2012: The Unexpected Year

Hey, do you guys remember that time that I drove by an old farm house on a random Monday afternoon, and then 6 hours later bought it online, while sitting in a bar, without ever having walked inside? Yeah. That pretty much sums up my year.

Crazy. Unexpected. Fantastic. Exhausting.

To be completely honest, I have a hard time writing about it. I think how much random chance– how much risk, and providence, and blind faith (or maybe blind optimism)– got me to the place where I’m sitting right now, and this feeling of retroactive panic bubbles up in my chest. Because while I can’t imagine my life any other way, the truth is that this isn’t how I planned it. That’s difficult for someone who may or may not be a little bit of a control-freak (ahem) to accept– that the best thing that happened in my life this year wasn’t something I thought through, planned out, or expected. It wasn’t even something I had a whole lot of control over.

And– here’s another bit of truth for you– it simultaneously saved me and wrecked me. Any balance I’d found in my life in that short span of time between houses was washed away in a tidal wave of work. Of patching, and siding, and roofing, and trying not to think mean things about the appraiser. I embraced that hard, sweaty, can’t-think-about-anything-but-trying-to-move-half-a-barn-into-a-dumpster-by-myself work more than I might have, because it gave me a way to disconnect from the emotional intensity of my life over the last year.

I’m sure it comes as a huge shock that “emotional intensity” isn’t on the list of things I do well (unless you mean emotionally and intensely swearing at my tools when things don’t go my way,  in which case, yes, that I can do.) One of the big lessons for me this year was that if you disconnect from the difficult things in life, you’re also disconnecting yourself from the good things. In a lot of ways, I’ve been stronger, more productive, more capable, and more creative in 2012 than in any other year, but I’ve also felt oddly numb– as if I’m half-heartedly watching my life on a TV screen instead of actually living it.

I feel like it’s important to say this–to be honest about it–because, in general, we tend to edit the difficult and uncomfortable things out of our stories. And that’s okay. The beauty of being able to tell our own story is that we get to write it however we want, but what is most important to me  is that I’m being authentic.  I don’t want to glorify any part of my life, or make it seem like something it’s not. This year I threw my time, energy, and attention into the house, and some really wonderful things came from that, but I probably didn’t feel as much joy, happiness, and satisfaction from the work, because, in all honesty, I’ve kind of been avoiding myself as a person. It wasn’t about me, it was about the house, the next project, the 734 other things on my to-do list. Which isn’t to say it hasn’t been a wild and fantastic journey… I mean, you all know I’m having an absolute blast with this house, it’s just that our relationship has been a little one-sided this year.

Yes, I just admitted to having a dysfunctional relationship with my house. That’s normal.

The house and I are not going to couples counseling, but this has shaped my goal for 2013, which is to be more connected. More connected to myself, to the work, to the difficult and awesome things in my life, and especially to all of the truly fantastic people who support and inspire me, and make me laugh.

By all accounts this is going to be another big, crazy, challenging, fantastic year. It won’t be easy (and, really, that would be boring anyway) but here’s to the most difficult parts of 2013 also being the best parts.

10 Responses

  1. 2012 was not much of a banner year for me either. I am thinking seriously of tearing off the 2012 calendar and jumping forth to 2014. But this stage of life has taught me to NEVER wish away time… because for every beginning there is an end, and for every end we face there is a beginning: new people, new thoughts, continuations of relationships and so forth. There is always something good going on, we often do not see it or appreciate it. Thank God for his patience to help us all.

  2. I love your honesty, and the fact that you are self-reflective is certainly going to shape the direction you are headed. I am probably more your mother’s age, and I came to the DIY party a little late, but I’m loving it. I am tied into things in my life that I might not have chosen in a do-over. You have the chance to take life on your terms. And you seem to have the courage to do that, whether it’s roofing a barn or dealing with your emotions. You can do it Kit! I have faith in you. Happy 2013! You are going to kick its ass.

  3. Hey, Kit, thank you for being honest and transparent in your posts. 2012 brought many changes for me (apparently for many)… sometimes walking the hills and the valleys can be exhausting…sometimes exhilirating. Here’s to more mountaintops and less valleys in 2013! Just going on faith that we’re all up for it!

  4. I’ve had that being a spectator of my own life feeling before – it’s good to get back into it and looking out of your own eyes. All the best in 2013, and thanks again for bringing us along on your wild ride!

  5. Keep your chin up. 2012 was a hell of a year for a lot of people. I’ve been there too & it will get better! Make a plan – a list of 5 things to do to keep connected & tackle those just like you do for your house. It should make you feel more in control – (from one control freak to another!)

  6. Thanks for your honesty, your humor, your determination AND for sharing it all with your readers, both the good and the crazy. Looking forward to seeing all your ideas and progress in the new year.

  7. Discovered your blog today and have fallen in love. Spent the last hour stalking…ehhhm…getting to know you and your house through old posts. This comment is getting creppier every second. I apologize. Basically wanted to say that you rule and I can’t wait to spent the next year keeping up with you and your adventures!

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