New Year, New Decade, Who dis?

I have been working on ideas for how to do this reflection blog. Reflecting on a decade, obviously there are things we will forget and others that are burned into us. 10 years is a long time. 2010-2020 doesn’t seem like a long time, but SO MUCH has happened in that time span. You probably only remember the highlights. For me it is a check of where did I live in that year? Then I assess the situation from there. I moved around a lot, maybe not leaving the city, but new houses and apartments. In 2010 I was living with my sister in a town that literally has one stop light, after I bailed on NYC in November of 2009. The rent was stupid cheap and I worked at Jimmy Johns, where I would work until 2012. I moved out by the end of 2010 and closer to work because I needed to save money (which didn’t happen, tho it was an intention). In 2010 I also went to Chicago and had a lot of fun roaming around the Art Institute there, and seeing the Bean, naturally. All this happened that year, but the other daily crap that didn’t feel any different day to day also happened.

I feel like 2011 was a boring year in that I cannot think of what happened that was “big”, other than I was trying to go back to Library School and would have applied sometime in 2011. I started in January 2012. In 2011 I think I just did a lot of hanging out and drinking at my bar with my crew. It was always a good time with them, I miss that, but I also don’t because my life is calm now and not nearly as stressful.

2012 I spent in library school. I will be there until August 2013 when I graduate. It was no walk in the park, and yes I had to really work in some classes, more than others. What I fondly remember is taking 3 classes each semester. In New York I had to take 3 at a time, so I was used to the work load, but I remember folks being like “Why would you do that?!” but I also finished a MLIS  in 18 months. Saved myself some money. I loved library school, and workin in the library. I met some interesting folks and I enjoyed the people I worked with a lot. In August of 2012 I left Jimmy for my career as a librarian (it lasted until 2014 lol).

2013 I was in library school for a while. I then got a temp full time librarian position at a local community college. I enjoyed working there a lot, the money was nice, but to this day have not made solid money like that since. Weird, right? But that is the life of some of us. We figure out how to hustle to make sure we pay the bills and eat. Sometimes I’m amazed it happened! But in 2013 I did the librarian thing. I wanted to do it forever, as I love helping folks find the answer to the problem. 2013 I also made a lot of life changing decisions. I got a superficial blood clot in my leg because I smoked and took birth control. Funny thing was that was a wakeup call I needed. I needed to start changing my life, and I sure did start! But I also fell off the wagon a lot, but still to this day manage to get back on. Life as I know it would never be the same. The trauma I have left from that blood clot is not easy to deal with, as sometimes I still obsess about the fact one might be forming right now, but it was a push down the road toward a healthier me.

2014 I was still being a librarian. But by the end of the fiscal year I found myself unemployed and no hope on the horizon. But then like magic I had an old teacher reach out to me, and offer me her job for the fall semester as she was not able to teach her course load. She offered me this position and it changed my whole life. How is it 6 years later? How have I been here doing this for this long?! Crazy. I was living in my friends spare room. Her husband and 2 year old were there as well. It was interesting and since it was only supposed to be for a semester then I was going to be ok and couldn’t afford a whole apartment. Well, in 2015 when it did end up being a real gig and the landlord found out I lived there, I had to get an apartment. This was the year that Marah and I started doing yoga together. Yin yoga in the living room floor, no props or anything just the will to do it.

2015 I moved into my own apartment in the cheapest apartments I could find, in not a great part of town, but I lived and stayed for 2ish years there. That was also the year I met Zack, and that part of my life changed. I had been in Wilmington for a bit, I was reconnected with friends who I left when I moved away from college. We partied a good bit. I was having way too much fun. Did my fair share of drinking and bouncing around between work. I was training 3 days a week, lifting weights and doing sprints and things like that. In the first 6 months I lost like 12% body fat or something crazy like that. I was eating paleo for 90 days and it really worked well with my training. This is a lifestyle I am working on revisiting in 2020.

By 2016 I am on the Bernie Sanders for President band wagon. I’m getting really into politics and learning so much about how I am privileged as a white woman, and what that means. Learning about poor choices I made in the past. Understanding that my actions had been racist, and learning why they were. This was the year the awakening started. This has snowballed since then, and while I am still learning and reflecting I do my best to live in my growth instead of in the mistakes. The end of 2016 brought a new baby into my sisters home, and one to our lives. She was early, and came in an emergency situation, but she came into the world and is a bright and lovely 3 year old.

2017 I started seeing more of Zack, and he basically moved in with me by the end of the year when I moved into my new apartment. 2017 was a magical year for me though, because I started my Yoga teacher training. I met a group of women who I will forever hold in a place in my heart that no one in this world could ever change. The growth that we all experienced together was profound! Each month we would gather and learn and grow. Sitting in a circle women can do great things. I was doing all kinds of things to learn more and understand more about the practice as a teacher and as a student. I remember we went to a Saturday morning intermediate class. In down dog at one point during that class the teacher adjusted me. Normally I don’t care if people adjust me, but he didn’t ask that I recall. However, it was the best adjustment that I could have ever gotten, and because of that little push he gave I was able to change my down dog forever.  In July 2017, on Zack’s birthday, I graduated from my training. I moved into my apartment by November and he basically never left.

2018 I was teaching all the time and making strides for myself. Early 2018 set the tone for the year. I remember having a blast with Zack as my NYE date at two different parties. I met his friends that night. Then we had a couples massage for Valentine’s day and it was a magical day. On February 20 I was having an amazing day because I forgave someone who had wronged me and in doing so was in the BEST mood. I went to a talk about art of World War I and the depiction of the African American Soldier that my department chair was giving. Then February 21, 2018 my father died unexpectedly. He had been sick and couldn’t keep any food down. Eventually my mom took him to the ER because it wasn’t getting any better. He was a type 1 diabetic and had a kidney transplant when I was 11. His body had been through a lot in his life, and at one point he moved into diabetic ketoacidosis and from there had a seizure and his heart couldn’t take it anymore. It was too stressed and he died late that night. It broke me harder than I could have imagined. And 2018 was a year I learned how to pick myself up off the bottom, which I am still working on. God knows what I would have done differently had I known he would be gone that day, but the last thing I talked to him about was that I had done my own taxes and it was amazing and I was actually getting some money back, but not much. That was all. The last conversation. It was short. I cried more than I thought possible in 2018. But in his death and my bottom level of existence I made a swift choice and decided to go on a 10 day trip with my best friend to Seattle and explore the Olympic National Park. It brought my soul back to life a little. I took dad along with me and left his ashes along the coast. It was healing, but still a struggle. Shari, my best friend, had lost her dad a few years previous, so she understood the place I was in. She was patient with me and I was with her. We had a great 10 days, and I long for the day I can return to that city. It certainly is a favorite of mine. However, the beauty of their coast is something that spoke to me on a level so deep. From that point on I decided to live a life my father would have wanted me to live, and even maybe experience a life he wanted to have and couldn’t have because of his health. Zack and I went on our first trip together. We spent a week in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. He got the last of the mainland 48 under his belt, and we learned that we could travel together just fine. He got sick at the end, but that was okay too. Then we returned home to hell unleashing as Hurricane Florence was coming and we flew home a day early. Just enough time for me to pack up my shit and run for the mountains while Zack stayed with his grandparents and family who refused to evacuate. I would be gone for a week at least, I think it was more like 10 days, but yeah I was gone a long time and it was insane stressful. We’ve still not fully recovered from the storm. Thankfully everyone I know was safe and okay. Zack bought a house and we moved into it November 30, 2018.

2019 came and I was able to keep up the living! I spent the first half of the year scrambling to find ways to support myself. Between losing my teaching position and figuring out who I wanted to be without that label was a struggle. But by July I was on a plane to Paris for two weeks with my other best friend, Marah and her 7 year old daughter, Maia. One of the best experiences I’ve had in a long time. We saw so much and still not even half of it. Then I found my way back to Eastern Europe to float down the Danube on a boat for 8 days. Visiting Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic, and Germany with Zack for his first European vacation was delightful. We survived our first year in our house together and it’s been pretty great. We’ve found a rhythm. Baby Julia was born in April, 2 days before my birthday. We’re so glad she is in our lives! She is my sisters second daughter and spending Christmas with them and my two nieces was a joy! Even if they were super sleepy and over stimulated. Being around kids at Christmas always makes the ordeal more magical. From here, this next to last day of 2019, I go to teach my last Stretch & Restore yoga class, as in 2020 it transitions to a Yoga For All class. I’m excited to start this class from the ground and build it up! Back to my own experimentation with yoga and seeing how I can grow in my authenticity.

I don’t know what 2020 has in store for me, but I have a word picked out. The word is Focus. I’ve made some new goals, as it has been a long time since I did that, and wrote them down. Now I have something to work toward. I’m focused on these things and from there who knows! I know it will be an experience, 365 of them. But when this next decade wraps up, and I’m 46, almost 47 years old, I don’t know what I will see, but I do want to know that I spent that decade having as much fun as I can, living to the fullest of my ability, and cherishing each moment I have with my own personal growth along the way. It will be an experience, if nothing else.

Good luck to you and yours in this New Year, new decade, new chapter. I have faith that things will happen, but it is up to us to determine how we react when things happen. I hope it brings you more good than bad, and more joy than sorrow. Happy New Year!

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