I’ve been reading some year end lists – one about how this year was shit inspired me to offer my opposite opinion. For me this was a banner year.
– I moved in with my boyfriend exactly 1 year ago today. He bought a unit in a co-op and we have been cohabiting ever since, after several years of dating a 45-minute drive apart. It was extremely stressful and scary for me to make this leap. I’ve never moved in with someone while I was sober before. I’ve never been in an intimate relationship sober before. I had a very rough time at first with anxiety, learning to assert myself in a healthy way, and feelings of doom, but they abated, and now my home is a cozy feelgood nest. I love cohabiting with my partner and true love. It helps my anxiety and it feels wonderful, like a warm blanket around my shoulders.
– I got a job! I was unemployed from 8/2102 to 8/2013, got a 4 month temp job, then was unemployed again from 1/2014 to 8/2014. Then I got a 1.5 year contract that is really good, doing writing, editing and design for app merchandising, which interests me, challenges me, and is in line with my experience. And the things that suck about it, specifically the 3 hours a day commute that would traditionally cause me panic attacks, I have rolled with because…
– I found serenity. Not the ‘Firefly’ theme song but the promise of Alcoholics Anonymous, that if you work the steps, you will find serenity, you will have a chance at being happy, joyous and free. I wouldn’t call myself happy, joyous and free, but I would say that I’m more happy, joyous and free than I’ve ever been before in my life! My resentments and anxiety rear their ugly head and for the first time, I have steps I can take to stare it down, to handle it. Most days I have faith in myself and my abilities. I spend some of my 1.5 hour morning commute meditating, praying, appreciating, doing ‘heart yoga’ where I work on softening my resentments and judgments as I strengthen my compassion and humility. I look reality in the eye and often say ‘yaaawnnn’ but then also often say ‘ooooh! pretty!’ Even among all the horribleness in the news lately, such as the police murders of unarmed black civilians, I see progress – I am thrilled by the protests and action so many are taking, how many people are dedicated to change, and how the internet has allowed this news to spread instead of being smothered by corporate owned media. I think the human race has been horrible to each other for a long, long time and for the first time in my life I see swaths of society standing up in unison and saying ‘this is not okay!’ YAY. I am grateful I can now see this, instead of dwelling on what’s wrong to the point that I am immobilized with anger and fear.
– I quit my last compulsive addiction, pot. I still partake on occasion but its no longer a daily, neurotic habit I’ll freak out if I don’t have. That was hard, so hard, it can still be hard, but it’s gotten soo much easier after a few months of freak-out psychological withdrawal.
– I got a great therapist in the spring, she’s an addiction recovery and trauma specialist. She’s amazing and she advocates for me even when I’m determined to self-sabotage or put other people’s needs before my own. She put me on different meds, Duloxetine, that are working far better on my anxiety/depression and body pain than any I’ve been on before (and I’ve been on them all).
– I made a ton of art. I let getting a job slow my drawing down, but now I’m focusing on quality over quality. I took about 1 million photos, was gifted my first and second SLR cameras, and needless to say, my photography really improved!
– I spent 6 months off Facebook. Very rough for me, in fact caused a huge crisis at first as I was unemployed and came nose-to-nose with boring, not-acquaintance-filled, no ‘likes’ reality, but I’m so glad and grateful that I did it. It re-calibrated my expectations, my view of friendship, and my compulsive habit of crowd interaction.
– I’ve had wonderful, intimate times with friends. I made a new friend and strengthened my bonds with old friends.
– My health has improved dramatically. For almost the first time in my life, I am eczema free, mostly asthma free and allergy free – I think its due to stress management, only using hippie detergent and bath products, and living in a clean environment with hardwood floors. My legs and feet and jaw still hurt but it’s manageable. I see doctors and massage therapists about the problems I have, I got orthotics for my foot pain. I’m on my boyfriends health insurance which saves me $300 dollars a month. I discovered beautiful woods around my workplace and walk for miles a day appreciating the sights, sounds, systems, ecologies, miracles and smells.
– I have been able to be of some service to people in need.
I’m not saying this year didn’t have rough times, it had very rough times. But when I think about how much has changed, how much I’ve done and accomplished, how much better I feel than I did last year, I say, bless you 2014! You’ve been so good to me.