Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Challenges

It's Ten Thousand Questions Day! This week at Ten Thousand Questions, the theme was Highlights of 2012; I intend to answer the five questions today (in five posts, since I am still aiming for 100 posts this year...).

Beginning with Monday's question: What was your biggest challenge this year?

Well. 2012 had quite a few challenges. From December 2011 into January 2012, I spent my first Christmas and New Year's away from my family, staying for a week (or more?) with O.'s family in Florida. We also had to find a subletter and move in the first half of January. February brought the mundane adventures of learning my way around the grocery and hardware stores in the new town.

March and April were filled with failed attempts to hang curtains, as well as the acquisition of two adorable rabbits who presented ridiculous furry problems. In May I forced myself to drive in New Jersey for the first time (during a torrential downpour, as it happened; I arrived 30 minutes late to the vet appointment).

In June (or late May?) I spent a week away from O. at Basileia. That joyful week, though, confronted me with the fact that I felt more confident facing new people and a new situation without O. than with him, and that it was easier for me to keep my relationship with God in good order when I was away, on my own. A new friend advised me, sternly, not to think about going back, but to think about moving forward. Her words echoed in my mind when I got home to O. and confessed my discoveries to him.

Somewhere in there O. fasted for seven days--a miserable and worried week for me. Plenty of marital challenges this year, definitely.

July's trip to Turkey was accompanied by the joys and frustrations of spending many hours of the day in close quarters with relatives on both sides.

August was the beginning of a new job with our church, which has challenged my communication skills and my ability to assert my preferences. That's actually been the major struggle recently, although the conflict of a few weeks ago seems to be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. I just hope our negotiated plans work out.

September began a babysitting job, which is mostly fun. Disciplining a three year old and changing his diapers definitely challenges me, though.

Oh, September. Suddenly it all comes flooding back: L. and J. and their two cats moving in with us due to a housing crisis for them; our failure to establish expectations at the beginning of their stay, which stretched for two months; our refrigerator unwontedly crowded with bottles of salad dressing and mustard and a dozen other things; three jars of peanut butter in the overflowing pantry; limited bathroom access; cat allergies; the rabbits stressed out; practically no alone time with O. And meanwhile, O. gradually deciding to quit his job, hopefully leave the tech field altogether, and strike off in a bold new direction (though just what direction was unclear). Thank God we were already in counseling at that point!

October was more of the same.

November started with a hurricane, during which O. gave his two weeks' notice, with my ambivalent consent. During a non-trivial portion of that week, the atmosphere inside the house matched the winds and storms outside. L. and J. found a new place to live at last and moved out just after the storm. Then Thanksgiving, then December, and Christmas, and here I am at the end of the year.

Conclusion: 2012's biggest challenge, by far, was sharing the house with a stressed-out couple, two highly allergenic cats, and occasionally a very energetic five year old girl--for two monthsWould I do it again? Maybe. But I would plan it a heck of a lot better and not be shy about asking for changes, because, by gosh, it's my house. And I would not harbor the cats for more than a week.

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