How to process an outgoing year to prepare for the new. 2020 was a *DFSS

*Dumpster Fire Shit Show

I’m perpetually goal driven. I like lists and goals and I’m not a procrastinator. I do stuff. I make plans and I move forward in those.

If I say I want to run a marathon, I will. I’ve run 15 of them. If I say I want to learn about the stock market, I will. I started investing this year and I am doing that. I read, learn, I study, I grow. I pour myself in to my family and friends.

You can count on me. I am predictable. I am open. I like that about me. It’s helped me to accomplish a lot of things in life. I wouldn’t trade that about who I am.

Leslie Anderson Oregon
This is my idea of how life should go. It seems pretty simple…..enter DFSS

What all that doesn’t do for me is account for blow ups, screw ups, mistakes, failures, weaknesses, insecurities, and the soft parts. The vulnerabilities. Those have been the lessons I’ve learned this year.

1. Reflect on how the year went generally. That’s easy for me for 2020, it was a DFSS, remember? This year has probably been the most difficult year of my life. That’s saying something because I’ve been through a lot over the years. I think most people approaching mid-life have a rich and full story to tell with ups, downs and everything in between. My life has been colorful. Come over to have coffee sometime and I’ll be glad to fill you in on some of the roads I’ve traveled and what I’ve learned. I’m an open book. Ask me anything over coffee and you’ll get the straight scoop. I’ve faced a lot of things in life that are really hard. I know it probably seems on the outside like it’s all rainbows and roses, because I have a wonderful life and family. Spoiler alert: it’s not always. I have hard times too.

The theme of my life is breaking generational patterns – is there an award for that? No? It takes hard work, grit, resiliency, tears, and a bunch of gratefulness, healing, and love. I don’t think it’ll ever be complete, but that’s my journey. Couple that with my own humanity and my life is sometimes my very own DFSS.

If you want instructions on how to turn your life into a DFSS, I’ve got you covered. I could specialize in it.

– me
Coffee is my love language. Come over for espresso, Nespresso, French press, tea, or a tea latte and a good talk. I’ve got you covered. 🙂

This year I’ve faced a lot of personal trials. Lots of them. Lots and lots and lots of them. I’ve been pushed to dig deeper than I ever have before. Fortunately I haven’t been personally affected by the Covid sickness and I’m grateful for that. No one in my family has either. We are blessed.

2. Think about the specifics of the past year. What did you learn from the hard things? In March and April when everything shut down, I was very much alone. I was facing opposition on literally every side and the streets were empty. My office was empty. There was no church, no gyms, no movies, and all my friends were working at home for the most part and I felt like a fish out of water.

I had some personal stuff going on that was tough for me. Maybe it was a melt down? That’s it. It was a melt down of epic proportions. Or a blow up or a freak out. Whatever you want to call it. It was hard times and total DFSS. That coffee invite is open if you want to hear more about this too. Happy to share if it would be helpful for you.

An actual picture of me in the DFSS. You’re welcome.

In the midst of my melt down, I poured myself in to running. It’s what I knew. It felt good. It felt right. Running has always been healing for me and I connect very much with the outdoors. Running is spiritual for me and it’s been my friend over the past 10 years. It was so soothing to me. It helped me to listen to music and pray and reflect and just sort through things. I knew this was a recipe for healing. Except that didn’t last long because there was a whole other chapter that was getting ready to play out.

My happy place – the outdoors and running.

In May, I broke my leg. Too much running. Ugh. It was so stupid and ridiculous. The stability I craved from something, somewhere, someone was gone. I knew it was injured the minute it happened. My leg felt bad and I knew it was a different pain than I had felt before. I was in denial for a few days, but then the medical results confirmed what I already knew in my heart. It was a stress fracture. Stress fractures are notoriously hard to heal and usually take months of rest and rehab.

Good times.

3. Think about how you coped and overcame trials. If you’re reading this, you DID overcome trials because you’re here to tell the tale. I ended up in a boot for 8 weeks during the late spring and summer and I was missing the best running months of the year. I knew that God was trying to get my attention. I knew He was saying, ‘hey, focus on Me and what really matters’. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to run. I wanted something to feel normal and familiar. This was truly such a blow to my ego. I had to embrace the hardship though because what choice did I have? Somehow I lacked the power to heal a broken leg!!

I used my time wisely. I spent hours with friends and God and watching tv, ha ha! Hello, Desperate Housewives, all the documentaries I could get my hands on, and Mad Men. My little cat Lucky kept me company. She was such a good companion to me. I loved having her present and she and I bonded so much during that time. Love her!!

My little buddy Lucky. If you don’t have a comfort cat, I highly recommend it. Actually, I highly recommend several comfort cats. They are experts in DFSS repair.

3. If you had a DFSS year like I did, you’ll have a lot of reflection time on coping with trials. Embrace it! Ha ha 🙂 About 6 weeks after that injury I had another unfortunate and difficult health issue that hit me out of the blue in July.

I was dealing with sinus infections and it seemed pretty simple to get some antibiotics. People do it all the time!! I was being proactive with my health. I actually was proud of myself for going to the doctor because I normally put it off. Just ask Jason what it’s like to deal with medical issues with me. I’m a nightmare. I’ll go to the doctor of my own free will, but I never actually follow through on their instructions. The one time I did and boom, anaphylaxis. I’m never making that mistake again!! Joking – kinda.

It was hard facing near death that night. When I went to the ER I was still in the boot for my leg. It was a hot mess. Ugh. That night was the worst, it gives me anxiety just thinking about it. It was so scary and unfortunate. I’m thankful for quick medical care and my husband.

It was a humbling night all the way around. It was painful and uncomfortable and scary. I was having panic attacks on top of everything else going on and because of some of the medicines they were giving me, which cause anxiety anyway.

The doctor noticed I had on a 26.2 necklace and asked me if I ran marathons. It made me so sad. I just looked at him with a sad smile and said that I used to and pointed to the boot on my leg. I felt very small. I felt like a shell of myself. I am tough and strong, remember? I do stuff. I don’t want to need help. I like to do things myself. DFSS 2020 had struck again.

This stupid issue sent me in to anaphylaxis twice. I spent days after that waking up with hives in my mouth and all over my body, followed by asthma attacks, which I never had in my life prior to this. It was miserable. I couldn’t really eat anything without a histamine reaction for the next couple of months. I was already stressed and depressed and now this seemed like the final death knell to any sense of normalcy I had. It brought me to the end of myself. I have had months of physical recovery. Actually, I’m still recovering. It’s left me with some severe food allergies. My mouth gets sensitive sometimes for no reason and my throat swells off and on. It’s hard. I hate it.

The whole thing left me with a lot of anxiety because it is scary and when the symptoms start, and it makes me wonder if it’ll go to anaphylaxis again. That’s improving too and I’m more able to live and enjoy life, but it’s taken serious work to get to that place.

4. Can you learn from and being grateful for the hard times and DFSSs? It’s key in moving forward to a new year. I learned that day that I do need help. Lots of it. Jason was there for me when I was sick. He is a good, honorable, and amazing man. He has been with me for much of my life and he showed me again that day how much he truly loves me. He sat with me and we prayed together. He comforted me. He listened and he helped me to be comfortable. He encouraged me to rest. He didn’t have to be there for me, but he was. He was 100% all in.

In the days that followed, we spent hours talking and connecting and I was able to be needy and broken, and he was there. We had so much time to really listen and learn. After being married for such a long time we needed it. We’ve needed every second of it. We are both grateful for that time, although it’s such a cruel contradiction that it came because of this stupid allergy. God knew what He was doing though. All those hours and days were instrumental in healing the DFSS melt down for both us. We cherish those memories even though they were born of great cost to both of us.

5. Did you grow and change? Are there things you’d like to take with you in the new year? Anything you want to leave behind? Do that! You have permission. The late summer, fall, and now winter, have brought lots of healing on all fronts. I’m the same person, but different fundamentally. I am more free, open, and humbled. I am having more fun in life and connecting with things I love, like writing, reading, and being with loved ones and friends. I’m pursuing personal growth and learning a lot about boundaries and relationships and vulnerability and intimacy. It feels good. My needs are being met and I’m working hard to meet the needs of people I love, particularly my best friend and partner, Jason.

I am grateful for every single moment of this difficult year. I have remembered that I am a soft and caring person. I’m deeply emotional, but I usually hide it well. I don’t want to hide it anymore. My soul has needed attention for a long time. When I finally allowed myself to be vulnerable in safe places, it has made all the difference.

6. Start looking forward to the new year. But don’t overthink it. Be open to the fact that there will be things that are not in your plans. I have no idea what 2021 will bring. I do know that if I made it through this DFSS year and all the trials that came my way, I can do anything with God’s help. I don’t plan to waste one day of my life going forward. I hope I can get healthy again and get back to running. If not, that will be fine. Ive accepted that I’m starting over.

7. Do the things you dream about. Step out of the comfort zone and try. Even if you are dealing with a DFSS, you have the ability. I promise you. Just start. Start small and stay committed.

I have plans for 2021 that I’m looking forward to, more on those another day. For now, I reflect on this year and all it has taught me. I am grateful, humbled, and secure. I am learning to be intentional. That’s been huge for me. Intentional might just be my theme word for 2021. All things have seasons and I truly pray that this difficult season is almost over. I’ve got still a lot of things on my plate, but the days are bringing with them clarity, understanding, and moving away from things and people that are not positive and beneficial for me and my family.

So there’s my recap on the year. Glad it’s over, thank you, next, and I’ll be grabbing these lessons with me going forward to a new and hopefully non-DFSS chapter.

If any of this is helpful, please take it. Leave the rest, and I know for me, I’ll be grateful for this year for the rest of my life because it made me new again. Love, Leslie

One thought on “How to process an outgoing year to prepare for the new. 2020 was a *DFSS

  1. My wife is an amazing human being, I have known this since the day I laid eyes on her, I am so thankful, so thankful that the Lord put us together. When you know someone at their core, and we both show up, connection can be limitless. I love the words and actions of being intentional. ❤️


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