christmas Party.  Santa stopped by and a great time was had.

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  2. A great Maine trip.

    I will save the recap for another post.  But it was a very good Christmas and it was good to be home.

  3. Christmas with the Casales

    I try not to use real people’s names in here but I just like the sound of “Christmas with the Casales”.  It makes a nice hashtag.  These people truly are like family and I was so happy to spend the day with them.

    I didn’t get many pictures but here is one with my daughter and her “masterpiece”.

  4. Bumping into a friend.

    I was at Target and a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in awhile got my attention.  It was good to see her.  Bryon and I met her when we participated at the Young Adult Ministry through our church. She’s a great person and our friendship is the victim of just being “too busy”.  I need to see her soon.

  5. A time of reflection before the new year.

    I don’t want to share too much about my holiday weekend but I have been in a period of deep reflection.  Whenever a widow reflects, there is always sadness.  Maybe’s is the Cancer Full Moon that just happened.  I dunno.  But I do appreciate the time to reflect and think about the past year and all the good that is going to come in 2019.

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #46

Today is Friday!  You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.

 

I am inviting you join me on Good Vibration Gratitude Fridays!

Exciting, right?

You are probably wondering how you get in on the action.

It’s easy! If you are grateful for something, please either comment below or share a pic of what you are grateful for on Instagram with the hashtag #goodvibrationsgratitude

Also feel free to follow me on Instagram at @kerrymckim

Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week.

  1.  West Albany Fire Department

    Every year the West Albany Fire Department drives Santa and Mrs Claus around so the kids can run out and meet them.  It’s a fun tradition.

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  2. Christmas Magic

    When I was pregnant, I posted in a forum for women who were pregnant and due within the month of September 2014.  I met a local friend and we became Facebook friends and texted off and on through the years.  We never met in person.

    Until the West Albany Fire Department Santa brought us together to meet in person.  Christmas Magic exists!

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  3. A fun tradition

    Every year my daughter and I would make cookies with Bryon’s best friend and his family.  His son and my daughter are best friends as well.  This year we made gingerbread houses for their school assignment.

    I couldn’t get a picture that wasn’t blurry.  This was the clearest picture I had.

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  4. Advair

    Two weeks ago I wrote about the Pre-K plague.  Well I thought it was gone.  Then this week I did not feel well at all.  I went to the doctor and I have some sort of upper respiratory viral thing.  The doctor said she was not sure if this is a new illness or the Pre-K plague that is lingering.  But she prescribed Advair.   I am feeling better and I am grateful for that.

    Spoiler Alert: there will be no C25k update this week.  I am resting this week.  I have asthma and I know that I need to take care of this respiratory illness now.  My doctor didn’t tell me that I couldn’t run but she told me that I needed to be careful how much I pushed myself.  If it wasn’t the week before Christmas, I would have probably tried to run a little.  But I am exhausted with Christmas Prep.  I have a two week buffer zone between what when I thought couch to 5k was ending and the start of half marathon training so I have wiggle room.  If I can do week 2 of C25k sick, then I can jump into week 3 with healthy lungs.

  5. 61F on Summer Solstice

    It wasn’t quite the 74F we had on Christmas Eve in 2015 (Bryon’s Last Christmas) but 61 degrees in December is still very nice.

    And I am excited that the days will slowly start getting longer.  More time to run in the afternoon!

What are you grateful for this week?

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Farewell 2018: Leaving behind fear

 

One of the biggest obstacles about moving forward is the fear.

Fear?  What fear?

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Fear of letting go.

Fear of things not going the way I expect.

fear of life feeling empty.

Fear that I will never be understood.

Fear of re-acclimating.

Fear that I will forget.

I have discussed in this blog about how I am currently in what I think of as “Phase III” of my grief journey.

To give a refresher-

Phase I: The first 3-6 months of widowhood.  My whole world was shattered and I am trying to figure out what the f*ck just happened to my life.  Getting out of bed and showering are a struggle.

Phase II: The period between 3-6 months and about two years.  It was the phase where I had to accept that Bryon was gone and I needed to get used to him being gone.

And now I am in Phase III.

Phase III is the phase where I need to move forward with my life.

It’s not just enough to visualize it or talk about it.

I need to do it.

I know I need to do this but there is always something holding me back.

I am excited.

But there are these fears that hold me back.

The fear that if I move forward, then I will have to let go of Bryon.  Of course, I will never completely let go but taking those first few steps are the hardest.

The fear to be hopeful because you don’t want to be disappointed.

The fear that my new life will be unfulfilling?

I need to leave these fears in 2018.

If I bring them with me, they will prevent me from achieving my dreams.

So fear much be put on the imaginary Viking Funeral Ship, set on fire and set off.

What fears are you leaving behind in 2018?

Couch to 5k: Week Two- 2nd Attempt

Last week in my C25k recap, I told the story of the Pre-K plague and that it wiped me out. I wasn’t able to complete week 2 that week.

I am not back to 100% but I was able to successfully re-do week two last week.

The runs increase from the 60 seconds in week (alternated with a 90 second walk) to a 90 second run (alternated with two minute walk).

I know you are supposed to do the runs every day but I do them on Tue, Wed and Fri. This is because I have to work around my daughter’s gymnastics and dance classes. It’s not ideal, but I am only one person.

I used three different podcasts.

The first I used was Chubby Jones.

The second I used was the rock version of Carli Fierce

The third I used was one of the two podcasts from Go Nicole Yourself.

All the podcasts work. Chubby Jones talks with you on a friend level and I like that. (She also commented on my blog which gives her bonus pounts).

I did like Nicole’s music the best. I like that she uses faster songs for the run intervals. She also has no chatter, just a countdown to interval changes so if you don’t want any talk, that might be a good choice.

This week I will be working on week 3!

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #45

Today is Friday!  You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.

 

I am inviting you join me on Good Vibration Gratitude Fridays!

Exciting, right?

You are probably wondering how you get in on the action.

It’s easy! If you are grateful for something, please either comment below or share a pic of what you are grateful for on Instagram with the hashtag #goodvibrationsgratitude

Also feel free to follow me on Instragram at @kerrymckim

Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week.

  1. The fact that I can say geeky things to Kimmy Gibbler and she finds them funny.

    Last week for Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday, I wrote that I was grateful for President George H.W. Bush.

    I thought about how he was #41.

    As I wrote my post, I thought about how it was my 44th Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday post.

    I thought to myself, “I guess this is the President Obama of Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday posts.”

    I was amused.

    I share my amusement with Kimmy Gibbler.

    She was amused.

    Though she is also amused that I tend to mark the passage of time by Presidential Administrations.  For example, I might realize I hadn’t done something since college and say “I haven’t done that since the Clinton Administration.”

    I’m old.

    I guess this week (#45) is the President Trump of Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday posts.

    I guess people are going to really love this blog post or really hate this blog post.

    I am only kidding.  Though I am just going to leave that topic now and move onto number two.

  2. Dance class.

    We took a week off from dance after our last class.  I was nervous about returning but I also realize that I need to give my daughter a chance to redeem herself.  She needs those chances to learn and grow.  If public tantrums becomes a pattern, then I will reconsider our participation in activities.  Since there is no alarming pattern, I am going to treat it like an isolated incident.

    My daughter paid attention and was polite to her teacher and classmates.

    I am also grateful for her dance teacher for being understanding.  We chatted before class and she was encouraging about the situation.

  3. Disney on Ice.

    My friend blogs for Macaroni Kid Albany and she invited us along to Disney on Ice tonight. I am grateful she invited us.  My daughter had a great time.  I did too, of course.  And it was good to catch up since we both busy moms and that is hard to do.

  4. The maintenance guy at Times Union Center.

    On my way to Disney on Ice, I needed to meet my friend at the Box Office.  I was trying to remember how to get there and I said that to my daughter.  The maintenance worker heard me and stopped what he was doing and politely gave me directions.  He could have kept on walking.  I appreciate him taking the time to direct me and for being nice and helpful.

  5. Timing.

    I was originally going to say Hummus.  Don’t ask me why, but I am on a hummus kick this week.  I always thought it was overrated but I am liking it lately.

    classic-hummus

    My daughter and I left Disney on Ice, walked to a nearby parking garage, paid for our parking and left.  I missed my entrance onto 787 and had to loop back around.  As I looped back around near the Times Union Center and saw tons of blue and red lights.  This had happened.

    I am grateful that we didn’t linger and that we missed the excitement. I am grateful we missed it.

    I hope everyone is okay.

What are you grateful for this week?

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Farewell 2018: Leaving the negativity behind

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2016 was the worst year of my life.

It will always be.

Only one thing could happen to me that could top that but I am not going to entertain that thought.

2017 was a fog.  I was surviving.

2018 was the year that I need to stop surviving and start to live again.

When 2018 started, I had a feeling that things were going to be very different by the end of the year.

I was right.

(Funny how that happens…)

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Was 2018 a bad year for me?

Yes and no.

There was a lot of death.  I lost my grandmother and two friends.

The year was full of hard lessons.

I had to learn that people and things are not always what they purport themselves to be.

I had to learn that I need to look for internal rewards and not to look externally.

I had to learn to release and let go.

I had to learn to live again and make decisions on the direction of my life.

I had shit thrown at me.

But I survived it.  And I am smarter for it.

I learned what was really important.

Seriously, I am 40-year-old woman, who has been to Hell and back and I have a small child dependent on me.  It was time for me to focus on what was important.

Last year I didn’t write much in December.  I was beginning to think this year was going to be the same.  However, I think over the next couple of weeks, as part of the releasing process, I am going to write posts about what I am leaving behind in 2018.

Kind of like a farewell rock tour but less cooler.  A lot less cooler.

I am going to take all the negativity that was thrown my way, put it on an imaginary Viking funeral Ship, light it on fire (again, imaginary.  I don’t want to blamed for starting any fires.) and send it off.

If you have anything you need to release before we begin 2019, I invite you to put them on the imaginary Viking funeral ship.