Thursday, December 15, 2022

Sara and Melissa...Look Back at 2022

We've been running a column series (for over two years now!) to get more personal with our readers. This month, we're taking a look back at this year, in whichever way that means to us. 

We're always open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our previous columns here, in case you missed them. 

Melissa Amster:

When I look back at this year, I think of the New Year's resolutions post we did in January. I actually accomplished a bunch of the items from that post! 

I read both the books that I had made a goal to read this past year. You can find my review of House Rules here and my review of 11/22/63 here. In 2023, I'd like to read the following three books:

1. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
2. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
3. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

I am completely caught up on Riverdale now and am eagerly awaiting season seven! While I didn't get caught up on The Goldbergs, it's because that show majorly jumped the shark. (Don't look at me like Riverdale didn't...but it's not the same thing.) I got into a bunch of new (or new-to-me) shows this year, as well. Here are my top five for the year, which obviously includes Riverdale

1. Riverdale
2. The White Lotus (I just got into this one recently and can't get enough!)
3. The Sex Lives of College Girls (Such a fun series and it makes me miss college.)
4. Heartstopper (Based on the bestselling graphic novels by Alice Oseman. So sweet and heartwarming!)
5. Virgin River (My summer binge. I can't wait for season five!)

There are also a bunch of shows that came back this year and I was happy to catch up with them. Most recently, Manifest and Dead to Me.

I saw a movie in the theater. I treated myself to Where the Crawdads Sing on my birthday and it was really good! I showed my kids My Big Fat Greek Wedding and showed Empire Records to my older son, as well. There are a bunch of movies I just haven't gotten around to seeing and hope to check out soon. I definitely want to see Clerks III, as I love Kevin Smith movies. I also want to see The Fablemans

Aside from that, it's been an interesting year full of ups and downs. I am pleased to share that I've been going to live theater productions again. I'm even going to one this week (a local professional production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast). I'll be sharing more about my year in review at my personal blog at the end of this month, so hop on over there and sign up for the mailing list so you don't miss out!

Sara Steven:

I used to include snapshot letters with my Christmas cards, so my family and friends could see what I’d been up to from year to year. I’d focus on the kids and their accomplishments, or what they were involved in, and my husband and how things were going with his job or any extra curricular activities. I’d mention what I was up to, as well, often coinciding with the rest of my family and what they were doing. But after several years of sending out the letters, I decided to take a break from it. A really long break. A little bit because of social media allowing an outlet into my life. But more so, while dealing with wrapping presents and decorating and purchasing said presents, and going to holiday parties or hosting my own, I’d decided sitting down and trying to remember everything we’d all done from the past year was a lot of work. It was easier to send out the card and leave it at that. 

This post feels like the snapshot letters of yore. This year, though, has been full of ups and downs for me. 

Early in the new year, my dad found out that he had stage III papillary thyroid cancer. He also had stage II squamous cell carcinoma. If it weren’t for the thyroid cancer, the squamous cell cancer would have never been found, so even in the worst scenarios can come a silver lining. He is doing well now, after several sessions of chemotherapy and radiation. But we were all worried for him and rallied around him for several months, while his wife, my stepmom, became his caregiver and really went above and beyond for him. It’s true that having a support system really can make such a difference, and I think my dad had a great support system. He has always been active and healthy, and he’s back to a place where he boasts 15,000+ steps a day some days, which is just the way he likes it.

In the spring, I graduated with honors from Arizona State University. I had an expectation of myself in my younger days that college would never be for me, but I found out that I excelled there. I kind of miss it. I think being around the younger crowd and interacting with so much exuberance and zest for the future rubbed off on me, and I really appreciated that. 

Early fall, I found out that a friend of mine had passed away. It was unexpected, and I am still in shock over it. We’d been close for several years, later becoming estranged, but the pain of losing her has not been diminished by those circumstances. I still don’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it. I haven’t fully grieved over it, either. I don’t feel like I’ve had the space to do that, or the time. I don’t know if I will ever feel like I have had enough time to grieve for her. One of my fondest memories of her had been our time working together in property management. Men Without Hats played on the radio, back when people actually listened to radios, and we danced and as she put it, “whooped and hollered” to “The Safety Dance” song; it quickly became “our song.” She was a lover of music and had excellent taste, but she let that one slide, just for me. I know she’s clapping right along with me when I listen to our song, laughing and grinning from ear to ear. 

Not long after that, I gained my first job after not working for nearly a decade. I’d been a stay-at-home parent forever, and then a full-time college student, so there have been some adjustments for me in getting back out there, and trying to navigate the working world all over again. I feel like I’m getting there and getting used to a working environment again, and it’s nice to hear praise because I tend to get really hyper-focused on things, which bodes well for my reporting job. 

There have been some even keeled days in there, too, which has been a nice change of pace from the new and unexpected experiences I’ve had this year. My family is doing well. We’re about to celebrate Christmas all together in my home, and I always love to do that. It’s my favorite time of year. Some days, the past hits me hard and I dwell on it; the death of a loved one. The change that can happen in an instant. Venturing out into something new and at times, scary. But my loved ones, my own support system, becomes my constant that helps me navigate through that, and I really appreciate it. It makes me cherish what I’ve had, and what I have now.  

How did 2022 treat you?

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