Where I Disappeared to at the End of 2018.

So before I begin, can we all just agree 2018 was kind of a shitshow? I mean really, looking back at the entire year all I can think is “What the actual fuck was that about???“.  I feel like we somehow all deserve a do-over. Or maybe we just quickly shut the door on it and pretend it didn’t happen. Like let’s not even talk about that one, ok?

In November things came to a head for me. I turned 40 on November 12th, and I celebrated the hell out of it this year.

We went to a very fancy restaurant with good friends downtown for the birthday dinner, and then the following weekend I took a trip to New Orleans.

New Orleans was a turning point for sure. I went and spent an amazing, relaxing weekend with a bunch of girls who came all the way down here just to celebrate with me. Me!! It was kinda surreal. I mean, there’s knowing that you have amazing friends, and there’s them trekking across the country when they really don’t have to, just so you have great memories. We laughed together, we drank together, we stayed up WAY too late together, and at the end of the trip we spent a night in just eating and talking because we are all introverts and THESE ARE MY FUCKING PEOPLE, Y’ALL.

I should have come back from that trip happy and ready to take on the world, instead I came back to the realization that my life had turned into a dumpster fire of stress(mostly work…sooo much work stress), I’d been majorly unhappy for the bulk of the year, and I needed to get my life together.

This led to making one of the best decisions I could have made – I quit social media for about 6 weeks. No Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter. I kept Messenger so I could keep in touch with people, but I completely cut myself off from the daily distraction and noise. I needed to focus on reducing stress, doing all those things I kept meaning to do, and generally being more mindful and present. While I couldn’t change everything overnight, this was an easy adjustment to make that would have a big impact on both my focus and my attitude.

Since work was my biggest issue, I looked right away at updating my resume and searching for a new job. I had been mostly focused on looking outside the company when my fairy godmother Tammy suggested I try her department, as it was much more the environment that I had been used to before the most recent restructure came in – you do a good day’s work, and then you go home and forget about it until tomorrow. It sounded perfect, so I emailed the manager, and holy hell y’all…I’ve never seen a hiring process go so fast! Emailed on Thursday, phone interview on Tuesday, in-person interview on Wednesday, offer on Thursday. Umm, YES!! So I am now under new management even though I haven’t officially started that role yet, as I have stuff from my old job to finish out first. I’m not kidding when I say the worst of my work stress will literally be gone by the end of this week. Way to start a new year!

Side note – my new manager and I have known each other on social media for years, so this is my first time having a current boss on my FB. All I can say is you knew what you were getting into. 😂

Job stuff aside, I’ve been working on getting those random projects done, spending more quality time with Paul (when the kids let us) and working out a schedule that balances time with the family vs keeping the home running vs some very much needed time alone. It’s not a perfect system yet, but we are working on it.

I usually make big New Years resolutions, but since I already have Sara’s Get Your Shit Together plan in place that I’ve been chipping away at since November I’m just going to resolve to keep at that. It’s working for me so far.

And social media? I’m looking at ways to post so I can continue sharing those amusing little thoughts and pictures and bits of randomness without getting sucked back into the void of ‘Oh crap, where did the last 45 minutes go??’. Buffer may end up playing a part in that, but if anyone has good posting tool recommendations send them my way!

I hope this finds everyone well, and if not happy, at least working on a plan to make it so. We got this.

 

The View of 29 From 31

In 2007 I wrote a post about turning 29, and what it meant to me as I transitioned into my 30’s.

Today I turned 31, and as I read back over that post, I am struck by how fortuitous it was without even realizing it.

My 20’s were pink. I wanted to prove to the world that I was still young, despite having kids. I wore things that I shouldn’t have, thinking they made me look my age instead of looking like a mommy. Damnit, I was still sexy even if I did have kids, and I was determined to prove it! Don’t you see me?? There is still a woman under these children! Look at me!!

At the time I thought I was wanting recognition from anybody, but looking back it’s clear to me it was in relation to my marriage at the time. I felt completely ignored, and not of much use to my ex other than as a housekeeper and caregiver to our kids. For years I’d told him how his lack of affection towards me made me feel unwanted, and for years I got no more than a less-than-token effort.

My 30’s will be red. I have always feared red, feeling like it would overpower me, call attention to me, and show off how unsophisticated I was. Yet now at 29 I am starting to realize the power it holds. Not a fire engine red; no more of that desperate, ‘look at me!!’ here. A burgundy. The color of a finely aged wine ready to come into its own. The color of a silk gown that hints at curves but leaves them guessing. Strong and confident, but subtle. Sophisticated.

It was a matter of days after writing that post that I decided I would eventually be filing for divorce. It was a few weeks later that Paul and I began talking, and a couple of months before I realized he was what I needed in my life.

The French have a saying that life is too short to eat bad food or drink bad wine. It has taken me till 29 to grasp this, and I plan to not only embrace it, but revel in it.

Revel in it I did, and at the highest of costs. Most of you know what happened from there. It’s no secret. For those that don’t, it’s in the archives.

With my hearing last week and literally waiting for my divorce papers to be mailed, I have asked myself often if it was worth it. The friendships I’ve lost, and possibly a continued battle for custody of my children to my ex..was it worth what I am taking away from this?

Though many might not understand, I have to say yes.

Being with my ex was like slowly suffocating to death. Everything was about him, with very little room for me. I had no concept of myself as an individual, because I wasn’t really allowed to be one. To get what little approval I ever got from him, I had to be what he wanted. Someone that I wasn’t. That life was all about appearances, with no depth at all. From the outside things may have looked ok, but inside I was dying.

Once that split was made, everything started to change. I have come out of my shell, and learned to stand up for myself, something I never dared do before. I started to learn who I am, and what is important to me. I stopped worrying so much about what everyone else thought, and started to live my life by the promise I made myself two years ago- to really start to live, without fear, and without regret.

The fear part I have managed, the regret part has not been so easy. There are things I wish I could take back or change, but how different would I be now without those experiences? Without the trials of the last year and a half, would I have the strength to face an uncertain future? It’s all woven together inextricably, and I can’t take the good parts without the bad.

All I can do is look ahead, and I am doing so with gusto. I am looking at going back to school, and just yesterday I found a pretty good candidate for the next place to call home. It’s not the west-end cookie-cutter house that I am used to, but that’s a big part of what I like about it.

They say life begins at 40, but I say 31 is looking like a damn good place to start. Here’s to the next year, and whatever it may bring.