The most cliched title ever, especially for a January post, but… I think it’s fitting.
2022 was hands down the worst year of my life. It wasn’t one thing, but rather, one thing after another – where each time I thought I had found my footing, I lost myself again. The combination of the devastating Marshall Fire and burnout at work led me to take three months off work to deal with my mental health; then I went through IVF and had a huge overdose of estrogen that led to postpartum depression (even though I hadn’t had a baby!). It took months to diagnose that as my doctors gaslit my feelings and symptoms, and also led to a bad breakup and complete heartbreak. In the fall, I got scammed by a contractor to the tune of $100,000 and had to take out loans to repair the damage, and then I made a mistake on the Town Board that led to me being raked over the coals by my neighbors and the press. And throughout the year, I kept drifting further and further apart from my friends – probably more my fault than theirs, as I knew I was a lot to take, and I didn’t want to subject anyone to too much of my misery. What a year!
Most years I love New Year’s – looking back on the year that’s passed, at both the good and the bad to see what I can learn. I’m usually pretty proud of what I’ve gotten done in a year, and I’m always really excited to plan what’s next. But this year, New Year’s Eve was a pretty miserable day all around. From a tough ski lesson that brought me to tears when it ended, to being forced to hang out with my ex-boyfriend afterward, to getting stuck in the mountains alone due to a snowstorm, when all I wanted was a friend to give me a hug and comfort me after my crappy day. I finally took a bath and headed to bed – not even paying attention to the passage of the new year at midnight. I fell asleep somewhere around 1:30am, after eventually taking a sleeping pill (first time ever trying that and I did not like it) so I could stop ruminating and get some rest.
What I couldn’t stop thinking about was: how was it possible that I was ending the year no better than I had started it? It was quite the opposite of my lifelong goal to always be improving. As I tried to reflect back, I just kept thinking of more things I had messed up, and for many of them, I was still questioning “what did I do wrong?” There wasn’t a clear lesson learned or thing I could do differently in the future, and that was (and is) really scary to me. I don’t want to go through any of that again.
But on New Year’s Day, I woke up feeling a lot better. I had survived 2022, and 2023 was sure to be an improvement. I could only go up from here, right? I headed to Beaver Creek for a bit of skiing on my own, and then met up with some newer friends (that I actually met through this blog!) and had a really lovely time – I’m hoping we can see each other more going forward. After a quick stop back at my mountain house to pack up, I hit the road, and ended up getting a lot of reflecting done on the drive home. I got home to my pups (yes, I have a second dog now – Sammy was a foster puppy that I think I’m going to keep!), and my mom came to join me for dinner and a movie while I exchanged texts and made plans with other friends. I ended the first day of 2023 feeling a lot more connected to people than the loneliness I had felt the night before.
I don’t have all the answers yet, by any means – and in fact, I don’t even have a clear set of New Year’s resolutions. But I’m feeling a lot more positive about the year ahead. Rather than New Year’s resolutions, I want to do that trendy thing where I pick a word for the year, and my word is connection. I spent so much of last year feeling lonely and alone, and while 2020 was a year that I was alone but living my best life, I think right now is a season for me to reconnect and reengage on a variety of fronts. While I’m sure I’ll still have some rough days, I’m excited to finally feel like I can approach my relationships with positivity instead of doom and gloom.
Cheers to 2023!