2018, a reflection.

Today is the last day of my daughter’s birth year. This makes me sad, though not fully, because since becoming a mother, there’s hardly any time to process what’s going on. It all goes by so quickly, everyone says that, I know, because it’s true. This year will always remain a time capsule of one of the hardest (or perhaps just stressful) and best years of my life. A difficult pregnancy, career hardship, moving, buying a home, having a baby, the fourth trimester (which deserves way more discussion), learning to become a parent, learning to still be a wife and not just a parent. It’s all been complex and all been so beautiful.

And so, while after today, I will no longer have access to this year, still, I am ready.

As I mourn no longer having a newborn, each day becomes bigger and brighter, as I realize Row is just beginning to develop her personality. This is beyond exciting. Right now, our world together has been very tiny, but as she grows, I grow, and we discover how big and beautiful not only this world is, but how big and beautiful she is. Each day, she laughs more than she has ever laughed in her entire life. What a wonderful experience, to laugh more than you have ever laughed before. This happens, every single day. She is so happy. As am I.

What do I want for 2019?

Honestly, I already have everything I want. So much of my life before Row was defined by success that no longer holds much value to me. Yes, I still have my personal goals, but I don’t feel the need to broadcast any of this to the world anymore. Before, I shared online because I wanted these special moments to live beyond just me and perhaps inspire someone else in the world. Now, everything in my life feels so sacred that I simply want to keep it for myself. Any sharing is done with those directly around me: family, friends, strangers, the tangible. And here, too, I suppose, but this places feels sacred, too. My personal, quiet, little corner of the Internet.

Perhaps that’s what I want: the here and now. Having a daughter has made me painfully aware of time. It made me cry when I dropped my dad off at the airport yesterday, not knowing when I’ll see him again. It’s made me aware of my grandparents and how much time they have left. It’s made me wonder how much time I have left. I’ve always thought about this, but having a child shifts everything into focus. Suddenly I’m eating well, trying/wanting to exercise more, training myself how to think more positive thoughts, having goals and purpose each day, anything I can to be healthy for her in order to experience every bit of her for as long as I possibly can.

None of this is meant to be sad, though, for as sad as I am to leave 2018, I know 2019 is filled with entirely new wonder. I can’t stop any of what is happening, but I can be fully here to embrace it and dive head first into it.

2015

My gosh, 2015 was such an incredible year. I admit, too, that at the end of 2014, I was a bit sad to be leaving 2014, because I didn’t think anything could top last year, but I’m so glad I let go and allowed space for a new year to come.

2015 was monumental for me for a few reasons. It was also insanely busy and at times it sucked the creative life out of me, but I’m so glad I stuck to all my goals and pushed through, because now, for 2016, I feel like I have the whole world at my fingertips again.

2015 is the year I finished my undergraduate degree… at 27. This degree took me for-freaking-ever. It was the one I dropped out of many years ago to move to San Francisco, and the one that once I was in San Francisco, realized I wanted nothing more than to finish this dream of mine. So that was the majority of my 2015 (summer school included). I love learning, and this kept me fascinated enough to stick to finishing my degree, but I am a terrible student and get distracted easily, so I often found myself doodling instead of taking notes, or sketching elaborate photo shoots instead of reading. It wasn’t ever that the subject content wasn’t interesting, and I am still so grateful for all my professors who let me do creative photo projects instead of writing 3000 word essays. And then, finally, finally, I finished.

2015 is also the year Eric and I got engaged. I did not expect this at first. At the start of 2015 I wouldn’t have guessed this, but then a few months down the road, everything finally became clear to me, and I knew Eric was the one I wanted to be with, forever. I remember him coming up to Vancouver, Canada (where I was living) and us going to look at rings. The first place we went to (and one of the few that were open on a Sunday night) was a small jewelry store with the man’s workshop right there in the back. I immediately saw the ring I wanted, but I didn’t try it on at first because I figured it should take a bit of time before finding the one. I tried on a few different rings, and then we went to two other stores we found that were open. I’ll never forget standing in the mall and Eric saying to me, Kima, we could get engaged, right. now., and me laughing saying there was absolutely no chance we were getting engaged right. now. and in a mall of places. I don’t mean in the mall, but we could still get engaged today. I said that I wanted us to wait, and the next morning when Eric left to drive back down to Seattle, he stopped at the small jewelry store and picked up the ring I couldn’t stop thinking about. For the next few weeks, I had my entire proposal planned out. He would take me here and we would do this and eat that and I had every last detail planned out and set to happen at the end of the summer, and instead, Eric proposed later that month when I was least expecting it in the way I did not expect either, and it was better than anything I could have ever imagined. 

Summer school was, well, summer school. I had back to back classes for 9 hours a day and the rest of my days off were spent working. Instead of doodling during class, I was planning my wedding. Everything was set to happen May of 2016 in Hawaii, my dream destination, but some things fell through, and I finally gave up trying to force things to happen, and just let them happen how they were supposed to happen.

And so instead, I decided to graduate, move from Vancouver, Canada to Seattle, Washington and get married all in the same month, the month of December. I moved to Seattle during my last week of school and our wedding was two days after my last paper was due. It was a whirlwind and even though it didn’t go the way I originally thought, it was so much better the way it happened, and so much more us. And now it’s only like a week and a half later and here I am, sitting in my office typing on my laptop. Eric is in his workshop, the dogs are sleeping, music is playing, cars are driving by, there is a hole in my stockings, the plant next to me is still dying and everything just feels good. 

I’ve always believed that you don’t just “make it” and then live happily ever after. You don’t just graduate or get married or move and then kick back with a big smile on your face knowing that now the rest of your life is good to go. I mean, yeah, I have definitely been kicking back (or whatever) with a huge smile on my face because I have accomplished things I’ve been working so hard to accomplish, and dreaming and praying for, but it doesn’t end here. And I think that’s what I’m most excited about for 2016, because for every bucket list item I can check off, it allows me to make space and write new bucket list items. Work goals and hobby goals and travel goals and weird goals and secret goals and omg goals. Nothing is really set in stone, except that now I can create time to pursue these things again. Now that school is done, now that I’m finally in Seattle with Eric, now that I don’t have to think about planning a wedding, now I can just do me again. I’m really excited for that. 

When I read through my goals for 2015, it’s perhaps embarrassing that I didn’t accomplish the majority of them. Stand up tall, sort of, maybe. Write daily, preferably in the morning, aka, sleep longer. Work on thought life, think more positively, okay this one I worked hard on, and it’s helped, and I still work on it every day. Get good grades (A’s and B’s, no C’s), or get all of the above! Deepen relationship with God, still trying. Be a better girlfriend, daughter, friend, also still trying (and learning). Finish the following five books…, 2/5, it’s a start.

Maybe I didn’t accomplish as much as I did according to my list, but 2015 still taught me so much. 2015 taught me balance. 2015 taught me patience. 2015 taught me to work hard. 2015 taught me to trust, forgive, let go (ah yes, always letting go), try harder, be humble… There were ups and downs and lots of learning curves and yet, 

I wouldn’t change anything from this past year.

2015 taught me to let life happen how it's meant to happen. Because it's only in letting go that we can truly live.