As 2019 wraps up, I am sitting with the wild ride that this year has been.
Before January had even completed, life threw two curveballs at me: my mom was diagnosed with cancer (AML) and my hedgehog of almost 6 years passed away. In the same week. I chalked it up to the worst week of my life and assumed that it would be a while before anything topped that.
In February, less than two weeks after that diagnosis, I took the stage at RubyConf Australia and debuted my first ever international speaking engagement. It was well received and I made so many fantastic friends there. We spent the remainder of February exploring Australia and New Zealand.
March was filled with as much time as I could manage to be with my mom, despite traveling for work as well.
April brought the actual worst week of my life: my mom’s death, funeral planning, and actual funeral and burial. Death is not a new concept for me, but the death of my mom hit hard. I had lost my mom and my best friend and I was lost. Having to put that aside so I could help plan a funeral was the hardest and most difficult thing I’ve had to do in my life, and the only thing that topped that was purchasing a gravesite for my mom and my dad.
May brought the chilling reminder that my mom was gone. Exactly 4 weeks after her death was what would have been her 63rd birthday, and just after that was Mother’s day. I always cognitively knew how unintentionally harmful Mother’s and Father’s days could be for people who were missing or never had a mother or father figure, and this year I truly understood. Truly, and deeply understood, and I still had the privilege of celebrating the life she had and the impact she had in my life.
June brought a lot of angst at work. I was trying to grapple with my grief, the issues I was having at work, and trying to reconcile the two together. I am still so grateful for the time Abstract allowed me away from work to sort those feelings out.
July brought a beautiful family gathering in the woods of Pure Michigan which was a celebration of my mom’s shining life and a time to grieve together in the healing power of nature (and an extremely swollen and flooding river!).
August brought in new challenges at work and the navigation of complicated relationships.
September, October, and November was learning how to navigate life without my mom. Missing our lengthy phone dates and her calming voice whenever I was struggling. It was also an odd period of productivity at work, while also dealing with the cognitive dissonance of feeling like I didn’t belong and that my presence was unwanted.
And December brings me to now, and into the great unknown.
Today was my last day at Abstract. It has been such a unique experience with such a special group of people. I can safely say that I took away more lifelong friends from this company than I have ever made before. Unfortunately, certain situations led me to some really deep and really detrimental burnout.
I am embarking in a period of nothingness. I literally have nothing planned and I plan on doing as much of nothing as I can possibly muster until 2020.
In 2020, I plan on doing some part-time contracting to help bring in some amount of income while I spend the majority of time doing restorative and healing things. I want to make things with my hands, spend time with my dog, put my personal life back into some semblance of order. I also want to retake the speaking stage and have a few ideas for some talks I’d like to share with folks. And I want to write more.
For me, this is a huge leap of faith. Not being employed full time or having a reliable income is scary. I am so grateful for the deep support and encouragement I have from my partner, and even my former employer, to do what’s best for me and my well being.