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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Starting Over

This would probably be better titled, "The Point When I Finally Pulled My Head Out of My Ass." But then again, that seems to be a never ending process.

It's doubtful there's anyone listening in this corner of the interwebs anymore, since I have been gone for months and months. But blogging is too often an act of narcissism, so I'll just keep typing, if only to hear the sound of my own keyboard. We'll find our way to chatter and sipping cyber teas again.

2013 lived up to its Chinese name: The Year of the Snake. Old skin was shed, and I spent most of the year on the ground, trying to muster my way through it. I got a divorce, grabbed a new and fun chronic disease, and buried my father. Those were just the most difficult highlights. It kicked the absolute shit out of me. And here I am, sitting pretty in 2014, creeping up on the ripe ol' age of 41, starting over.

I hate to sound like a tired cliche, but I am grateful for all the punches to the gut I survived over the past five years. Each one woke me up from a long and troublesome slumber. I married someone I loved, but who I knew all along was not a good fit, simply because I was tired of being single. I stayed in a job I absolutely hated, because I had convinced myself that I could somehow endure it for the good bennies. I stayed in friendships I found exhausting with people who waved huge red flags in front of me prior to our becoming buddies. I made dumb choice after dumb choice, because somewhere along the way I decided that being nice and knowing how to tough it out was more important than being happy. My misery reached a tipping point, and I cracked open. It woke me up. The process was painful, but living in a state of constant low-grade misery and detachment was (not metaphorically) killing me.

Although 2013 sucked a bag of dicks, 2014 started out with a glittering bang. After I heard yet another insult and yet another threat, I decided I had endured enough at my "good bennies" job and declared that I would be out by year's end. I learned a great deal in my four years there and for that I am grateful, but I will endeavor to never again put myself in a situation like that. I began looking for a different job less than six months into my stay there. It took four years, but the moment I decided that I would get out, BY MUTHERFUCKINGGOD, I did.

But I took a leap. Long ago, I worked for an organization we'll call Domiciles for the Destitute. I loved that job, and it broke my heart. It took me a very long time to get to a point where I could give a shit about work again. I now work for an organization that marries my two passions: helping veterans and the homeless. I Give A Shit about this place in a massive way, and it feels amazing to be fully back in the game. Hell, that's why I started in this do-gooder field in the first place--to help poor folks. The Universe decided to pile on the blessings, because not only am I working for an organization I love (and stalked for two years, trying to get a job), the culture is the complete antithesis of my previous gig. It is the most competent and ethical place I've ever worked. And most importantly, praise the sweet Baby Jesus, my boss absolutely kicks ass. She is a dream. I am so grateful to be here, I want to build altars in praise. Oh, and did I mention I'm making more money? Yeah. That doesn't hurt either.

Relationships that were not a good fit dissolved. I made a commitment to pay attention to red flags in the future and not allow my compulsion to be nice to override my good sense. I lost my mind, of course, and had a decent stretch of "dating" (yeah, that's a euphemism) men I wouldn't normally let clean my car. Praise Allah, that idiocy has left my system (anyone else go nuts after divorce and death?). I went on wild spending sprees and will be paying off that idiocy for the next year. (Note to self: conspicuous consumption cures nothing.) But bit by bit, I woke up.

Here I find myself in a new land. Awake after more than five years, essentially asleep at the helm. I do not have the life I thought I would have. Isn't that such a common experience? Looking at the life you wanted compared to the life you have and making peace. Now I get to enjoy the process of reinvisioning my life and taking steps to make that vision a reality, but this time, fully awake.

My phrases for this year are: Let Go; Consistency; and Calm the Fuck Down. I am starting over with a job I love, friendships with amazingly brilliant people who got me through the worst year of my adult life, a dating experience that has given me hope that the romantic love I want is possible, and an an appreciation for my body that I have never had before. Seemingly common things that most would not think merit much applause. But after the painful process of shedding skin, I realize those gifts are the most important in life, and I am blessed beyond reason.

So, back to blogging it is. Chatting about money, the new journey, and shit I hope we all care about (homeless veterans, yo!). I hope your 2014 is kicking ass. If you're out there, tell me how it's going. I'll grab us some tea.


Meghan said...

I love it, congrats!

Once I followed your blog on Bloglovin, you show up on my newsfeed, so you are still reaching people, I'm sure. :)

Linda Myers said...

Yes, you are still out there. Sounds like a crazy ride with lots of learning.Good for you!

EcoCatLady said...

"2013 sucked a bag of dicks" Truer words were never spoken. I'm feeling grateful to have survived it myself. Guess it lived up to its "13" status all around.

I am so glad that things are looking up for you, and I also think it's a fabulous coincidence that you chose now to come back because I was just purging my blog list a few days ago. I looked at yours and thought about deleting it but decided I'd wait just a bit longer and send a little prayer out into the universe in hopes that you'd return since you're one of my all time favorite blogging buddies. Guess you got my message. :-)

So glad that you are back!

laura said...

Welcome back!

It sounds like 2013 was a huge 'bag of dicks' for you! I'm glad you're back and sounding ready to take 2014 by the horns!

foxrunstudios2 said...

Ah, yes, welcome back! You sound so GOOD!

Anonymous said...

May 2014 be a year of much better things for you. I will be here listening and quietly cheering you on (when I am not busy chuckling).

Lines of Beauty said...

I feel like I just got an email from an old friend. Can't wait to hear more on your take of the realities of life. You write honestly and beautifully Aldra.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

So glad you're back and have come out the other side! We're still here. xoxo

ladybug said...

Love to see a new post, not loving that 2013 was a clusterf*ck (though I suspected as much).

Good to read that 2014 is starting out looking good.


Monday's Child said...

Hello beautiful!
I'm still here also.
2013 was (as you already know) a year of big changes for me. I also let go of a job I'd stayed in way too long, and had to move out of the house and city I loved so I could be closer to the new job.
I remember several times of looking at my life and thinking that it could still fit my image of my perfect life if I just fixed a few things. I finally realized that my "perfect life" dream wasn't going to happen, but more importantly that it was no longer my idea of a perfect life.
Damned if I know what my new perfect life dream is, but I've decided that focusing on that makes no more sense than focusing on someone else's opinion of beauty. My life already is beautiful, warts and all. And I'll fix the little pieces that still annoy the shit out of me.
This year I'm going to focus more on being here, now. And less on being somewhere else, later.
Love you lots. And I still owe you a drink or six.

stephinie said...

hey, hey, hey!!!! so glad to see you back!!!!

Demandra said...

Holy crapoly! Hi guys! I am so surprised to see y'all. Awww. DA LOVE! So much of da love. I need to get more cups and put on some more hot water. Or I could just pull out the moonshine.

Friday, I love this: "My life already is beautiful, warts and all. And I'll fix the little pieces that still annoy the shit out of me."

Thank you all for saying hola! So good to see you. Looking forward to getting caught up on your worlds. Well, I can't read months and months of my fellow bloggers, so clue me in when needed (please and thank you). xoxo

Rachel said...

Hi there! Good to see you again :-)
Sorry to hear you've had such a shitty time and I'm glad things are looking up now.

I can relate to so much of what you've written here. "I do not have the life I thought I would have." Um yes. Again and again. Going nuts after divorce? Been there. "I decided that being nice and knowing how to tough it out was more important than being happy." Yep, still working on that one. But... Hooray for a kick-ass boss!

My blog has been on tickover for the last year. I set myself a foraging challenge, and blogged about that, but not much else. If you're interested in catching up, you could click on the "musing" label - the last couple of posts there fill in a few gaps.

Anyway, great to see you again. Maybe there'll be more blogging this year (or maybe not. Who knows?)

Demandra said...

Rachel! So nice to hear from you. I hope you'll be blogging more! Looking forward to reading the musings. :)

I'm working on the focusing on being happy bit as well. Something tells me it's a never ending process, but certainly better than the "I can handle this. I'll tough this out" bullshit.

oilandgarlic said...

I am shocked (but glad) you're back and doing better. I am really blogging any more but will definitely keep up with yours. Glad you are now in a much better place!

scrapper al said...

Glad to see you're back and hope that 2014 rocks for you! I was like EcoCatLady and cleaning out the blog list, but I couldn't bear to delete you. I even thought about writing to you to see how you were doing, but I didn't want to be stalkerish.

Demandra said...

O&G! No mas blogging? BOO. But then again, twins. So, yeah.

Scrapper al, I love stalkers! :P

Jackie said...

I'm still here too, and glad you're back! Hope 2014 goes significantly better for you than 2013.

Janeen said...

Just found you again, and glad you found your way back. Sounds like a year of progress for you, and progress is never linear.

I want to form my own state, just so I can use "Calm the fuck down" as the state slogan on license plates.

Demandra said...

It's so nice to see you again, Janeen! Let's see if we can make Calm the Fuck Down a national slogan? :P