After giving it quite a bit of thought, I came here to my little blog and gave a rather long but (I think) well-written answer.
Mostly I learned in 2013 that I am not a nurse, that I do not have any desire to be a nurse, nor should I be a nurse. Ever. But, I did my best -- as bad as my mother-in-law may have thought it was.
If you read the above repost from last December, you will see that, at the end of 2013, rather than come up with a whole list of resolutions I probably would not keep, I came up with a word to define me, my life (another Internet suggestion).
I decided My Word for 2014 was going to be "Resilience." I wasn't going to let life beat me down -- even though I was feeling it, even though it would have been so easy to give in and give up. I was determined to survive. And I did.
And I spent the rest of the year trying to remember who I was and how to be me. Just me. Believe it or not, that was much harder than it sounds. It took a long time.
So, as we turn the page to this new year -- 2015 -- let us answer the new question.
What did 2014 teach you?
2014 taught me that I am, indeed, resilient. That I have the ability to bounce back from quite a bit in life -- including, but certainly not limited to, losing a job I once loved, losing my identity, my independence, my place in life, and even betrayal by those who are the closest to me. And death.
That although we fought and cursed and sometimes hated one another, my mother-in-law and I had a bond. I knew how to take care of her when others didn't. We had a routine. It wasn't easy. It was never easy. But when we were forced to send her to the nursing home for those final weeks of her life, it was hard to let her go. I worried about her. And, when she was gone, I found myself missing her at the oddest moments.
That, I can actually be a nurse when I can be, when I must be, when there is no choice but to be. That I can deal with piss and poop and blood and stitches and the pain and anguish of those I love without losing my shit.
That the hardest thing in the world to do is to watch a medical team wheel your baby girl away from you and into an operating room. That that is the most helpless you will ever feel in your life, the most terrifying. Those 7 1/2 hours she spent on that operating table were the worst hours of my life.
But hearing her call out, "Mom?" when I finally got to her -- and finding out that she had been asking for me over and over -- is forever etched in my soul.
That my 13-year-old daughter is absolutely the strongest, toughest, baddest ass, most resilient kid I know in this world.
That my husband is kind of a big baby.
That there is life after baseball.
That you can stay married to the same person for 20 years and still be madly in love and still have mad chemistry.
That depression is a hard, real, ugly reality. Like a cloak, it envelops you before you hardly even know it has and sucks you in so hard you feel you may never get out. It is slow to lift, but when it does, the light is amazing.
That I have good friends. Good girl friends who like to have fun and drink with me. That I can drink way to much alcohol in one night and not only survive, but not even be hung over!
That there are people out there who do still enjoy and respect the work I do. That there are quite a few people who still think I'm good at it.
That being a freelance writer does not suck, but that not getting a steady paycheck does.
That a 401K-turned-IRA is not really for retirement.
That sometimes, trying something and doing something different can be exhilarating. That I am not just one thing. That I can indeed do other things.
That it feels really good to be the best candidate.
That commuting is a pain, but kind of fun at the same time.
That my old college campus, Loyola University New Orleans, is a beautiful place and it's really interesting to see all the young faces. But it certainly has changed a lot since I was there the first time.
That it feels really cool to be part of the "Faculty/Staff," even if temporarily.
That journalism and public relations are completely different worlds.
That it feels great to be a productive citizen again.
That I need a new wardrobe.
That my life, my career, my work choices are not over. I am not washed up. That I am not finished. That I still have value to the world, to the work place, to my fields of expertise. That I am still good at what I do. That, just because I don't have a steady, full time job (yet) doesn't mean I'm a useless human being.
That what I did for those 15 months was important and worthwhile and necessary for our family and for Jane.
That I am stronger than I ever knew I was.
So, now it's time to choose a new word for 2015 as I look forward to new opportunities and new possibilities and (perhaps maybe even a new job on the horizon).
I choose "Reawakened." That is what I am. I went into the depths of hell. I survived. I came out relatively unscathed. Now it's time to turn it on again and get busy.