2010 Year in Review
I have always had a tough time thinking of January as a Beginning, or as a time to start fresh, make changes. January is smack in the middle of winter. I do not typically do real well in winter, particularly in regards to personal change or motivation.
So, as seems typical for me, I find myself depressed and lethargic at the start of the year, low on energy and motivation, sleeping too much but still tired. I have always found myself in some sort of “hibernation mode” in the winter. I try to fight it, I plague myself over unaccomplished goals – like the same old battle to organize and clean up my house; and I do tend to accomplish things some times in sporadic, energetic bursts, which last for a few hours, let me feel gratified at the progress, but then the activity never continues. I suppose I gradually am getting some things done, although at this rate it could take years. It has already taken ONE.
The beginning of February shows one whole year since the death of my mother. So I have been trying to do this for a year. I guess that, in fact, I am still grieving. The house will get done eventually.
And I should not forget that it has only been a few months since I quit smoking. As I NOW know, on doing this a second time, the changes and effects of quitting take a very long time. It is not just hormones that are in flux and I must be patient.
All of a sudden, in a surprising, impulsive, almost unconscious move – I find myself subscribed to Match.com. What on earth am I doing? (Could this perhaps have anything to do with my x-husband’s sudden, recent move here after all these years?) I find this experience overwhelming, somewhat scary, very nerve-wracking – but so very compelling and tantalizing also.
It does make it somehow easier to deal with my frustration, anger, and distress over having to deal with my X. This has all gotten me all out of whack and feeling out of control. So it seems I have found a pleasant, albeit scary, distraction. This leads me to some major self-discovery work. I try to perceive myself from different viewpoints; to figure out who I might now be, and I realize many things; primarily that I think I finally know who I am and I feel more honest and whole. This leads me to pay more attention to what I want in a man and searching for someone who is appropriate for me, rather than trying to find someone who will find me interesting and desirable. This is a different approach and feels much healthier. I intend to take it slow and careful.
In the meantime, I am having trouble sleeping. This fact contributes to my feeling so scattered and dysfunctional. I am suddenly experiencing intense cravings; yearnings for some undefined “something.” I put a lid on certain kinds of desires for the last 7 or so years. I now feel like a pressure cooker who is about to explode; like I am plugged into an electrical socket. This is a Powerful distraction. But I tell myself I must pay attention; I must not throw things blindly to the wind.
I am now very aware of how much parenting requires from me. I need to pull myself away from my distractions and attend to what is most important. I find myself needing to deal with my son’s anger and resentment towards his dad. This is difficult but yet this situation relieves my resentment towards my X, as I see how truly my son does need and want me when the chips fall. The “honeymoon” with dad is now over and Real Life is not so simple. But I am gratified as I see my son gradually come to terms with things, with my help. Now if I could only do that for myself…
I feel like I desperately need something to happen to cause me to be inspired and motivated again, to get on top of my shit. I am still struggling with lethargy. I begin to feel a victim of my cluttered house but I can’t seem to do anything about it. I remember how, when I quit a job that I once had, the CFO told me that I couldn’t quit because he would have to hire four people to replace me. So if I am capable of that, which I was, then why can’t I do this? It blows my mind.
All I want is Beauty, Order, and Balance. I want wholeness. I want Space. I find myself wasting so much time just sitting and staring at the rain. I hate winter. I can’t quit thinking and fantasizing about dating, about men, about sex. I feel like I am flying in circles; I am a frustrated mess and it does not feel good.
Then spring arrives. I love spring; this is my favorite time of the year and I start to feel significantly better. The sunshine comes back. And I am starting to date. I find myself feeling much younger than I have for years. I feel like I’ve shed a layer of skin. It is exhilarating. But it is also nerve-wracking; it has been so long! My first date is just… weird. And on the way home, I smoked a cigarette. The first one since I quit in October. Even worse, it tasted too good. I did not let myself worry. I had too much else on my mind. And I am feeling so ALIVE.
I meet Louis. …And also, Rex. I like them both. What if I date two men? I am multifaceted and have never believed that one single man could possibly fulfill my needs, but what about two? These two are very different from each other. They appeal to two different but important sides of my self. I have always been a one-at-a-time kind of person, but I have also not been successful at relationships; would two be better? It’s an intriguing idea. I am starting to feel a bit crazy, but it is fun; I am enjoying myself.
But then – and I’ve had to stop at this point now while writing this; leave a blank space and come back to it. …Because otherwise, I will never get this done. I have worked on this for weeks, if not months, but every time I get to this place, I stop and get stuck. It is too hard. So, I will come back to this. (But I never did. Perhaps this will just stay one of those pieces of “unfinished business.”)
* * *
And I did start smoking again. I made it but five months — thought I was so strong and so over it, that I could risk an occasional cigarette. Needless to say, I learned the hard way, but at least I did learn. I spent most of the rest of spring and summer trying to summon up the ability to stop again.
I did manage a fairly sublime summer. I spent as much time outside as possible, soaking up the sun, watching the birds, feeling the breeze. I spent a lot of time in contemplation, listening to music, trying to just live in the present and come to terms with things. And I smoked. I spent time with Louis, sometimes with our kids, sometimes just the two of us. I was rediscovering pleasure and that is good; a new perspective. I also am becoming more and more comfortable with my drawing, with my art, and I am learning to be free with it. This gives me great pleasure. I am feeling my power again.
During this time, however, I learn that my sister’s husband is afflicted with liver failure. This is very sad, very hard. It is shocking. I find myself compelled to want to do something. My sister has been the glue that holds our family together, especially since our mother died. But now I feel the need to step up to the platform. I decide to arrange a family 4th of July get-together, here at my house, like we always used to do when my mother was alive. I did not know if my sister and her family would be able to come. But I invited everyone, including Louis, who I decided needed to meet the family, and they him. Not only did everyone, including poor sick Ken, come – but everyone, especially him, was so pleased to be able to come that it just about broke my heart and made me feel so gratified that I could do something to make such a difference. And despite how I always used to feel – like the younger sister who didn’t have her act together – I have found that I am able to do a very good job with these things. I used to do it on my mother’s behalf but never felt “in charge.” Now, I felt the sense of ownership and responsibility. And this felt so incredibly special. I felt humbled, honored, and privileged. And I felt like I had never in my life done anything so powerfully important. I felt my family and the ties between us very, very clearly. I felt how tenuous things could be if not maintained. I chose to salvage what could have been lost. It left an imprint on my heart and soul. It was good for all of us, it was healing, and Louis was comfortable, and well-received. It just was one of those really good things. But Ken is not the man he always used to be. It hurts. Grief upon grief… Thank God we all love each other. It also felt good to be with a man whom my family clearly liked and approved of. I gained respect – at least from my own self.
August 2nd, I manage to again successfully quit smoking. I pretty much know what to expect this time. I know it will be hard, but I also know I can do it. I am surprised and pleased to learn that Louis has decided he will quit smoking too. That is a big positive.
And I have my first “away” trip with Louis. We go out to Bodega for his business partner’s wedding and stay the night in the hotel where they had the reception. I enjoyed it very much. The significance of this was how it made me so aware of the fact that I have never had the benefit of being around real peers. I did not keep in touch with school mates, do not live in the same area, and do not have any particular group of friends, especially those my own age. Most of my son’s peers’ parents are much younger than I. At this wedding and the party afterwards, I found myself so enjoying the feeling of being in the company of people of my own age. It was very interesting to me. I found myself comparing myself to others and it gave me much food for thought. I had a great time. Louis is so easy to get along with, even when I got a bit drunk and silly – and argumentative. He’s a jewel.
School has started again and now I again am finding myself out of sorts though and I seem to keep forgetting the fact that I have just quit smoking again. I want to just feel better NOW. I continue to find myself plagued by my inability to fix my house up the way I want. I get depressed over it. I think about the fact that there have always been some things that I somehow am almost “magically” able to know and do. Why can’t I transfer this ability to taking care of this house project?
I feel so strange, fog-brained disoriented, not sleeping well, and/or sleeping too much, I can’t get a grip on things. I am also having nearly constant hot flashes. Is this all hormones? I re-read journals and see that I am experiencing nearly identical symptoms to what I did the last time I’d quit smoking for this same amount of time. However, I have not had a period since June and, as of the date of this writing, this is still true.
I am drawing, this is good. Pictures just seem to manifest like magic.
My X is stomping on my boundaries, though, and I continually have to reassert them. It sucks.
I am in a funk that seems never-ending. But I do stuff, I am trying. It is one day at a time. I hurt for my sister. I miss her. But I let her know that I am here for her, however she needs. I try to at least be OK so that I cause her no added distress in any way. Somehow I am still paying rent. I do not know how I am making it. But I do. It is, I guess, one of those “magical” things that I have always experienced at times.
And as autumn goes on by, I still struggle: I feel like I have lost my mojo:
- A magic charm or spell.
- Supernatural power or luck.
- (slang) Personal magnetism; charm.
- (slang) Sex appeal; sex drive.
- (slang) Enthusiasm, motivation.
But I think I’m beginning to feel better; everything just feels different and it’s hard to adjust. I find that 5th grade, new school, new teacher, is a big challenge. There is so much homework. I start to have serious suspicions that my son shares my ADHD. But I know what his strengths are, and I know from experience what the challenges can be and I know I am uniquely able to help him and teach him how to make things work and between that and conferencing with the teacher, Dalton soon has adapted remarkably and is doing quite well. Thank goodness for that.
It is cool to be able to have adult fun, really fun. Life is so full and I have deprived myself of so much for so long. It is interesting. My son has recently discovered that his mother actually likes to have fun. He has had to adjust to my differences, but hopefully it’s been mostly for the good, other than my frequent crankiness – which, I am hopeful, will end at some point.
I have found a curious addiction lately to vampire romance novels. They are so full of passion. I do not know what need they are filling for me, but they serve their purpose I guess. It is like chocolate for me. It is very obviously a form of escape. But I only indulge when I allow myself to without feeling guilt.
This year has seen me going through a lot of the same kinds of cycles. I get puzzled over why some things continue to be problems, on and on and on, and over and over again. House, financial, and it seems I can now be considered “post-menopausal,” whatever that may ultimately mean in terms of experience. At least I still enjoy sex.
I learn that my brother’s wife does not want to hostess Thanksgiving this year again. My sister agrees to do it at her place. However, she has her hands so full with taking care of her husband. So I offer to take care of the bulk of the cooking if she will help me pay for the food. She is happy to do so. I invite Louis. Again, we have a very, very nice family day and the dinner is great and I feel like everything is just a wonderful enjoyable success. I have been enlisted to do Christmas this year at my house. We have always done it at my sister’s. This will be the first – but I feel honored and I am happy to do this. Not only that, but I feel competent to actually do it as well.
Some things are getting better. I am trying some hormone/birth control pills and it appears it is helping me feel more “normal.” My sleeping seems to be getting a little better. I am starting to be able to get out of bed in the morning and stay up. I am finding that there are pros as well as cons to having my X living nearby. It is allowing me more time and flexibility and I can at least be grateful for that. I am also grateful that Dalton has adapted to having his father in his life and things have gotten much smoother in that regard.
And I have just had my 50th birthday. A landmark sort of time I guess; I did have a very nice birthday. I am enjoying getting the house ready for Christmas. It may not be arranged the way I want it or free of clutter, but it can be clean and comfortable and attractive. And it is looking good. I have designed and started working on my 2nd annual hand-drawn Christmas card. I can do this. (And I DID).
Finally, when it comes to trying to get a handle on this year, some things become clear. This year, my focus seems to have been on my health and taking care of myself. I found a new psychiatrist. I found a new dentist and visited the periodontist and I found and saw an ob/gyn. I am finally taking care of these long-neglected things. I am still not smoking and do not believe that I will allow myself to fail again. That is my goal. And I have started working on a daily exercise/walking routine. It makes a HUGE difference.
I have started paying more attention to my eating and nutrition; I have actually even begun to eat breakfast. I have not been a breakfast eater since I was a young kid. I refuse to allow myself to slide into old age without doing everything I can to stay young and strong and healthy. I absolutely refuse.
And also significant to my health and well-being, is that I have a man in my life with whom I enjoy a positive, healthy relationship. I have learned a lot this year. But I am impressed at this time that part of my difficulty I believe is that I have been trying to go from Point A to Point C, without stopping at Point B.
I know what I want now. I never used to have a clue. But I do know. That is huge. But just knowing does not mean immediately having. And I think that my lesson for the year is PATIENCE.
It is clear that I have been working on my Health and Wellness. I have always considered that to be the foundation for anything; no achievement means anything if you do not have this first. So this is where I am. I failed in my first attempt to quit smoking, but that is part of the process and I know that. While I have felt like I have been going in circles and repeating things, I have actually accomplished quite a lot. I am not the same person in some ways. But all I can believe is that who I am becoming is simply a stronger, healthier person. I just must have patience and perseverance and believe that when the time is right I will achieve the Order and Balance that I so crave. I will achieve the dreams that have become so clear to me now. One step at a time.
I also see where I need work. I could not write about this business with Rex. And I think this issue is critical to my Soul. I want to address this. In addition, I need to address some issues regarding money and how I can learn to make it work for me instead of against me. I no longer wish to suffer and I insist on learning to let go of my fear and take control.
I feel like I have suffered a lot this year; like I have struggled and not really done anything worth talking about. But I am now starting to see the big picture and am realizing some important things. I am still learning and growing. I just need patience. I am changing and change does not feel comfortable, not at all.
This year for me has been largely about Relationships, about health and well-being, about creativity and spirit. Mostly it has been about learning to be patient and not fret and also about who I really am and who I want to be.
A final significant thing is that just this very week I FINALLY figured out how to use the “31 point plan” and what it really means, what its purpose is and how to utilize it. I never really “got it” before, so this is kind of big. I have learned what it is that makes me feel good. And it is very simple actually. I do not know why I could never do this before. It is not about having goals. It is about simply LIVING. I finally know that every day I need to write in my journal, to draw, to listen to music, to eat breakfast, to go for a walk, to be outside and see the sun, and I need to take stock of all I am grateful for. It is simply about being alive. And it feels good.