I like how the new year has lots of curves in it… that 7 from last year was so full of angles… am looking forward to the non-angular, very cylindrical year of 2008. Happy New Year, everyone :)
My 865 mile drive to Baltimore, Maryland (just outside of Washington, DC) was uneventful just before Christmas – got there in record time, including 5 stops and a 20 minute nap… 13.5 hours! Got to spend a great deal of time with old friends, visited with my mom, brother, and father, and was able to take a step back from my life… did a bit of thinking while I was gone – will share some later.
The 865 mile from Baltimore, however, was a bit of an adventure… complete with 1 flat tire, lots and lots of road construction & detours & accidents/traffic jams which gave me at least a 2 hour journey delay, and nearly running out of gas in the middle of a rural state – called my emergency roadside assistance people via cell phone while I’m driving in the middle of nowhere on New Year’s Eve, hoping and doing a little bit of praying for a gas station… wondering how I’ll look back on this situation the next morning (laugh? cry? will i have even arrived home yet?!). I cried for about 8 seconds – definitely more than 5 seconds, but surely less than 10 seconds. Luckily they (the emergency roadside assistance people) told me to keep driving and they’d meet me where I stopped – the car was running on fumes… but at last there was hope on the horizon, and rain was able to fill up her gas tank with glee at the last moment. G-d is gracious, isn’t HE? I think I rang in the New Year literally turning lights on/off in my house, feeling thankful to be home, finally, after a very long day.
I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions (NYR), as NYR are often hollow (yet full of hope) but since they’re categorized as a NYR it’s rather easy to discard them, isn’t it? I find it better (for me) to make changes when they need to be made… resolve to change when the time is right, not when everyone else is doing it so why don’t I do it too? That being said, I had a great deal of time to think recently.
I used to sing… loved it. All through school, even college, I sang in a choir. It was part of me. …but there are only so many electives you can take in school… and we’ve gotta focus on studies & the future, eh? When I moved here 8 years ago, I joined the church choir – it was good, well respected, they worked on beautiful pieces… except the director was a tyrant, and he took much of the fun out of it – when I realized my joy was diminishing because of his temper, I quit the choir, citing work commitments, etc. as why I had to leave. It made me sad, but was the right decision. I listen to NPR (national public radio) in the car and at home – focuses on news & news programming. I’ve been making an extra effort to listen to music recently, too. Two years ago I realized how quietly music had escaped from my world, and I sought after joining another choir… however my efforts were not very fruitful. There are professional choirs, men’s choirs (which I cannot join) and women’s choirs (although they make lovely music, they lack beautiful male voices), and church choirs (which means I need to like the church to attend regularly, and I haven’t quite found a fit yet). I will once again be open and seek other opportunities to sing – I’ve not a solo voice – mine was made to sing with others. But it used to bring me such joy to participate in making beautiful sounds.
While visiting with friends and family over the holiday last week, I realized I have no history in my current city. No old friends, no “remember whens”, no history except that which I started 8 years ago. This is the longest I’ve ever lived in one town, and in some ways I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed… But at the same time, 8 years have passed and although I’ve grown in countless ways, I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be at 31. In some ways I feel very young and stupid, while in others I feel wise – and wistful about the past 8 years… the past 12 years, the past 14 years. I don’t want to waste any more time.
Why is it that I often feel so separate from people? Am I looking for something in the wrong place, perhaps? I do not know… I was on my own when I moved here, and worked very hard to reach out, meet people, make friends… and I realize I’m kind of in the same place as I was when I arrived in 2000.
So the question remains: what am I gonna do about it?
There are some barriers holding me back… I’m beginning to realize 1) these barriers exist and 2) I have the ability to release myself from them.
Having moved here as a young adult, knowing no one, making acquaintances at work, joining a church & choir, etc. I was open to meeting people a variety of different ways… and was around at the begging wave of “Internet dating” (creating a profile about myself, and viewing others’ profiles, contacting each other, and eventually meeting if there’s a connection). At that time it was still a bit taboo, but now it’s often how people are meeting. My brother actually met his wife online (although he didn’t want to share exactly *how* they met – she told us after they were engaged). Anyway, my point to this is: it’s all about your profile and your photograph. I’ve met some interesting people, had some unsavory experiences, but I’ve also learned a lot. I have not been meeting the right kind of people recently, which is why I’m taking a step back now. And I’m not going to join activity groups in hopes of meeting someone special… but do hope to expand my social circle.
When I arrived home from my long trip on New Years Eve, I was so glad to see my cute brick house on the long street… to step inside and see familiar rugs and furniture and candlesticks and bits of clutter… but here’s the thing: I don’t have to stay here forever. I can enjoy my house now, take good care of it, update and rehab parts of it… but it’s not necessarily my forever house.
I bought it with the hope of a heart’s promise: to fill it with a family. But that has taken something away from me, too – the fact that I’m nowhere near that now, I need to release myself from that expectation, enjoy where I am now, and take steps to have an ever more enriched life.
So – in the next few weeks I will take some measurements and get started on making updates and changes to my home. Because why not start now? Then I can enjoy it longer.
Within these 8 years, I started a new job & hated it (as most 1st year employees do), joined a church, lived on a very small budget, purchased a condo (flat), experienced joys of home ownership, became very involved in a church, gained a few friendships, gained confidence in my profession, twice presented at state conferences, broke up with my church and small group because I could no longer be a part of that organization, gained additional experience at work by moving to new areas within the same city (I go to wherever they’ve needed me), dated a handful of times (one of which was abusive – still wrapping my brain around how I could let myself get involved with that one), pulled back when my social circumstances were unsafe and became even more comfortable with being on my own… I’ve pulled myself out of debt (may go back into debt to pay for additional schooling… jury is still out on that one), made some good financial decisions these past few years, have gained a diverse professional experience, also while dealing with anxiety, depression, heavy medications, doctors (and one very bad doctor), weight loss, weight gain, and inertia.
But on the other hand, I’ve moved to a new city and survived. I’ve pulled myself up and become a skilled clinician – am respected by my colleagues, and my clients make progress. I’m a homeowner… Have maintained a positive relationship with my parents (while living so far away) and still have dear friends from college (who live on the east coast – just nowhere near me at the moment). I write thank you notes, enjoy learning new crafts (like crochet, making mosaics, painting, making jewelry, etc.), and live near a terrific bike trail.
Nothing is perfect. Things rarely turn out how we “plan” or envision them to be years from now.
So the question *still* remains: what am I gonna do about it?
Part of the reason I haven’t made definite plans to visit Europe (and Australia when I’m able!) yet is because of my weight. I don’t want people judging me as one of those “fat Americans” when we meet for the first time – I want to have a joyful trip, free from judgment (which, i guess, is defeatist since I’m an American… ha. Perhaps I’ll research a city in Canada and pretend to be from there instead – might make travels easier).
I gained over 50 pounds in less than a year when a (bad) doctor prescribed something for my depression/anxiety. He was supposed to monitor my weight – I thought it was me, all my fault, I wasn’t doing anything differently, but I must have done something wrong …very slowly… it was a very confusing time. I felt so bad about myself… After I realized how everything fit together, I fired him, got a much better doctor, and was weaned off of those bad drugs. I have about 70 pounds to lose… I recently lost about 20, but think I may have regained a few… so I still have work to do in this area of my life.
I’m drug free now – no more drug cocktails, no more sleeping aids, no more caffeine (maybe a bit), no more naps (well, sometimes)… and I’m much happier – much more present, much more myself. Thank goodness. Took long enough.
So – now here I am, most of my family and friends are on the east coast, I’ve got this beautiful home, I’m not satisfied with my job and am wondering how I can change it to make it a better fit for me (after talking to my boss there are very few options for me next year). I live a fairly solitary life, unless I work very hard.. I ‘ve cultivated a variety of relationships, but they’re more superficial, not “everyday” type of people (does that make sense?) so I can have what I need on a “sometimes” basis… but I don’t have friends for everyday wear. Am I ok with this? Does this work for me? I don’t know. Perhaps for the short term… but I’ve already put in so many years in this style – when will my time be up? When will I need more?
Again I’m am considering a transfer – a move. Back to the east coast. But am I seeking a geographic solution to this dilemma? Is that fair – to me? But people do it all the time – transfer. I’ve already done a few searches for jobs… and several sound interesting. My resume needs a bit of updating, but is mostly current. By this time next year I need to make a decision to move. And I need to know if I’ll be moving for myself? Or to chase something phantom? Or to relieve myself of the guilt re: taking care of my aging parents who currently live so far away?
But a lot of my thoughts come back to my weight – I have become more honest about how it has impacted me. Re: dating, job interviews, world travel. But I’m no shy wallflower, either. Can’t quite put my finger on it… but I wonder why I keep the weight on – am I protecting myself from something/someone? Is it a barrier? Is it a way to understand why people reject me off the bat – size – instead of them rejecting something about me personally…does that make it easier to handle rejection in some way?
I’ve been an ambassador before – in graduate school, all of my roommates were from other countries. I’ve been there, explained my country and culture ad nauseum… I don’t want to do that abroad with an additional stigma.
Everything kindof ties together and flows, doesn’t it? Told you I had a lot of time to think in the car. Tomorrow I’m seeing a doctor to ask if I could be experiencing some residual consequences from the single car accident I had in Dec 2003. What’s interesting is this: I’ll ask if all of the mental health issues (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, sleep issues, various frustration thresholds) that I’ve been treated with meds for (on which I gained significant weight) might all… actually… be residual effects of an old brain injury. Huh. No wonder I never *exactly* fit medical criteria for a certain diagnosis… because I didn’t actually have it. Perhaps my experience & reality was the result of something else entirely.
I have to say this, too – I know G-d has allowed me to experience some things in my lifetime so that I may encourage others. I know HE has had HIS hand on me from the beginning. I know HE is using me in ways I cannot understand. I know HE isn’t finished with me yet. …so I’m thankful for these experiences. But the question remains… what am I gonna do about it? What changes need to be made? I don’t want to sit back and let life happen – to be passive. I want to make sure I’m doing the best I can with what I have (and been given). I don’t want another 8 years to pass quickly, with little to show for it, my heart’s desires still unfulfilled. Perhaps there’s a stone still left unturned, which I hope to find in the future.