Auld Lang Syne Wave

I did not have the easiest time of it in 2018. Getting shut of the law office was months of hurry up and wait/do nothing until you hear from the bureaucrats/are we there yet? My dearest old kitty girl Chloe departed for the Elysian fields as did my best old dawg Murphy. I got better acquainted with e. coli than anybody ever should (trust me on that), and I was too ambitious in terms of my travel commitments. I look at parts of the year with an element of, “That was no fun AT ALL.”

And yet, it was a very good year. Somebody asked me what I did in 2018 that I’m proud of, and I had to stop and think. My natural inclination is to deny that I’m proud–proud is like arrogant, isn’t it? Well, no, Grace Ann. Proud is not like arrogant, but that’s a topic for another blog.

I have on a few occasions been quite pleased with myself this year. I was pleased with myself earlier this month when, on my third riding lesson in forever, the horse cantered and I stayed on. I’d asked for a bigger trot, but the horse volunteered the greater effort of the canter, so correcting him for over-trying in good faith would not have been fair. To feel the canter again was wonderful and did marvelous things for my joie de Grace. 

I’m also proud of myself for traveling to New Zealand and Australia. It’s a measure of my timidity that even very friendly, easily traveled English-speaking foreign countries challenge me. Nonetheless, I know that if I’m to rely on my imagination to make my living, then I have to see new sights and expose myself to new perspectives. Suffice it to say, I hope I get back Down Under…. eventually.

And I’m proud of myself for things that might seem small to others, but for me are significant: A bazillion steps on the tread desk. In real life, I am not a sloth, I am a glacier. Moving around is simply not what I do best, but day after day, I shook the lead out and did some steps. That’s an improvement over previous years, and I’m proud of it.

I’m proud of myself for learning how to take a Word document and, using Vellum software on a Mac, format it for use as an ebook on either a kindle or another ereader. Then I learned how to upload those files on all the major ebook platforms. I’m slow, I have to re-learn half the process every time I do it, and I don’t enjoy it (see “on a Mac”), but I learned new tech skills, and got ‘er done for three different releases. Old dawg, meet new tricks.

What about your 2018 made you proud of yourself? Is there a challenge you’d like to tackle in 2019? To one commenter, I’ll send a $50 Amazon gift e-card.

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42 comments on “Auld Lang Syne Wave

  1. I am very happy to wave 2018 goodbye.
    Work turmoil, my Mom’s decline, illness & sudden death of a friend at 62 make this a year to forget. And the loss of our beloved Molly was the icing on the cake. I miss her.

    There were positives- still have my job, the 2004 Suburban is still runnning, and hard work with corgis Laci and Greg is paying off. We made our last college tuition payment.

    2019 will bring joy and happiness to our family. Jenny will graduate from law school, our god daughter is getting married— good reasons to celebrate.
    I am going to continue to walk at lunch and count the carbs. I expect a few bumps in the road next year – but hopefully the good will put weigh the negative.

    • Other people’s kids get through law school so quickly! I finished paying off undergrad loans this year too, and THAT was a good feeling. Now for grad school…
      Will hope that 2019 has some fun surprises in store for you, and maybe even a new car?

  2. I’m proud of how my introverted self stepped way out of my comfort zone to help take care of neighbors with our massive hurricane this year

  3. My proudest accomplishment was losing 35 pounds. It was hard, I backslid some and still have a way to go but it is all worth it. In my sixties, it’s important for me to go forward being healthier and fitter. Next on the list is to get back to exercising, especially when I’d rather curl up on the couch and read a good book!

    • WOW. That is an enormous accomplishment.
      I was surprised when my doctor told me that a substantial number of her patients were healthier in their sixties than in their fifties. She said working full time just doesn’t mesh well with keeping an older body healthy. Once we cut back at work or get rid of the time-clock job entirely, we can take better care of ourselves.
      I hadn’t thought of it that way, but it’s an encouraging perspective.

  4. Hi, Grace! I’m proud of myself that I was able to keep Jack home through Christmas. It has just about put me in the grave. Jack moves into Memory Care January 4th. I’m ashamed to say, I can’t wait. I am so tired. I haven’t read in six months. I want my life back. My challenge for 2019 is to learn to live alone.

    • Please don’t feel guilty about putting a loved one into care. One of the hardest things about care-giving is knowing your limits. It’s too easy to stay in the familiar, even when you know it’s no longer the best choice. Best wishes to both of you as life continues to unfold.

    • Susan, I am so sorry you are having to endure this, but there comes a point where nobody could do anymore than you have done, nobody could have done a better job, and the right thing to do is involve the professionals. Jack loves you so much, that he’d not want you to persist past the point of common sense.
      I know 2019 will involve other kinds of challenges, but if you can get some rest, find some balance, those challenges could be an improvement over the hurdles you had to clear in 2018. Wishing you peace and good books.

  5. This year saw some HUGE changes in our lives. My husband retired (grocery shopping takes 5 times as long, but I love having him around!), our wonderful old black lab Molly crossed the rainbow bridge early in 2018 and just a week ago we lost my 97 year old Mom who’d been lost in dementia for the last few years. I am proud that in 2018 my husband and I started attending a senior’s exercise class and I joined a cooking club (being an introvert meant that was a gigantic accomplishment!). In 2019 I would like to learn to quilt. I am an experienced seamstress, but have never quilted, so that will be my next challenge.

  6. I really fluctuated on my goals to get myself out & about more & to get rid of things that others could use & I don’t. I did attend a few meetings of the library genealogy group, but didn’t work enough on organizing the info I have already gathered (tho I did submit a DNA test that I was gifted at Christmas – so getting those results may be another prompt). I also went on a few day trips run by the town Parks & Rec – one was on my own with strangers (now acquaintances).

    In 2019 my niece will be having her first child – a little girl (after three little boys from my nephew). So we’re anxious that will go well. And I’ll continue on my goal of downsizing so I’ll be ready to move when that opportunity presents.

    • I have some friends who do Forty Bags and Forty Days when Lent comes around–they cart a bag of Stuff out of the house every day between Ash Wednesday and Easter. That sounds like a project I should undertake, even if it amounts to seven bags over the weekend, because it’s an activity best done when I’m in the mood.

  7. 2018 was tough. On me and on my family. We lost my Father-in-law in January, my husband’s aunt in May and Hubby-Himself had some health problems.

    But things are looking up. Hubby is cured and we have a lot to be proud of. Son #2 graduated from Law School with Honors (with an MSL–Masters of Science in Law))and signed a contract with a Health Tech firm in mid-December. Son #3 passed the first certification exam of the AGO (American Guild of Organists) and is on his way to becoming a world class organist. Son #1 is doing well; he has autism but he’s on the path he’s been for a while and is flourishing. My Dad is 91 and doing well and that’s a blessing.

    I am proud that my toxic In-Laws haven’t totally squashed me. I learned a few things in the last month or so that have made their treatment of me–and my children–over the years clear. It’s been a huge relief to know it really is them and not me.

    I am proud we got through 2018 and the New Year is sure to be better.

    Much Luck to you, Grace, in the coming year. Happy New Year!

    • Your menfolk appear to be thriving and bashing forward… but what a drag, that well into adulthood, in-laws can still crash the party. I’m glad you have clarity–it IS them–because that’s for keeps, and will probably make maintaining boundaries a lot easier going forward.

  8. I had a very easy, quite year. I am proud that I completed my reading goals for the year. I had 2 goals, read 150 books and read 24 new to me authors. I have read 180 books and tried 26 authors.

  9. 2018 was one of those years that I can say I am proud that I just got through it. We started transitioning from full time work to part time work and retirement. We are not there yet but I hope by mid year to have everything completed. Health issues the last three months reminded us that if we want to travel far and wide we better get started now. The loss of loved ones and friends has certainly brought home how precious time is and how fast it goes by.

    • I took months and months to get shut of the law office and there are still some dangling threads. Yes, please, go see the world. Either mobility or mentality can rob you of some of the bucket list trips, so best be about it.

  10. Love the blog post title.

    You were a “headliner” down under. You made the Library Journal’s list. I hope some of this pays very, very well in real $$. You taught me a few more new words.

    We, too, said good-bye to an old dog this year. We picked up a puppy 3 days ago. A lot of the rest is a bit of a blur due to situations and personalities about which I could do nothing. I read (checked out) too much and was probably over-medicated some of the time. But, “tomorrow is another day,” I hope, and another year turns soon. Happy New Year, All.

    • Puppies make everything better. I just got a dose of puppy when I visited my daughter in Oregon. A Cavalier King Charles baby-dog. He has more joy in his tail than I have in my whole body… but she who travels a lot doesn’t handle a dog well, so no puppy for me… yet. I think. Probably… well…

  11. I too, lost a beloved cat this year. I really didn’t think I wanted another animal, but after about two months, my sister talked me into visiting a local shelter “just to look.” And sure enough, I fell in love with a sweet little calico. She is the most loving animal I have ever owned. Perfect for this period in my life.

    As for 2019, I’ll take whatever is given me and try to do my best.

    I hope you and all of your readers have a wonderful, blessed New Year!

    • California just passed a law that pet stores can’t sell from puppy mills anymore, only from shelters. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, because in a pet store, you can convince yourself to walk away. In a shelter, you want to take them ALL home with you.

  12. We have had a very topsy turvy time of it in 2018’The family have been under a lot of pressure both finanacial and personal.Young working couples are finding it hard to manage raising a family and paying all household bills because wages in certain areas of the UK are lagging behind.My son and daughters families are bravely keeping it all together but holidays are out of the question and other
    treats.I don’t think 2019 will bring much of a change for a lot of people but I hope they can be positive for a little longer because change is coming but it won’t happen straight away,This country has a chance to make things better for many people.Improved medical/health care good education for all children regardless of where they live,security and a more solid law structure would be a good start.We have been through many years of cutbacks and councils have not had the money to keep towns and cities clean.We need to get back our pride and help those find work ,self worth is so important.The list is long but not impossible.I kept myself in a positive frame of mind in 2018 and encouraged others to do the same and I will do the same in 2019 this Brexit is coming so we must stand firm and not be frightened.

    • The whole Brexit situation has to be grueling, simply because of the uncertainty. Most of us would choose a known challenge that we can get on with over months of politicking and posturing. When you consider that US politicians are already starting to declare candidacy for elections we won’t have until 2020… just makes me want to clap my hands over my ears and bellow, “Not yet!”

      I love the UK, and hope Merry Olde can keep calm and carry on to a better place in 2019.

  13. I’m proud that I continued my weight loss journey and was able to support my mother through her trying times of medical issues and the loss of my father in November. He’d been gone from us because of dementia for years but Mom still visited him in the nursing home every day (they’re in a Continuing Care Community so that meant she went from her apartment to the nursing home portion) and I’m still worried about her when her normal visiting time rolls around every afternoon. But Christmas was good and we’ll get together New Year’s Day, too. My challenge for 2019 is that I start exercising again (even though I hate exercise).

    • That is a tough year, but that you could stick to the healthy eating while one parent was in decline and the other was doing the anticipatory grieving is amazing. Condolences on your loss, and I hope your mom can be one of those widows who finds some peace and pleasure on the other side of sorrow.

  14. I had one of those years that showed a lot of growth but took a lot out of me to achieve it. I have felt that most of the year I was operating at my limit with no reserves but needing to provide critical support for others meant that I had to just keep going. Now, I am proud of creating some semblance of balance and strengthening my self-care routines now that the crises have passed, but also proud that I was able to do what needed to be done and helped when it was desperately needed and learned what I needed to in order to provide support. Hoping 2019 is more of a relax and rejuvenate kind of year. I’ve made a strange resolution to keep my favorite authors first in the queue (outside of work reading) to get the most bang for my buck/time in entertainment where I usually like to read as many new authors and as broadly as possible to enjoy new things. Reliable quality is my 2019 priority.

    • I call those years, “Compression phases,” and when I’m the middle of them, I frequently mutter, “This is a compression phase. It will pass…” But I’m also finding that I don’t bounce back anywhere near as quickly as I used to. Not from a night of bad sleep, not from a professional set-back, not from much of anything. I DO bounce back, but it takes time and self-compassion.
      I will wish you many wonderful books in 2019 and plenty of breathing room.

  15. I have one of the most unusual things to be proud of achieving during 2018. I am proud that I have regained, most of my balance and control of the right side of my face – except when I am very tired. At the end of August I came down with a sinus infection, quickly followed by mono. About a week later, I ended up being diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Bell’s Palsy – shingles in my ear. After the constant vertigo subsided – I was able to start physical therapy with a balance and hearing specialist. Eventually, returning to work was included as part of my pt. I’m not at the point where most of the time I don’t have balance issues and except for the 40% loss of hearing that the hearing aide can’t completely compensate for – people can’t tell that I was ever sick – as long as I stay off of ladders.

    This coming year I want to continue to improve my balance. I want to be able to climb a ladder and not worry about falling off. I want to be able to walk a straight line in dark areas – especially when moving from light to dark. I also need to strengthen my left facial muscles since I spent so much time focused on those on my right side, I don’t have as much control on the left. On the career front, I need to find ways to turn around the negative growth rate at the store I was transferred to a couple weeks ago. My employers were wonderful while I was sick – not many bosses are as understanding when an employee misses 2 months of work. I don’t want to let them down.

    • Oh, lord, the things we take for granted–like that my face will still look like my face when I wake up tomorrow. I’m sorry for all the tribulation you’ve faced, but my goodness, you have much to be proud of. That was a heroic year, and if the new store gets one tenth the determination you’ve brought to your recovery, you’ll have it turned around by St. Patrick’s Day.

  16. Happy New Year, Grace! Thank you for all your wonderful books this year – I’ve enjoyed every one of them.

    My year was like so many others’: good and bad, underlain by the anxiety of constant political and economic turmoil, so I’m happy that I came through it generally OK and optimistic about 2019. I’m proud that after 20 years in advertising, an industry that I loved but which has become absolutely toxic in the past decade (especially for people over 40), I’ve successfully managed to re-career: After almost two years unemployed, my contract job in a new field turned permanent. While it’s not as challenging as my previous career, it’s more stable and positive, and it affords me the opportunity to keep learning.

    A challenge/goal I’d like to tackle in 2019 is to travel again. I haven’t had a chance to travel for pleasure since 2013 due to unpredictable income, so I’m starting to make plans to go somewhere this year. While my new job has enabled me to visit several interesting places across Canada for business reasons and I’ve enjoyed those trips, I’m really looking forward to going somewhere completely unrelated to work!

    • One of the most obnoxious phrases I’ve come across lately is the notion of “serving ads…” as a function of using social media, a search engine, a phone. Ads aren’t served like delicacies on a silver platter, they are inflicted, like a wound or a disease, on somebody who is just trying to use a platform or a product. And the whole surveillance capitalism problem is driven by advertising…
      I’m glad you are out of that industry, and into something steady. It’s funny… I’ve traveled all over the Lower 48 for pleasure, but I’d sure like to see something of Canada. My first objective will be the Maritimes, particularly the pockets of Gaelic culture where my great-grandfather’s family was…

  17. Something I’m proud of from 2018 is getting throught the transition of a new job. I’ve worked in the same University office for over 21 years. I was ready for a change and proposed one. Essentially, I got exactly what I asked for, in terms of organization of my new unit, the type of work I do, etc, and yet, there was a protracted mourning period – for the effortless relationship with my former boss whom I admire greatly, for the orderliness of my days, but mostly for my confidence in my ability to be good at what I do. It was so much harder than I anticipated to move to something new, at which I’m not yet self-assured. I felt so lost at times, I really considered just saying goodbye to my University career and starting over somewhere else, except, well that is just silliness. I’m happy to report that I made it through the worst part (I think), and I am slowwwwwly seeing some confidence in my contribution resurface from the murky waters of self-doubt.

    I haven’t tested my mental health in such an enormous way in a long time, and I guess I’m proud of myself for not succumbing to the scariness of a big change. While I would not presume to think our transitions in 2018 are all that similar, it was comforting to read about your big changes and how bravely you faced them all throughout last year, Grace. Thank you for that and for your wonderful books. Happy 2019!

    • That whole career shift thing can be so daunting. I figured out pretty early on that the thick skin I’d developed as an attorney wasn’t the same thick skin I’d need as an author. I could wrangle with an arrogant judge and get tossed to the mat, shrug it off, and go back in the arena with the same judge the next day, but a one-star review? Tears! Self-doubt! Rage! More Self-doubt!
      You seem to be finding your feet in very short order, which suggests this change was brilliantly inspired on your part. Here’s to a wonderful 2019, for you and the lucky university that employs you.

  18. I took a 10 day cruise by myself and loved every minute of it. With the success of that trip, I’m looking at doing a solo trip of some kind in 2019.

    • You know, I’ve never heard of somebody hating a cruise. Even people who said they were dragged on board kicking and screaming ended up having a good time. So I hope you DO take that next cruise, and report back here so the rest of us can add that option to our lists of Maybe Somedays.

  19. I’ve been a care-giver at some level for over half my life. I’m proud that I was able to fight hard for Dad this last year when life hit the fan hard. My challenge for 2019 is completing the work he left for me and facing a total change to my life.

    • Advocating for a parent is such fraught and thankless task. You should be very proud of yourself, for stepping up that that job and sticking with it. I’m sure you father appreciated having an advocate–not enough elder do.
      I was doing one of my short-stay shifts with my dad, spelling my sister so she could visit her offspring. Dad was regularly beset by some well meaning physical therapist with whom he did not get along. Dad was 96 years old, looking forward to death (as he would tell all and sundry whether they asked or not), and he did not care AT ALL if he maintained the ability to walk or had to use a wheelchair to get around.
      I had to tell the physical therapist to leave him alone. He was mentally competent, refusing services, and his wishes had to be respected. She fumed, she lectured, she fretted, she lectured some more, but he was done with her.
      I think that might be the most useful I have ever been to my father, but I still worried about what my siblings would have done differently, and if Dad was really making a wise choice.
      But what does mental competence mean, if not the right to make those choices?

  20. I survived the year 2018. I ended my year up in the hospital with pneumonia for the 3rd time in 3 years. What I want to be proud of in 2019 is not smoking ever again.
    I am so impressed you are taking riding lessons! I envy you!! You would think that in Tennessee there would be some riding stables around, but I haven’t found 1 in the 4 years we’ve lived here.

    • Venette, that will be quite enough of that pneumonia business! I hope you do kick the cigs, too. My parents both smoked for decades, quit in their fifties, and lived into their 90s in good health. I will wish that for you, at least.
      As for the riding lessons… sometimes the areas with the most horses have the fewest stables. Everybody has a backyard pony or a friend with an extra horse, that means the lesson barns have a tough go. You might find a trail riding outfit that can at least put you a saddle when the weather improves. It’s a place to start…

  21. How did I make myself proud in 2018? Hmmm…
    My husband and I began the new year by downsizing from 3600 sq feet to 2000 sq feet. We purchased a historic home built in 1920 and began plans for renovation to take it back to the glories of the “Roaring20’s.” (The question now is: What the hell were we thinking???) We married off our son to the sweetest girl that loves him dearly. AND, we were asked to be on the CASA Christmas Home tour. (Christmas officially began on Oct. 1st for us. It looked like Santa Claus threw up!) It was worth it when all night long I heard, “This reminds me of my g’mother’s house! It’s home!”
    I turned 55 years old and the next day celebrated my 35th wedding anniversary. (to the same man) My year was busy and very blessed! Survival is always a success!