Friday, November 27, 2015

Merry Whatever to All and to All Try to Not Curl Up into a Ball of Depression, M'kay?

Yesterday saw the trek up to my Mom's house for Thanksgiving. For the last couple of years we have gone "non-traditional" with our Thanksgiving feast so that we may enjoy our Christmas turkey without the air of "didn't we just do this?"

It was a lovely meal with my Mom, Best Guy and I, my brother, my Aunt and my Cousin. Low key, wine, good conversation, good food, good dessert. While we were up there, BG and I went through some of Mom's Christmas stuff, since we will be hosting this year and the aim is to get a tree large enough to hold more than three ornaments.

She gave us permission to take pretty much anything we wanted, but once I got down there and I was looking at my childhood in a plastic storage bin, I froze. I couldn't take anything. In the end, both Mom and BG ended up filling our grocery bag with ornaments, with me only vocalizing over things I absolutely did not want.

I remember all of those ornaments in there: some older than I am, some I distinctly remember acquiring for my Mom, and others simply coming in to the rotation as I grew up. Every single holiday memory came up and slapped me in a face with a big fat "you'll never have those amazing holidays ever again. They're gone, and by pillaging Mom's stash you are ensuring that you will never have a Christmas at your Mom's house again."

Once again, blatant mortality sucks the fun out of everything.

I am blessed in that I can look back at my childhood holidays with fondness. I know not everyone has that gift, and I appreciate it. So much of it is because as children, we only see the lights and the sparkle and the glitter. We see only the mysterious boxes of who knows what piled underneath a tree that seems far too big for the living room. We see the bounty of food and treats and for this one day no one is saying we can have only one cookie. He hear magical stories told again and again and no one ever says anything other than "it's absolutely true!"

As an adult, it is so much harder to suspend disbelief, to not look at the glitter and wonder who is going to clean it up; to look at the boxes and not wonder how long it's going to take to pay off the credit card this time; to not wonder when the hell you're going to find the time to purchase and cook a feast, much less presents for everyone. And magical stories that you know for a fact are true? Would that someone could find one for me, because the only true stories I've heard lately are about struggle, strife, manipulation, and greed.

Even through all this, I know I have much - SO much - to be thankful and grateful for. I never doubt this, not for a moment.

But the magic and wonder and mystery? Yeah, it would be nice to experience that again.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Giving Thanks

The days are officially too short for comfort, the temperature has finally nose-dived, and this morning saw our first spit of snow in my part of the state. Thanksgiving is just two days away and the stores have been inching the Christmas stuff out since August.

Yep, it's officially the End of the Year.

Over the last, well, far too many to count years, by the time I get to this point I'm all "thank freaking gawd this is almost over. Here's to hoping next year sucks less."

I'm not saying that this year.

This year has been off-the-hook amazing. Sure, I definitely had some hard bits; things I don't care to re-live in any way shape or form. On the whole, however, it's been a pretty kick-ass year. I have so much to be grateful for, and even now I'll look around and say "how is this even in my experience?!"

Okay, I don't say that. There is usually a curse word or two involved, but I was trying to class this post up a little. 

Ha ha.

So, as this year winds down I can't help but look around and be overwhelmed by my good fortune. I am blessed, and I sincerely want that for all others. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I've Written 1,000 Posts Here.

As of this one, anyway.

I guess other bloggers offer prizes or somesuch when they come to milestones such as this. But then, I never really did this for the reader count, obviously. I'm not making any money off this blog whatsoever. It's not my way of life. It's simply a means to an end for me. That you, Dear Reader, are here at all is just icing on the cake.

With the emotional and mental stress of the last couple of weeks finally over, I find myself in a unique position. My new schedule at work won't kick in until after Thanksgiving, which was intentional on my part. As a result, I am on-call for a significantly reduced amount of time. I am calling this my un-vacation. 

For the next couple weeks, I will have 3-day weekends and more time generally to re-focus and re-tune myself. I am focusing on Self-Care: healthy foods, yoga, dance, getting instead of giving a massage, meditation, time to exercise and be in nature. I am going to do my best to not over-schedule myself and to do what I need to build myself back up again. Odds are pretty good I won't have any real time off until my wedding, so I want to make the most out of this that I can. 

The last few weeks have really brought home to me that I still have a lot of Work that needs doing. What I thought would take care of the "problem" (the second job) instead served to highlight how far I'd sunk into the spiral. I will have a long journey back and obviously two weeks won't be enough. But it will be enough to get me settled and on the path, at least. 

There is so much beauty and joy surrounding me; I want to bathe in it and soak it up.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Project 251: Because We Needed some Freakin' Fun

Because this past week was so emotionally draining for both of us, we celebrated surviving with with cake and alcohol last night.
Yeah, that totally happened. We regretted those last bites of cake way more than the third shot of whiskey.

This morning, the initial plan had been to take care of some chores like grocery shopping and Costco, but once I got coffee in me I decided that I wanted to do only fun things today. So, we decided to knock off some 251 cities by going through the Islands in Lake Champlain. There are just five cities/towns up there, but the going can get bad in the winter so we decided to get them done while the getting was still good. So, here, they are:

23: Alburgh. Not only is it half-way between the equator and the North Pole, it is
also the most Northwestern town on our list. So.... CORNER PIECE.

24: Isle La Motte. There were leaves. They needed tossing.

25: North Hero. Best Guy was enthralled by the pirate ship on the playground. I asked
if he wanted to go play on it, but he passed up that golden opportunity. For shame, BG, for shame.

26: Grand Isle. Yep. 

27: South Hero. Unfortunately named beach. Beautiful view though.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Moratorium on Intentional Massive Life Shifts

This has been a tense, sad week in this household.

No, Best Guy and I are fine. Stronger than ever. No worries there.

Not only have we been dealing with the fall-out of me giving notice, we have also come to the heart-breaking decision that we need to return Flynn. She has aggressively gone after the cats four times in a 24 hour period. We fear that this is not something that can be trained out of her; it is simply her nature to go after small things that run away. It's fun.

Between the stress of the job and this unfortunate turn of events, I spent a lot of time last night bawling. Not crying; bawling my ever-loving eyes out until my nose was so stuffed I couldn't breathe. In fact, my eyes still feel weird this morning which makes me wonder if I was crying in my sleep.

While walking Flynn last night after coming to our decision, we reflected on how many massive life changes have happened to us in the last 14 months (in no particular order):

  • Falling madly in love
  • Getting a divorce
  • Selling a home
  • Buying a home
  • Moving (twice for me)
  • Quitting a job
  • Finding a new job, then finding a second job
  • Renovations
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Deciding to start a new business
  • Getting engaged
  • Travel
Pretty much all the things that test a relationship, we have managed to squeeze in. We've been through all of this together, and have come out stronger in the end. But with Flynn, I think we finally realized that we have become overwhelmed with the constant change and little adjustment period. We keep slogging through all these huge things and saying "okay, next!" Each one of these things on their own are big deals and often need time for adjustment. We haven't given ourselves this chance on any of them.

So, Best Guy and I have decided that we officially have a Moratorium on Intentional Life Shifts for the next six months. Basically, our next life change will be our marriage in May. We are going to allow ourselves the winter to settle. We will not adopt any new family members until after the wedding. We will give ourselves time to adjust. We will give ourselves time to solidify. We will give ourselves the space and time needed to come to terms will all of our choices and coalesce as a family.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just Stop. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Every Oopsie is an Opportunity for Growth. Painful, Wonderful Growth

As you may recall, about a month ago I posted that I had accepted a second part-time job to help with my finance situation. On paper, this is a good job with growth potential. In reality, for reasons I will not go into online, things are not working out for me.

It is heartbreaking for me to say this. The last time I walked away from a job this soon after starting it was my "first job" in high school. I was a (very bad) cashier in a grocery store, back when you had to enter everything in manually and actually rely on math. I lasted two weeks there.

With the realization that my needs were not getting met with this second job, I have come to see many things:

  1. My issues regarding scarcity and abundance are very deep and far reaching. I don't know where the heck they came from, but I'm never going to be successful or content until I get to the bottom of these issues.
  2. Having a rational conversation with a Partner and coming to solutions that benefit the family are very wonderful.
  3. Sometimes doing what's best for you will mean disappointing other people. You cannot control what these other people say or feel. You can only do your best to be kind and compassionate and understanding. 
  4. Be secure in your Truth and know that not speaking It ultimately hurts everyone. 
I am lucky in that things have turned out okay, but the hardest part of this little fiasco is yet to come and I am dreading it. I do not do well with confrontations and I fear I am guaranteed one. 

I do not feel guilty about my choice; but knowing others will not like it and speak ill of me for it weigh on my conscience. But I am doing what is right for me in this moment.

With this choice, I will have the time to sort out those issues that needs sorting and get moving on creating a private practice. Which is bringing up its own issues. But if I don't get those scarcity issues out of the way now, when I go out on my own and initially bring in little to nothing, it's going to be a shift for the whole family. One I don't think we're ready for yet. But all things in their time.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Big Announcement!

I've been sitting on this news for a couple weeks, but now it is official!

Mmmmmm Kongs and Peanut Butter!
We have adopted a new dog!

Her Royal Title is Flynncess Leia, but she is humble and prefers we call her Flynn. She is three years old, and a Pitbull Terrier.

She is a rescue, and the best we can tell has been in a couple homes already. She was with her last foster mom since February, where she got lots of love and behavioral training. She knows her commands very well and she's now getting used to us saying them. She is a strong little dog, and walking her is going to be an adventure.

But she has warmed up to us already, looking to both of us for scritches and affection. We're both over the moon infatuated with her right now and we are looking forward to many years together.

The cats, however, are not amused.

Meh, they'll get over it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cultivating an Attitude of Abundance when an Attitude of Scarcity is Your Default Setting

I have been having many conversations with my friend T lately regarding scarcity/abundance. Well really, I've been struggling with scarcity and she's been trying to re-frame my thoughts to abundance. I've got to give her mad props for her tenacity.

I hadn't realized just how far down the rabbit hole I'd sunk until a conversation with Best Guy earlier today. We were talking about finances and I was telling him how much was in my account and he let me know how much is in his - and as of yesterday, our - account. Instead of my fears being assuaged, my first words were "but you like to keep it at twice that amount!"

I was paralyzed with scarcity fear. Even though we are fine, because I had some arbitrary number in my head that he mentioned once six months ago, I was ready to go into lock-down mode.

That's when I realized that my default setting was stuck to PANIC.

The thing is, sometimes things are scarce. Sometimes you have to account for every last cent, make sacrifices, and do without. Recognizing the reality of the situation and doing what you need to do to survive are valuable skills that have a place and time.

But when things turn around and you can't let go of the fear, then you've got a problem. You are constantly stuck in panic mode. You can't move forward, because deep down you never believe that there is a future where thriving - and not merely surviving - is an option.

Living in constant scarcity wears you down. The next time a snarky comment about how those living in poverty always seem to have money for alcohol and cigarettes comes to mind, try to think about what it is to live in constant, unending panic. The anxiety, fear, and frustration never go away. Hope is lost and the belief that there can never be anything else is all-encompassing.  Anything that will deaden that feeling for a few moments is a soothing balm.

Even though I love being a Massage Therapist, it can be tough to make a living at it. The constant hustle of supporting myself in my chosen profession these last five years have left me fearing that I won't be able to pay my bills or buy groceries. That is 1,825 days of an inner monologue of fear. It only takes 15 days to develop a habit. It is no surprise that my thoughts always turn to what I "can't" have and afford. I've trained myself to think that way.

I am not doing this alone anymore. There is abundance all around me. I am so very lucky. I have so much, and there is so much open to me. It is time I opened my eyes to see it.

Last Chance.

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