2016 Thoughts and 2017 Expectations

It's a full week into January, and I'm already on my 5th post of 2017.  Hellllooo, productivity.  Now the question is, will I be back with a post next week or did I just burn out real fast?  Time will tell.  So.  My thoughts on the last year and embracing this new one.  To be honest, I should have posted this the last week of December, but I just didn't get my thoughts together in time.  Since I still had a lot to say, I just moved it over to today.

2016 in Review

Let's not pretend like 2016 didn't need to let go.  It did.  It was one hell of a year and it needed to be put to rest.  Besides just the 12 thousand celebrities that died (which, while sad, is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, the grand scheme being the sheer number of people murdered in 2016), it was full of political and social issues and it truly feels like this country, and others, took very, very big steps backwards.  None of this is going away in 2017, the flip of a calendar page is not going to reset those things.  We have a lot of work to do.  But this is not that post.  Moving  on.

There were some sad points, personally, in 2016.  John's grandma passed away, which was hard on him and the family. I was sad about it too, because I really liked his grandma and I enjoyed spending time with a grandmother who was kind and fun. (Not a single tear will be shed by literally anyone when my mom's mother dies. Not an exaggeration.) At the end of the day, she'd been in pain for many years and since grandpa is doing okay, I take that to mean she's at peace. My dad had a bit of a scare with his pacemaker about 2 weeks ago, but ending up not having to have 'conversion' which is a nice way of saying shocking his heart while he's awake, so all was good in the end.

But. I cannot totally hate on the entire year, even when sad things happen.  A lot of good things happened to us in 2016.  Let's start with the two biggest ones: we bought and moved into our first house in May, after searching for a solid year.  John got his e-mail telling him to come on in, he was starting at the Chicago Fire Academy (and he graduates in February!)  Besides those two huge life events, I did a lot of fun things - went on an Alaskan cruise, posted 114 blog posts, visited my best friend in Iowa to tailgate, got to have her come here multiple weekends too and we even started a podcast together.  Which we subsequently failed at but we did get one up this past Monday so we're totally bringing it back this year.  I finished tons of challenges related to minimalism and simplifying my life, which allowed me to focus more on things that matter like spending quality time with people and dogs I love.  And I spent the better part of the year making our home 'ours' (I totally embraced that hygge concept, so sue me, I'm a sheep.  Yes, of course the Danes are happier, they take more mood altering drugs that anyone in the world, but that is not the point.  The point is I like cozy things and transitional + scandi interiors, the end.)

At the end of the day, I don't think I'll ever look back at 2016 with the animosity that a lot of other people feel.  Not to say that I'm not ready for this year and embracing everything 2017 has to offer, but the last year wasn't dismal.

Expectations for 2017

I read a comment on Twitter about how 2016 humbled everyone, and no one is saying '2017 is going to be my year!' like they did last year.  It's sort of true.  Everyone's been quietly stepping into January with the attitude of 'it cannot get any worse,' but that's also a dangerous way to think because have you seen Nicolas Cage's film credits lately?  It can always get worse.

However.  I have higher hopes than that for 2017 because 'at least it's not the worst' is not the way I like to approach anything but whatever cheap ass beer is on special.  I think 2017 will be a good year.  Nothing crazy, not the omg best year ever, but a good one.  A solid one.

Biggest thing first: John is going to be starting at a firehouse as a real Chicago firefighter in February, a busy house just like he wants.  Of course this is terrifying since the safety of the training center is over, but I'm very proud of him and how hard he's worked.  He's looked forward to this for a long time, and that alone is going to make 2017 a year to remember.

On the flip side of that, I except some associated bumps in the road this year, in the form of people not yet understanding the lifestyle.  Which is okay and expected, because we have to get used to it ourselves (and I have to remember we have a 6 month head start on everyone else, with the training life.)  But I expect a few hurt feelings along the way when we tell people we can't come to events, that John will miss holidays, that I won't be meeting up with someone for dinner as planned because John's finally coming home after an unplanned 72 hour shift and I want to spend time with him.  I expect that people won't understand why we don't want to have a Friday date night with them, even though 'John has the day off!'   They don't know how tired he is or how little time we've had together that week.  I even expect that it'll be a battle to balance alone time together with time with his family. I'm ready to diffuse tensions as best I can, but I'm also ready to fiercely guard my time. But to be honest, I've always been good about guarding my time.   'No' is a full sentence, and one I have never before and never will feel guilty about.  'We need time alone' is perfectly selfish and perfectly acceptable at the same time.  Getting used to all of this is going to be the main focus of this year.

Other expectations for the year?  Having a bit more unfocused time on my hands.  My career isn't changing, I'll still work weekdays 8 to 5.  But John will be working a ton, leaving a lot of nights open for me where they weren't before (less cooking, cleaning, time together, etc.)  Sometimes even full weekends.  A lot of the 'new house' dust has settled, as far as everything in it's place and the minor fixes repaired.  Nothing major is planned for awhile for home projects, so after I catch up on everything I want to see on Netflix and/or start feeling like enough of a lazy slug to get up and do things, I expect I'll find a project to take up more of my evenings, and I don't just mean blogging and podcast recording.  And I don't mean becoming a regular at the bar around the corner either, but mostly because I'm a cheapskate and the crack machine there doesn't have naked girls photo hunt (so what's the point, honestly?)  No, I think I'll do a lot more decluttering and organizing for other people, starting with family, and then possibly actually getting paid for it.

I also expect I'll spend a bit more time with my parents because we live close and that's where I go if I'm bored.  Hopefully it'll mean more walks with Hawkeye - could Princess Hawkeye walk the full 3 miles to my parents house?  We're about to find out.  I think I'll be doing more neighborhood things with Hawkeye too, like watching Eric coach football on Saturdays in the fall or going nearby street fests in the summer, anything we can walk to, because I won't have a car when John takes his truck to work and I refuse to get one.

I'm hopeful that it will be a year of trying a couple new things, mainly more zero waste efforts, more DIY projects to help get anything chemical-y out of the house (cleaning supplies and such), and trying not to spend any money at all.  I'm always trying that.  I also want to raise money or earn more money, for donations to animal shelters.  I'd volunteer my time there but Hawkeye would have a new sibling every damn day if I did that.  I'm hoping and practically betting it'll be a year of checking almost everything off my 2017 bucket list and my 101 in 1001 list.

But you really never can tell how everything is going to go, can you?  I guess we'll see when I revisit this post a year from now.

What are your expectations for 2017?  What are you trying new this year?  Let me know in the comments.

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