The End of an Era

sunset at the isle of palms

Sitting here, on the precipice of 2019 and looking back on the past several years, I’m feeling like it’s the end not only of a year, but of an era.

The past few years filled with illness (thankfully nothing super serious but enough to just make me feel awful and incredibly run down), injury, and loss have taken a toll on me. Running has been miserable. I’ve lost three dogs. I’ve had some serious career woes (although, those eventually rebounded nicely).

Losing Lucy Belle at the end of this year after we had already lost Meadow at the beginning (and losing Stella Blue in 2015) feels like the closing of a past part of my life. Those three were our first pack of dogs. They came from our life in Lancaster and had been through so many life events with us (I mean, Lucy Belle made it into our wedding pictures).

And I’m not the same person I was back then. I’m not the same person I was when I started running in 2012. I’m not the same person I was in 2014, right after having B. I’m not bright eyed. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’m halfway broken. But I’m still hopeful. I think.

I generally don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I do like to set goals. This year, I participated in Stratejoy’s Holiday Council for the first time. Normally, I’m not into things like that (or what I thought it was), but I saw the Facebook ad at just the right time (sigh) and took a risk by signing up. I guess that little bit of hope I have is what made me take the leap into Holiday Council.

It ended up being a really fruitful experience and it’s now going to be part of my annual holiday traditions. I loved the structure of it, broken into three weeks: release and renew, dream scheme, and plot and plan (very specifically). I was worried that this would be too much manifesting/visioning mumbo jumbo and not a whole lot of action (totally not my thing), but it actually had concrete actions and structure to it as well as a helpful workbook. I feel more focused and on top of my planning than I’ve felt…maybe ever?

This year, I’ve had some realizations of what’s really important to me, fueled by the losses I’ve experienced as well as some other factors, and including during my Holiday Council experience. Taking some time at the end of the year to acknowledge those realizations and release those old beliefs and ideas was therapeutic and also helped create space - in my mind, with my time - to focus on things I’ve been wanting to do for a long, long time. Things I thought were important enough to work on in grad school, but later ended up heading in a slightly different career direction (although still using the graduate degree, just a bit differently than planned).

But now that I wrapped up all of that planning (I’ll be back with some of those details in my annual This Year, Next Year as well as a recap of my Holiday Council experience), I’m going to sit back and enjoy these holiday weeks as much as I can.

If I’ve been reminded of anything lately, it’s how fast time goes by. Time is cruel. Family members leave us, children grow up. In such a short time, my son will go from being a little kid to a big kid, and the magic of Christmas won’t be the same. But for now, it’s still magic and I'm relishing every minute. We’re baking cookies, watching Christmas movies, creating Christmas art and crafts, wrapping presents, and soaking up the magic.

Right after Christmas, we’re heading home to Lancaster for a New Year’s visit. I feel like it will bring me some feeling of closure from that season of life - being in the city where we spent so much time with Stella, Lucy Belle, and Meadow, walking the streets we walked with them, seeing the sights, and maybe it will snow. And I’m hoping I’ll catch a bit of Christmas magic there, too, while I remember all of those happy times from the past.