Unpacking a Year (Day 362, Year 2)

I’ve been reviewing my 2022 for months. It is not an activity that fills me with super self-positive energy. It does not compel me to humble brag about myself. If anything, reviewing a year gives me anxiety—much like the way unpacking a suitcase compels avoidance. 

However, in 2022, I did get very good at unpacking my suitcases in a timely and efficient manner (we traveled more weekends than we were home), so maybe there is hope for me yet.  What I learned from all those suitcases is that it is best to started with a well packed suitcase and then to just dive right in and push through the last bits of socks and receipts and other travel debris even if it seems utterly unbearable. 

In that spirit, I am going to start in a “well-packed” way with a systematic review of my year by month and I am going to push through the bits of it all, even though it already seems utterly unbearable.

So here it goes, as I unpack a year:

1. January: I started the year with COVID-19. It snowed during our 10 day quarantine, which included a surprising amount of reading and some wonderful extended family time on Eldridge. And Chloe turned 13 years old and we celebrated with a sleepover. My takeaway: I think everyone should start each new year alone and quarantined. 

2. February: I remember nothing about this month, except we celebrated Valentine’s Day at Hearthside, a super trendy restaurant in town that is wonderful but also strange. My takeaway: I need to try a new restaurant this year. 

3. March:  Lily turned 16 years old, choosing to sing the night away with her small, curated group of lovely friends. I also began to have a professional crisis that would last all year. My takeaway: All the beauty in my firstborn washes away all the nonsense of being a professional.

4. April: Lily and I went to France. A nice man in a cave in Ambrose offered me a job selling wine. My takeaway: My year-long professional crisis could have been avoided had I accepted the wine job. 

5. May: Every May, no matter the year, I always remember the day my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor. My takeaway: I’ll never forget until there is a cure for all children and if I find myself in any crisis (professional, personal, international, wine-related)—I should use this lack of forgetting as a guidepost for everything that is important to me in life: my family, my daughters and son and fighting for kids with cancer. 

6. June: My husband started a brand-new job and I spent June reading about health insurance policies and pricing out prescription drugs. My Takeaway: Adulthood includes a lot of very necessary, yet utterly ridiculous work. 

7. July: I went to France (again) and England. I saw Pearl Jam (twice) in Hyde Park. I saw my son look in awe at the Eiffel Tower, my middle daughter cry with joy and my oldest daughter with European travel swagger. I once hopped on a train and my family didn’t follow me. But I was able to find them again, quickly and without becoming hysterical in a foreign country. I also turned 45. My takeaway: Maybe my family would be into relocating to Ambrose, France, so I sell wine from a cave. 

8. August: We stayed at a hotel in Ocean City, NJ for the first time ever and it was a delight. My Takeaway: I am done cooking on vacation. I can eat boardwalk food and yogurt from a hotel mini fridge for a week and still enjoy the shore. 

9. September: Chloe struggled. I struggled to help her. But, then because of two really amazing friends who seemingly fell out of the sky on my really bad day, I somehow helped Chloe. My takeaway: Angels exist and they are called friends. As as you all you know, friendship is the BEST ship. 

10. October: I launched this big project for a client. I should have felt prouder. But I just felt like I checked a box, which continued my personal professional crisis. I had a wonderful time celebrating Halloween. My Takeaway: Maybe I was sick of being professional and wanted to enjoy real life more. 

11. November: I interviewed a whole bunch of incredible oncologists will be the ones who cure pediatric cancer. I was evacuated from Amelia Island. I had an eye injury from hurricane force winds. We hosted Thanksgiving for family and wonderful friends. My Takeaway: Maybe I just need to hang with oncologists and prepare large meals, while avoiding real or imaginary hurricanes. 

12. December: I don’t know yet. I’ll let you know about this month, when it is a wrap. But for now, I found a Starbucks in Ohio that is just 12 minutes away from our home base. My Takeaway: Anything is possible, even in Ohio.