Sunday, May 25, 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and I make no excuses. Okay, except for the fact that up until mid-March, the last 7 months, and oh, let’s just say it, 2 ½ years of my life had been complete and utter shite. And when I say shite, I mean life falling apart on an epic level and the fact that I survived without losing my mind, sense of optimism, and credit score is regularly remarked upon as being nothing short of a miracle by those who were present in my life at the time. Seriously, I get greeting cards that say, “Holy crap, you made it!”

If you thought they didn't make a card for every occasion, you’re doing the internet wrong.

For basically 6 months I worked two jobs, a full time and a part time gig, along with picking up odd jobs, shifts, and freelance work where I could. On average I was working 78-90 hours a week and sleeping maybe 4-5 hours a night. To say I was stretched thin would be an understatement--I was God damn see-through.

And yet throughout that bullshit--because it absolutely was bullshit, no one should have to live that way--I had some pretty amazing times. I hosted Thanksgiving in my apartment for my family!

I did a Hanukkah twist on Thanksgiving with a Challah bread dressing with lovely dried fruits in it, sweet potato latkes with brie and arugala, along with the traditional Thanksgiving dishes.

I had some delicious, laughter filled meals with family and friends who just wanted to give me a break from worrying. I had a fantastic time being completely silly with buds who made me forget my troubles. I gave some amazing Christmas presents (thanks, in part, to my part time job’s employee discount) and had a gorgeous Christmas tree that I decorated with my parents.

I had a really nice birthday party at my house with friends and a bonfire where the wine was plentiful and laughter, boisterous. I was even asked to give a talk on realistic approaches to being more positive. I titled my presentation, “How to Be a More Positive Person, Even When You’re an Asshole Like Me!” I had some snow days that really made me feel like a kid again.

I experienced the generosity of others, receiving things like grocery store and gas station gift cards, Tupperware full of yummy meals made by friends and family, bottles of wine left on the doorstep by a still-mysterious benefactor, books that helped bring my future path into focus that were sent by a friend from across the country, friends who would surprise me when I’d go to pay my tab and found that they’d paid for dinner or a few rounds of drinks, a friend who bought me a cab ride home so I could stay out longer with them, second hand clothes for interviews as they came along (because even though I had my own clothes, everyone knows there’s nothing like wearing something new to you!), offers to stay with friends when my apartment was too cold because heat is freaking expensive (and the HVAC was broken), even just a shoulder to lean on when the pressure got to me meant the world. And there were more demonstrations of selflessness and thoughtfulness from friends, family, and people whom I only knew on social media. I have been incredibly blessed!

Actual temperature in my apartment.
I didn't start out this experience being happy. I was a pretty negative person overall, and that poured into every aspect of my life and my relationships. Then I made the decision to appreciate what I had in life and to be happier, even when I knew I was pretty entitled to give into the crush of depression and stress. I changed my attitude because I knew if I didn't, I’d fall apart. I’d look back on that chapter of my life with disappointment--all that time spent being sad.

I would love to say I maintained that positive feeling all the time, but my talk was about being realistic, not perfect. Sometimes I did get depressed, angry, or downtrodden. But I didn't let that feeling last. I did everything I could to make myself happier--whether it was adding plants to my house, reading a new book, or even dancing, while barefoot, the length of a large, empty office space my temp job was leasing to this song during my lunches:

I was mimicking the video long before that meme was a thing.

It seems silly, but it made me smile! And I found more reasons to smile. I FOUGHT to smile. It was that desire and determination to pursue happiness as hard as I could that got me to where I am now.

Where is that, exactly? I have a new job I absolutely love. It’s work I can be passionate about, oriented toward things that I’m good at, gives me a chance to learn and even laugh, because my coworkers are fantastic! I bought a gorgeous car that gets me from here to there and looks wonderful while doing it! I found the perfect pair of ballet flats! (It’s the little things!) And I’m looking at life in a whole new way!

I always loved this quote, but lately I've really tried to live it.
I’m still living in Church Hill, I’m eating better, drinking less, walking more, going to bed earlier, making plans on weekends, laughing regularly, and honestly giving this whole being an adult thing a go. Life is pretty wonderful right now!

I’m not going to say it’s all rainbows and unicorns, because it isn’t. But remember, it’s not about perfection, it’s about making the active decision to change how I react to things and mindfully being happy. It means filling my world with happier things and happier people. It means doing things that make me feel good and savoring the great things in life. And on occasion, it means letting things go, even when I know I’m right.

Oh, and it means getting two fat ass cats. Meet the new additions to the family, y’all!

Their names are Cheddar and Colby Jack. I’ll be blogging loads more about them because God knows taking crazy cat lady to the next level is just what I need.

Anyway, this is my thank you. Thank you for being patient, generous, kind. Thank you for loving me when I was probably acting very, very difficult. Thank you for telling me to get off my ass and get busy. Thank you for meals, laughter, hugs, and late night talks over drinks. You can't know what it means to me, and I'll do my damnedest to pay it forward.

In the mean time, enjoy these pictures, wherein I see the literal and figurative flowers.

Snow day delights with the family!

A day trip to Colonial Williamsburg

Post-It note I put on social media when I got the new job.

Me on Administrative Professional's Day!

Always good advice!