Let each new year find you a better man

There are a lot of things that formed this year and made it unique for me personally, but one of the biggest is something I’ve not really mentioned on here: Mike and I quit our small group back in April. We joined that small group about a month after we got married, and I did not know a definition of our marriage that did not include that group in some form or another. We took trips with those people, laughed and cried with them, and learned a lot about how to be married with them. And now it’s gone. Rather, we’re gone and the group has continued without us. That’s been hard at times, especially when they go on vacation together and we’re not there (I hate feeling left out), but we started going to a different church, so it was time for us to move on and invest more in that community. So Mike participated in the male bakeoff, we started going to Wednesday night services, and he’s even agreed to be liturgist in the new year. It was the right decision, but it was not made lightly.

This year was also shaped by Mike’s school schedule, with both of us still learning what it looks like for me to be working and for him to be in school. It was shaped by his new job and the wonderful people we got to know through it. It was shaped by all the time we spent with Scott and Kelly, by Gilmore Girls, by Harry Potter, by my wisdom teeth surgery, by applying for The Amazing Race, my new position at work, my Rumor Forum Girls, Mike turning 30, our fifth anniversary. And, of course, this was the year of the flood and subsequent downstairs remodel. It made the summer seem long and frustrating, but I am pleased with the results after all.

Sometimes a year can be defined by a single word or phrase, but that isn’t really the case this year. I struggled with some relationships and some relationships grew. Mike and I had a good year as a couple, but I feel like I was sick or under the weather for a lot of it. It flew by, but certain things from January seem as if they happened yesterday. I read a lot, maybe too much, and we cut back a lot of our TV watching, even as I got more devoted to my favorite shows. The highs were very high and the lows were low. But I don’t have a particular word that comes to mind when I think of this year. It was very . . . varied.

I think I personally learned a little about forgiveness and letting things go. There was one issue in particular with which I wrestled for much of the year, and I ultimately came to the conclusion that I had to quit worrying so much about what other people thought about me. Never mind that I came to that conclusion about three times. I think as long as I keep coming to the conclusion, trying to make it stick, I’m doing okay. This year I wasn’t as sorry for myself, I didn’t whine as much about lost friendships, I was more content. I look at where I was a year ago, and I feel like I’ve made some clear steps in the direction of the Kari I Was Created To Be, who is kinder and more full of grace than the Kari I Currently Am, Who Is Still In Progress. Sometimes it’s easier to think of a “theme” for the year if the theme is “dark clouds of discontent.” This year wasn’t like that at all. It felt . . . settled. Maybe that’s it – other than small group, we didn’t have big changes this year, and that was nice, especially after the year before, when we bought a house and Mike quit his job and started school.

I would like to have some wise thing to say to close out this entry, but the only thing I can think of is just that when I think about this year, I’m grateful, even for the hard stuff, because I see where it’s brought me – personally, spiritually, and in my friendships. Thanks for hanging in with me this year.

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