I think it's great that everyone is starting the new year off with optimism. 2018 was rough for a lot of people. For me personally, I wouldn't cast 2018 away. God had blessed me the past year, and while I can complain, I prefer to count my blessings.
My blessings and successes of 2018
1. I successfully completed my qualifying examinations in my doctoral program. As such I am officially a doctoral candidate, and I can place ABD as a holder for Ph.D. I was difficult. I had to retake an exam. This was one of my most challenging tasks for the past year, but I prayed, studied, persevered. It wasn't pretty, but it is done. I drove through a snowstorm, went through anxiety attacks, took the exam while pregnant, and done. Thank the Lord!
2. I got a job. I moved to DC in 2017 with my husband and thought I could find a job, or an internship while I was here. I spent a whole year on the market, in and out of interviews and came up empty-handed. I was either what they wanted strategically for the future just not right now, or over-qualified. Just before summer last year I was offered a job, which was a five-hour drive away from my husband, and then a month later I was being pursued for another job that was six hours away from my husband. And for a brief two-months, I had a short contract in another state, and I commuted two, sleeping on the floor of a friend's apartment. I elected for the nearer of the two for the year of the contract, with a renewal possibility. And for the last five months, I have had a steady job.
3. I got pregnant. People have asked if this was a planned pregnancy, and my husband didn't like when I responded no it wasn't. But I'm a firm believer in the fact that God's timing is not my timing. We want kids, and We were hoping to have our first the year before when I was jobless. So in the sense that we were trying, it is true that this pregnancy was planned. But the plan was to have the baby in our off-season, outside of the school year. Not at the beginning of the new year. So, in this sense, this pregnancy was not planned. But I am blessed to say that Baby Bean (as the unknown gender baby is affectionately called), is on their way. And my job has maternity leave, even in my short contract. So the blessings keep rolling.
4. We have somewhat settled down. We found a great apartment on the northwestern side of the VMD area that we now call home. It has its cons, but the biggest thing about it is that it feels like we are settled in. We bought a new car (new to us), which was necessary. I don't think the old one could take the miles I've been putting on the new car. And, we've got our finances in somewhat of an order. This is a working progress, but I am happy to say that it doesn't look like a hopeless cause, where we are drowning financially and can't understand why.
My #2018goals included getting my mind, body, and soul healthy. My #2018goals were focused on getting out of the depression and rout that I had felt leaving 2017. #2018goals were focused on getting myself organized and ready for the blessings God would bestow on me and my family.
A thought on New Year Resolutions
My husband doesn't like New Year Resolutions. But I think the fact that it is a point to help us reflect on the past and work towards the future, is a great reason to make goals. Not goals that are specific, and habit creating - those I feel fail all the time; those are objectives. But goals that help us achieve our dreams, and move towards our future. Getting healthy doesn't necessarily equate to becoming a gym-rat, and working out 4-5 times a week. It does, however, mean, we are thinking about being better about our health choices, in what we do. You can turn goals into objectives, but that helps you to be task-oriented if that works for you. But you should start at goals that provide you with an overall picture.
Goals are like a vision board, but with more narrative that paints a picture of your future self, as opposed to pictures of things you see in this work that you want for yourself. Vision boards can be great, but also destructive because the imagery used is based on that same external media philosophy. I don't want to look at Gabrielle Union, Oprah Winfrey, or Michelle Obama, or any other woman and say, these are the things they have that I want for myself. I don't want to take implied pressure from mass-media about the way I should, look, feel or be, and curate messages that tell me this is my goal. I prefer to look at my past and see what I did, where I had trouble, and what I need to work on. I prefer to think about my future and talk with my husband about our relationship, our future and where we want to be, and what we want to work towards. Don't get me wrong, this way isn't without those external impressions, of what others are doing, but I'm more focused on what I am doing, have done and want to do. And that informs my narrative that paints my picture that makes my #goals.
So as I press forward into this week, counting my blessings and planning my future this is what I will be thinking about, praying about.