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Adios 2013.

2013 was overall a pretty fantastic year…I watched/helped so many friends get married, spent quality time with friends and family we don’t see often, continued to grow this little business– and even started a new one, and even decided to sell our house and move on to the next project (still to come…).  Here is a picture collage of some of my favorite moments from 2013.

amy stanley 2013

BUT, as it always seems, the rough patches somehow overshadow the good parts.  In the middle of December, I promised consecutive Christmas posts…and failed to follow through (I knew I jinxed it from the beginning–never making promises like that again!!) because of some pretty big personal issues.  On Dec 14th, my little brother’s 23rd birthday, he was attacked and sent to the ICU for 3 days with 4 skull fractures and a brain bleed.  He’s doing better now and his mandatory 24 hour supervision is finally being loosened but it was definitely a scary couple of days.  THEN, that same week, I went to the doctor for a MRI (that cost me as much as a mortgage payment) on my arm that’s been bothering me for a year.  The day after the MRI, the doctor called and asked me to come in as soon as possible to go over the test results–which sounded ominous from the start.  I went in and the nurse seemed frazzled, explaining that it was just “one of those days” and the doctor would be in shortly.  As soon as my typically goofy jokester doctor walked in straight-faced, I knew something was up.  He immediately pulled up my MRI images and said “I think it’s cancer. A rare muscle cancer.”  I, of course, thought he was joking so he repeated himself and then showed me these sweet MRI images of the mass in my arm.

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He said that he had consulted a radiologist and an oncologist in the area and they all thought the same thing, so I should go see a specialist at MCV as soon as possible.  He continued with details and information but I essentially zoned out (so much so that my mom had to come right back up to the office to have him explain everything again).  The following week and a half (Christmas week) went by as a blur of funeral-planning, google search diagnosing, lingering hugs, anxiety medicine induced coma naps, and lots and lots and lots of spontaneous crying.  When I finally got to head to MCV to see the specialist, my husband, mom, and aunt all came with me.  It took the doctor about 10 seconds to diagnose it as a “textbook” BENIGN tumor.  He confirmed it with radiologists and oncologists while we were there so that my wandering pessimistic mind would be at ease…and then we left with a few more wrinkles and gray hairs, but with the biggest damn smiles.

I tell you these stories as a preface to the recent revelations about my life and my resolutions for the next year (and hopefully many more to come).  As I laid around “dying,” I realized a few pretty important things…things that I am going to try to fix or live by starting now.

1.  I HAVE to stop being so pessimistic. It’s toxic and a waste of time and energy.  If something bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen–so why waste precious time worrying about it.  This will be the hardest thing for me to correct…

2. I want kids.  I couldn’t imagine the thought of leaving my husband and family alone without a little piece of me still running around on this earth (which sounds extremely self-centered, but I don’t mean it to be).  

3. I dwell on things, over-analyze things, and stress myself and other people out.  There has to be a way to correct this–any suggestions, let me know.

4. I need to start taking care of myself.  No, it’s not necessary to be at the gym every day of the week.  No, that donut will not actually make me happy in the long run.  Yes those vegetables are vile, but I need to eat them.

5. I need to be more present in life.  I am constantly worrying about or looking forward to what’s next, and not actually living in the moment.  I am going to make an effort to do things I would normally turn down, spend more time loving the people I love, 

Remember, you don’t have to have a new year to make resolutions or changes in your life…because that life isn’t guaranteed–start as soon as you realize there’s room for improvement.  You may have little failures 3 days in…but start again.  Those little failures are teaching you lessons and believe it or not, you’re learning from each one.  This is a good life.  Be happy!!

Thank you guys so much for your support this year.  I am excited to see what this 2014 has in store for the Stanley’s and for Style by Design…and I hope you will stick around to find out!  Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve–I will catch up with you in 2014!!

XOXO

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