It is December, and this month is always a time to reflect as the year winds down, ending with big holiday celebrations and welcoming the New Year full of new possibilities. 2013 has been a big year for me and the people in my life. It wasn’t the year I was expecting it to be for many, many reasons, but I learned a lot and grew so much this year it is incredible.
I started 2013 with a list of goals. I made a lot of effort towards meeting those goals, but in truth most of my goals are ones I want to continue to work on. They really weren’t necessarily goals meant to be accomplished. As 2013 is coming to a close, I want to end the year with some of the major things that happened to me, some of the lessons I learned, and what I am hopeful for in the year to come.
2013 started in a new-ish home, in a new-ish town, in a new-ish job and in a new-ish marriage. The beginning of the year was hopeful, as most New Years are. But very quickly, things got a little dark. I got sick and missed work for the first time in almost a year. And not long after that I experienced my first state survey as a long term care dietitian. I thought I was ready for it, but I was not prepared at all. It completely shook me up and destroyed my confidence. Luckily I had some very supportive people in my life, including my supervisor (who at that time was working as my co-worker), and I made it through.
Not long after the annual survey, I got a new co-worker – a full time dietary manager that was not only experienced with management, but also a chef and a certified dietary manager (meaning he had some experience and knowledge of the clinical side of dietary, not just the food and management side). The first day he worked with me, I came down with the stomach flu – yeah, sick TWICE in a matter of months! So needless to say I didn’t make the greatest impression, and I came back to work to find out that he had completely sanitized our office. At first I thought he was a total germ-a-phobe, until I found out he had kids at home and didn’t want to bring back my nasty illness. Totally understandable.
Right after he started working with me, we got hit with another disaster. A literal disaster. Spring-time in Saginaw brought heavy rains and potential flooding, so we evacuated our nursing home. We took our entire dietary crew over to an assisted living where we had about half of the residents and cared for them. Even though it was a completely stressful situation, it brought the entire team together… especially myself and my dietary manager. Not long after we returned back home from the evacuation, we had our re-survey. This time instead of spending the entire week with anxiety overwhelming me and crying my eyes out, I spent the week laughing and bravely facing the questions instead of hiding, because I had the support of my coworker.
We hosted several events this year at the nursing home which were all positive and turned out great. We won a couple awards for our desserts. We painted the kitchen and remodeled the dining room. We had other disasters, like an outbreak of the stomach flu and having half of the kitchen floor torn up to replace drains. And now we are ending the year preparing for annual survey again and celebrating the holidays with our residents.
As far as my personal life, Ken and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary and our 7 year dating anniversary. We had to buy two new (to us) cars – my minivan’s transmission died and we replaced it with a Honda Civic, and Ken totaled his car hitting a deer, which we replaced with a Chevy TrailBlazer. And we finally took a deep breath and dove head first in to trying to buy a home. Which… by the way… WE SUCCEEDED AT! Besides finally finding peace at my job and loving what I do, I think buying our first home together was the best thing that happened to us this year.
Wonderful things happened in the lives of our friends, too. Many of our friends and family members found out that they were pregnant or had babies this year, including three of my best friends, a family friend, a coworker, and our niece. Family and friends started new relationships or took the next step by getting engaged or getting married. I stood by my best friend at her wedding this year as her matron of honor.
So as this year comes to a close, I will spend the last few weeks of it with family and friends. Of course the stress of possible annual survey looms over me, but I am trying not to let it get to me. I am looking forward to trying to see my friends and spending time with my family and Ken’s family. I am mostly looking forward to celebrating the holidays in our new home. In 2014 I am looking forward to really making this house our home. I am looking forward to celebrating my husband’s 40 birthday. I am looking forward to seeing my friends and having them over to see my new home. I am looking forward to becoming an expert in my field and taking my job wherever I can. And most of all I am looking forward to learning new lessons about life and especially about myself.
Bring it on 2014…. BRING IT ON!