We All Thought 2017 was a Dumpster Fire, but We Hadn’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
By Kayleigh Peaker
I’m going to go ahead and say that 2018 has probably been the hardest year for me. I’d even say that 2017 and 2018 combined have been pretty rough overall. There has been a lot of change, a lot of loss, and challenges I’ve never experienced before. However, in spite of all the difficulty, I was able to accomplish several goals and begin to live my life on my terms. I’m ready for this next revolution around the sun, ready to let go, and ready for more adventure.
I know everyone deals with trials and tribulations throughout their lifetimes, but 2018 seems to have had a particular penchant for suffering. I feel like so many people around me have experienced incredible loss this year and although we’re all in this together, it doesn’t make it any easier to cope.
I’m heartbroken over several major events mainly occurring in the last six months of this year, and last year around this time I was heartbroken for different reasons. Although, if I’m being honest, I’ve been heartbroken for about 23 years. I feel like I am perpetually healing from a broken heart and it’s exhausting.
I’m a teacher and this year I changed school districts to try and salvage my love of teaching and education, but I was met with an even larger challenge to try and hold on to it. I’m still not sure what the future holds for me there. While I have begun to feel better about the situation, I will have to wait and see how the rest of the school year pans out.
I’ve also experienced a loss like I’ve never felt before. Of course, I have lost people in my past, but none so unexpected as this. I feel like grief has settled itself in my heart and there is no removing it.
In spite of all the challenges and tragedies that took place this year, I was able to start new projects, travel the world, and attempt to heal. This year, I was able to finalize the sale of my house and move home with my family. In hindsight, it was probably one of the best decisions I could have made for myself considering the events that would take place later this year. Another step I took toward healing this last year was to start seeing a therapist and I really feel like it is helping me manage my grief, depression, and anxiety much better than I have been able to in the past.
This year, I began building a women’s clothing business with my sister. It has been one of the scariest things to try, but we took the leap and are building something that is completely ours.
I traveled to New Hampshire to visit an old friend and see new sights up and down New England, which was awesome and one of those experiences where I’m reminded that even though I might not see certain people as much as I used to, we are still connected and can always be there for each other.
I also took a trip to Scotland and had one of the greatest experiences of my life. I saw so many beautiful places in one little corner of the world and made new friends who live all across the United States. I’ve always dreamt of seeing the world and I’ve really motivated myself to see more of it in the next few years. I’ve been making payments to take a trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji in 2020.
I took a significant break from theater that was completely necessary, but now that it’s been so long, I’m realizing how much I miss it and what a huge part of my life it was. I pitched a play to direct at a local theater and it was selected to go up next July. I cannot wait to begin the directing process for She Kills Monsters. It deals with grief among many other things, and I think the process could potentially be very cathartic and healing. At least I hope it will be.
There are always going to be hard things to deal with that we cannot control. Those things will overwhelm us and try to make us cynical, harsh, and protect our hearts, but a good friend posted a passage from Daring Greatly by Brené Brown reminding me that while these difficult things may occur, I have to continue putting myself out there and risk feeling pain and vulnerability to love and create.
So goodbye 2018. I’m ready to kick you to the curb.
Here’s to healing, being vulnerable, and taking risks in 2019.