Sunday, December 30, 2018

So long 2018

I keep seeing posts where friends remember 2018 - some fondly, some not so much - and the big changes that happened during the year.

So it got me thinking... what are my big memories from 2018? Any big changes, lessons, memories?

I started the year with a FL vacation. Not really new - that was our third trip to FL for spring training - though we visited some new places. On that trip, I learned I really don't like touristy destinations and don't care if I ever again see Orlando or another set of mouse ears.

Somewhere in the middle of the year, I really started to feel the impact of my anxiety. I have really tried to improve its management, having come to terms with the fact that I'll probably never be able to make it disappear. That continues to be a struggle. 

I've also battled some major depression. I am still fighting that every single day. I'm a little sad to be going into 2019, well, sad, but I know I can get through and will be OK. Some days I deal with it in really positive ways - going for a walk, writing, etc. Other days I lose myself in a Netflix or YouTube hole and I need to learn that is OK, too. 

At the end of the summer, we took a trip to Gettysburg. I have to say - it's an amazing place, full of history and lessons and, I thought, a lot of sadness. I would encourage anyone to visit, and wish more people would try learning our country's history from perspectives other than white-washed history books.

Towards the end of the year I started a new job. Very exciting change! The biggest change was positive for my life - the fact that I do this job entirely from home. Earning a little more and the improved chance for retirement didn't hurt, either. Mostly, it's nice to do a job I enjoy while maintaining my sanity and sense of self-worth, both of which were seriously compromised before.

I am not sure what 2019 holds... I expect there will be challenges, and probably some really low lows, but hopefully mixed in with some very high highs. My main goal is to try and take it all in stride, and find the lessons along the way.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Holiday struggles

Boy has it been a while.

For anyone still listening - I'm sorry for the silence. For anyone who stumbles upon this space and decides to stay - I can't promise it will get better, but I'll try. Again.

Anyway - it's November 20, there's snow outside, and I have packages arriving everyday this week, some even filled with stuff not for me.

So it must be the holidays. 

If you're not new around here, you know that this is not my favorite time. For years and years it was great. Then I had a job that became nothing but a big pile of stress in December, making the holidays all but impossible to enjoy. Then I got divorced and all the traditions (I thought) I needed to be happy went out the window. 

Over time my job has changed a little and I've learn to manage the stress. My traditions never recovered, but I accepted that and actually have come to enjoy the freedom that comes with fewer expectations. 

But as I've gotten older, I've realized that a lot of the family time that comes with the holidays is also a huge trigger for my anxiety. Trying to please everyone (and inevitably failing), having to (once again) explain why my life doesn't look like they think it should, being caught in awkward family feuds... It's supposed to be a fun time of year, but it's taken over by so much stress.

I struggle to get through each day, worried that it will be the day I finally break. I practice my anxiety relief activities, and try to remind myself that this too shall pass. After all, January is coming - right?!

It's been a huge help to me in the last few years to realize I am not alone in this fight. It turns out I know a lot of people who struggle too.

So for those going through anything that will make this season a tough one, remember this:

You are not alone.

So let's put on our fancy holiday anxiety and push through!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Not luck

Like I mentioned, I was recently on vacation. When I'm away, I love to take and share photos. I personally like making the memories for myself, and I've also been told that friends enjoy seeing the photos as well. I figure those who don't want to see the photos can always unfollow me, anyway.

But I know some people get annoyed
that others can take trips while they can't. I've been told more than once how "lucky" I am that I am able to travel, and that it must just be because I am single without kids or a mortgage.

It's true - I don't have kids or a mortgage. Technically I am single - in that I am not married - though I am not really sure how that fits in with the ability to travel. Maybe because I am not responsible for someone else financially? If so, then yes, that is true.

But none of that is "luck" - it's choice. I chose not to have kids, I chose to sell my house so I would not have the financial burden, and I choose to be with someone who doesn't need my financial help. I have worked very hard at jobs I have not always loved to earn the money and time to be able to travel.

Make no mistake - I am blessed to have all of these things, and I am grateful everyday. 

But it was not "luck." It was hard work and smart choices. There is definitely a difference.