At almost this exact time last year, I remember telling myself that 2017 was going to be an amazing year. I thought about all of the projects I wanted to finally get completed and how they were going to change my life. I was going to get back into a gym routine. There were several ambitions I had planned in my head. However, 2017 kind of took me by surprise. What I thought was going to be a fantastic year, turned out to be probably the most challenging year I have had yet in my life.
Since around the age of 30-31, my health started to change. I became aware that I have an underactive thyroid and I was experiencing a lot of acid reflux issues. My doctor started me on medications for both of those issues which I was not thrilled about. All of the sudden I was taking two medications daily when prior to that I would take a Tylenol maybe once every other month. The next several years I would spend trying to figure out what was causing those issues. During 2016 I seemed to have figured out what was causing the acid reflux and managed to somewhat fix the problem without the continued medication. I was feeling pretty decent as 2017 approached.
The year even started out pretty good with a lot of new business coming in. I had a good feeling that January was giving me a good idea of what the rest of the year would look like. My wife and I had been working on our adoption paperwork and the only remaining items were my blood test and an in-home study before we could enter child search.
I typically have my labs ran every year but I had not had labs drawn in a few years. My labs ended up coming back with a few abnormalities. Nothing life-threatening, but I was not expecting the results I received. Up to this point, I thought that I was gaining distance from health issues, but there were lab results showing me otherwise.
Off and on during my 30’s I have felt kind of defeated in the area of my health. I was never battling anything major but the constant acid reflux and bloating really affected me emotionally because I generally didn’t feel like myself. With these new lab results, I ended up depressed and anxious about my current situation. I couldn’t get myself to the gym because I didn’t feel good both physically or emotionally.
Parenting got more challenging this year as my kids grew and become more independent thinkers. My struggle is mostly with finding the right balance as a parent. My oldest is now in second grade and I am starting to see that he holds in his emotions as much as a seven-year-old can. He has struggles and has not come to me with them. I want my kids to know that they can come to me with anything. The challenge is figuring out how to do that within the constraints of their personalities. This will be a lifelong process but it was tough this year because it was the first time I became aware of it.
My marriage also got really hard this year. This is my ninth year of marriage and my wife and I have discovered a lot about each other this year which started with me feeling the need to really open up in some areas. We have never been good communicators and that has allowed a lot of assumptions to build up. There are also a lot of things we found we have resented each other for that would not have been a big deal at all had we just communicated about it in the first place. We started counseling which has been really good for me. I have always left the past in the past but I am realizing that it is hard to understand why I am the way that I am without analyzing the past. It has been an interesting journey this year looking at myself in this way. It has not been easy and it has led to more depression and anxiety. As a married couple, counseling is helping us become better communicators and we have never been so close to being on the same page with everything. It’s truly liberating.
With all of that said, my business has seen ups and downs this year too. The year started off really good but took a dive during the summer. I think that since summer vacation was shorter for most schools in this area most people went off radar through summer. Once school was back in, I was flooded with new business and was once again busy. What made it tough is that I did not expect it to go the way that it did. On top of that, I did no marketing for photography so I did not have much photography business to supplement the lack of clients for Hill Media Group. Because the first half of the year had been so busy and stressful, I did not have any time at all to work on my side projects, so they suffered a lot. I lost a lot of ground that I had with my side income.
There were some great moments in 2017. We had some fun trips with the kids, despite our camping gear getting stolen. There were memories made in 2017 that rise above the difficulties.
Looking back at 2017, it would be easy to call it a bad year. It was a tough year and not what I originally expected it to be. Regardless, I have learned a lot and am far enough removed from it all to know that 2017 was actually a pretty good year. Just because I felt that the year had defeated me doesn’t mean that it was bad. I am sitting here a few days into 2018 writing this and thinking about how much more aware of things I am. Everything that happened last year has made me a better husband, father, friend, and business owner. It was not easy by any means, but building character never is.
Going into 2018 I have some decent momentum behind me. I dealt with everything that happened in 2017 and am wiser because of it. I plan to continue to invest in myself in 2018 because if I am not healthy I cannot be the kind of man I want to be for those in my life. I can’t let anything that afflicted me in 2017 or the years prior determine who I am in 2018 and going forward. I am excited about this year, not because I think it’s going to be an easier year, but because I believe it will lead to more growth.
How did your 2017 go?