Year End Reflection

In some ways, 2017 has been a difficult year. The year began in grief and sadness, and I have a tendency to become very withdrawn in times like that. But I am glad to say as we near the end of the year, I feel like I have my life together and I am making better choices than ever before.  Not only that, but I am less withdrawn than I have been, and I am getting more involved in things in healthy and meaningful ways.

At the end of April, I published a book of poetry. It was a collection of some of my favorite poems that I had written from when I was a teenager up until a few years ago, and I was tremendously excited and proud to have put it together. I have since sold dozens of copies, and I feel like a real big time poet now! But that was only the beginning. Sharing my old poetry with others inspired me to begin writing again, and I have now published my second book of poetry, all written this year. It clearly demonstrates where I have been in my head and in my heart, and it is a place of hope and reflection. I am so proud of every line that I've written, and writing them has given me a new sense of purpose. Even if only one single person reads them and feels encouraged, I will feel like it was a well-spent effort.

Another great thing I did this year was that I became a member of the church I sort of stumbled on by accident. I feel a true sense of community there, I feel myself growing spiritually, and I feel like I am where I am meant to be. I have enjoyed meeting everyone there, and they have all been so nice and so sincere. I am also glad that I have several of my family members attending with me and that we have all gotten involved in different ways (I recently passed my background check to begin volunteering in the nursery!). I love that this church is involved in helping others, from rebuilding for folks after hurricanes to ministering to people in nursing homes and jails. It is so practical and it truly lives love and doesn't just talk about it. This is not only one of the best decisions I made this year but in a long time.

A third positive thing I did this year was to start managing my PCOS naturally. I had been treating and minimizing symptoms and issues with hormone therapy for years, which had been helpful in some ways, but I was becoming less happy with it. Not only that, but I was starting to have negative side effects of it as well. I made the decision in September to handle it naturally. Through a lot of research, I discovered different herbal methods and dietary changes I could make, and after putting those into practice, I have found them very successful. I feel more in control of my PCOS now than I ever have before, and I have no regrets about taking this decision into my own hands. As a caveat, I would advise that anyone contemplating making changes to the treatment of any condition talk to their doctor first.

A fourth thing I did, as I recently discussed, was giving up diet soda. I feel so much better, and it was way easier than I expected. I didn't even experience withdrawal headaches. Every negative side effect of consuming diet soda has long since vanished and I feel good. I hope I am smart enough to stay away from it for good, we shall see!

As the year draws to an end and I look back on my Fitbit data, I can see that I have hit my step goal (whether it was 10,000, 12,000, or now 15,000) every single day this year.  I have logged a workout - even if it was just a light walk to clear my head - every single day this year.  I have stayed within my calorie budget every day this year.  My OCD senses are tingling with delight, all of the data points are in their proper places!

I thank God that despite a hard year, I have made some good decisions and changes in my life and that I have aimed to pursue a path that makes me useful to others. I hope that I can encourage others and help them when they need it, and I am glad that I have made good choices about my own self, so I can be there for others. When the year began, it was hard to see a path to what good the year might bring, but God has been good to me, and I have been grateful.