Highs and Lows of 2019


Yeah, so I said I wouldn’t be posting about goals for the year, but I didn’t say I wouldn’t pause to reflect a bit. I finally have a few minutes to actually do that, so I’m going to answer some questions originally shared by my friend (and brilliant writer) Teresa Pitman. I will also add some cheerful flower photos to prove it’s still colorful, at least among the tiny flowers outside our former church building!

What made 2019 unforgettable for you?

The most unforgettable thing is that other than one sentence when we ran into each other in the summer, my older son didn’t speak to me in 2019. I’m still at a loss about what the reason is, but I’ll never forget 2019 for that very unexpected turn of events. I honestly thought we had a good relationship and could discuss any issues that came up. It’s a mother’s nightmare, but dwelling on it and going through possible scenarios won’t help. I’ll keep waiting and sending love.

Common storksbill

What did you most enjoy doing in 2019?

There’s no one answer to this one! I crammed a lot of good stuff into the year. Here are some of my favorite things:

  • Riding on Apache and exploring the ranch
  • Playing with the dogs
  • Walking in Austin and at the ranch
  • Attending book club
  • Learning from Master Naturalists
  • Writing
  • Brainstorming in all my jobs
  • Traveling to beautiful places
  • Spending time with my family
Henbit deadnettle

Who or what am I most grateful for?

I am most grateful that I have learned to be gentle with myself, even learning to speak kindly to myself with my inner voice. That has been huge.

What was my biggest “win” in 2019?

A huge “win” has been learning to stop comparing myself with others and viewing life in terms of winning and losing. How things come out in the end isn’t what matters to me at this point in life. I’d rather concentrate on where I am now and what I can learn from my current situation. That’s winning!

Birds-eye speedwell

What did I read or watch in 2019 that had the most impact?

This year, I read a lot that affected me; much more than usual. I really wrapped myself up in nature, and after reading Where the Crawdads Sing, Darwin Comes to Town, The Secret Wisdom of Nature, and Unnatural Texas (among others), my appreciation of the complexity and fragility of our ecosystems grew immensely. I just want to go hug my planet while I still can.

The thing I watched that impacted me most is the Finding Your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. show on PBS. I have really been touched by the complex stories of people’s families and what they go through. Anita and I get completely absorbed by each episode. I have learned so much history from this show!

Common lantana

What did I worry about the most?

I’m working on not worrying, but I’m human. In addition to worrying about my son, I worried about the society I live in. So much is beyond my control, but I’m really concerned about how people treat each other and the amount of hatred I see. I have no idea how it will turn out, but I will try to be an example of someone who is kind, honest, and will listen to other points of view, without allowing myself to be abused or ridiculed.

What was my biggest regret in 2019 and why?

See #1. And it’s because I haven’t been able to do anything to improve the situation.

Sunset at the Hermits” Rest, and Harvey

What was one thing about me that changed in 2019?

After years of reflection, meditation, therapy, and reading, I realized one day that I felt good. Other people’s issues were no longer weighing me down. I wasn’t drowning in unrealistic expectations about myself. I wasn’t annoyed about things I can’t change in other people or situations. I still have mostly the same work, family, friends, and social situations, but I’m okay.

And if I’m not okay, I can look at the situation and figure out a way to make things better. Suddenly, my negativity has floated away. Goodbye!

My precious doggies exploring the spring water.

What surprised me over the past year?

I was surprised, in a good way, at how well my younger son and his partner have coped with their situations. They had some real challenges and have taken responsibility for their part in them, grown stronger, and matured a lot. I am proud of them.

I’m also surprised that I took on some leadership positions, after swearing off them for a decade or so. It must be all that positivism.

If I could go back to January 2019, what advice would I give myself?

I’d tell myself to figure out something was going on with my older son a LOT sooner. I’d also tell myself to enjoy the ride, because you are in for a very educational year with so much good coming out of it.

Okay, your turn.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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