I’ve never been much of a fan of January. January has always been a cleaning up sort of month–a way station between being gutted and starting over. It’s cold, usually (though not really this year), which has never really pleased me and also tends to bring out my hermit tendencies. So, most January days, I find myself hibernating–wading through whatever mess December’s made–planning out my future.
This January has been one of the more difficult ones. Probably because December was one of my more difficult ones. Only it felt like the whole world had stopped. Everything important to me pretty much stalled. And early January was full of more news about death than I could ever remember. Thankfully, for the most part, death kept itself at arm’s length–close enough to remind me how close it could be, but far enough to remind me I was still lucky. By mid-January, though, I was surrounded by news of engagements and new babies.
Now, I was truly–truly–happy for everyone. It was shocking to hear of all of these things out of the blue, but heck–I’ve been so out of the loop, I doubt I’m even in the circle anymore. I’ve been doing my own thing. And I’m glad I took time to do my own thing, and I’m probably going to be doing my own thing for quite a while.
But, as a single girl approaching the dreaded 35, who wants children and an amazing career and a rich life…I got that old, familiar twinge of “what’s wrong with me?” So, while I wasn’t jealous, I was sort of down about all of this stuff. Until this week. Until today.
Today, I was again reminded of how lucky I am to literally be surrounded by love and new life. Hope. I feel like this year is different than a lot of years. People just seem to be holding on a bit more. And I guess, that makes me want to hold on more, too.
I’m winding down my latest degree program. Currently, I’m learning all about leadership–which actually involves a lot of learning about myself. My work really comes into play, and I find it all quite interesting. It will probably migrate here every once in a while. By August, I should be able to write MNM after my name (though I won’t–that’s pretentious). I’ve decided I want to actually walk in my graduation this time, which I’ve only done once since high school–mostly because I just wanted it to be over and I didn’t really have anyone to watch me. Well, no one that felt like family anyway. This degree feels more special than the other ones–mostly because it’s the first real step toward the life I actively chose. It’s not been easy. I’ve doubted my commitment, postponed plans, and wanted to jump ship. But I’m still going strong, and I’ve finished the worst of it. I’m proud of that. I’m proud that I have the knowledge to bring true change in this world. I just have to figure out the how and what.
I have a pretty good idea, but life can take you down a few unknown roads. My plan is to get into counseling school and start in the fall, which means I will be on the East coast for a reason twice a year. Sorta dress rehearsal for bigger moves later.
I’ve been sort of cleaning up my act lately. Going to the doctor when I actually need to instead of being the chickenshit sniffling girl who’s afraid of yesterday’s ghosts. I even wear my glasses from time to time. And I eat kale all the time. (Though this week I’ve allowed myself to eat less than stellar foods to keep my metabolism happy after a really rough go with the Virgin Diet. I’ll be back on the wagon tomorrow…mostly…promise). That whole thing reminded me that I need balance–and that it’s incredibly hard for me–and that I’m naturally always going to go for the most extreme thing. So, I’m being a lot more mindful about myself and listening more than thinking–which is really hard. I feel good about it and have lots of hope that I am getting closer to what I need.
I guess that’s the theme of this year…trying something, learning what I can, feeling what I feel, and then making new choices. I’m more aware than ever before of my need for support and how I’m really, really lousy at finding support and supporting myself. And I know I need to change that so I can support others when I’m a counselor. So, I’m trying to find physical and emotional outlets. I will learn to ride a bike this year–promise. I will learn to swim properly this year (instead of doing what I taught myself to do and being afraid to drown). I’ve learned that what I believe is almost more important than what I do, and if I can give myself faith in myself, I can do anything.
Speaking of faith…I’ve decided to explore Buddhism more. I’m going to meditate more and set up a little nook for myself. I’m going to play with affirmations. I’m going to take workshops and go on retreats. I’ve read lots of books lately, and I just feel like I’m being drawn toward faith–but also community. I’ve realized that a lot of my suffering has been caused by me. I’ve been really angry over the last few years, and I need to really explore why and how to transform it.
Which all makes me sound very hippie-ish. I’m kinda shocked by it myself, but an odd shift has happened. As I worry less about surviving, I worry a lot more about healing. And it’s really about time I did.
We’re moving in May–probably to somewhere on the opposite side of town. Maybe Boulder, but probably not. We’ve narrowed it to a few places, and if we make that choice, life will be a lot easier and probably much more fun. Old me would probably sneer at new me’s choices, worried I’d forget where I come from. And new me can’t help but think that, sometimes, nice things are just nice. I’m tired of lugging clothes up and down stairs and paying for that privilege. Or having people move my stuff out before it’s dry because they want the dryer. I’m tired of the fire alarms. I’m tired of the broken pipes and appliances. I’m tired of neighbors stealing my mail. For once in my life, I want to be comfortable in my home. I think I’ve earned a nice kitchen and my own bathroom and a view of my city. I think I need that.
In a way, I feel like I’m launching a new part of my life. As much as 35 makes me cringe, I feel like everything from now on is mine to choose–no more inherited bullshit. And I’m much less worried about other people’s feelings. For once, my feelings matter–to me–and I’m actually willing to fight for what matters TO ME. I think that might be the key to letting go of my anger. Because, honestly, I think I was so angry because no one ever fought for me. Not even me.
So, nutshell version? Life is good. The fog is lifting, even though some of the cars on the train are stalled. But it’s only a matter of time till we leave the station. And I might actually be able to breathe through my nose by then. 🙂