Bloggers Note: Have you ever sat down to write one thing and it turned into something else entirely? This post was going to be called "Resolving to Be Chronically Awesome" and, well... you'll see. I guess it's my year in review. Thank you for endulging me. Jules
I said at this time last year that I am not a resolution person. I am a smaller goal person. I find smaller, attainable goals much more realistic for me, personally. This has nothing to do with being ill, this has to do with being Jules. I have never been very good at far reaching, long term goals. Once I saved up several thousand dollars to help with the down payment for my home. That was a miracle in my world, but it really took some doing. It took the kind of discipline that is not really present in my personality. BUT, it was something that simply HAD to be done. Living the way I was living was no longer an option.
For me, it takes things being "no longer an option" to really kick my ass in gear. So, unless I have something like that going on, the big, far-reaching goals are not for me. I am ok with that. I have accepted that as part of who I am. I have adapted. I have learned to set short to mid-range goals that I know, with a bit of pushing I can get to. And when I reach them, I feel really good. That good feeling allows me to set the next goal with motivation to succeed.
Last year at this time I had just lost my grandmother. I was severely depressed, and my agoraphobia was hitting new highs (or lows?). I created "Project Out Of The House". I decided that once per day I had to leave the house. I did very well at first. Then I was hit and miss. That project went in fits and starts. It all really depended on my depression more than my physical illness. It also depended on my schedule with my husband. If I did not go out in the day, it was almost a given, when I was depressed that we would go out in the evening. That is because my depression would lead to not cooking. Not cooking would lead to the nightly meal hunt. We would then end up in a restaurant somewhere. Still, the goal was to get out of the house on my own, so really I wasn't meeting the challenge.
The year changed rather dramatically when I started working on projects in LA. The job was fifty miles from home. First, I had a fear of driving, and my employer was kind enough to put me on the train, in business class, to get me to the job once or twice a week. When things got hectic I would stay in a hotel. Staying alone in a strange place was hard for me, but I found a way to do it. The train ride was hard at times, but I did not do it for long. The stress of the LA side of the trip was where the problem was. That train station was INSANE, and there were times I had to be walked, with my head down and nearly flat against the station walls all the way into the train because of my anxiety.
It was time to drive.
And drive I did. And I did it well. And more often.
Project Out Of The House was back in full force. I was a girl about town. Two counties in fact. And when I was home, I was on the phone often. Another fear of mine, the telephone. When my husband and I were both home and working I would use my earphones and walk the neighborhood taking my calls. I would walk for an hour at a time.
So what does this have to do with setting goals for this year? Well, I will tell you. My life was changing, rapidly. It was going in a very different direction than where it had been. I was becoming (gasp): active.
Rather suddenly, the life that had become stagnant and depressing due to job loss, illness, the loss of my grandmother, and the subsequent depression was becoming perpetual motion. I had accidentally met my goal and didn't even notice it. That meant I needed a new goal, but that too hit me unawares, so I was just going and going with no real direction, no target. I wasn't sure what I was aiming at, what I wanted to do with all of this movement.
Then the shit hit the fan. And that brings me to now. I am going to skip over a bunch of things you may already know or have surmised if you read my blog on the regular.
Here's the thing. I am sitting on my couch, in Playa Vista. It's a little town in Los Angeles. I am watching someone I live with, who is not my husband, pack up the Christmas decorations. Fifty miles away, in Laguna Niguel is a stack of boxes I need to pick up. They have been packed over two weekends by my housekeeper in Orange County. All of my belongings. Things collected over the years and combined with the belongings of my husband. Things that had to be separated out into what's mine and what's his. Some things were "ours", and decisions had to be made. The decisions were easy, he gave me anything and everything I wanted. Anything that wasn't attached to the physical home that was his before I ever met him.
The perpetual motion, combined with the complications of my chronic illness became too much for the marriage to bare. It's done. Not without a valiant last effort, however it's done. Somehow, oddly enough, he and I are closer now. We laugh together more than we have in a long time. I don't know how long that will last, but I am here, and he is there and Christmas was really hard.
I have lost much this year, again. A marriage, a home, a daughter (long story), confidence in many things, some of my health: both physical and mental. I have kept things. I have friends and family, my dogs (my little fuzzy lifesavers), and you (all of you!). I have gained many things. A foundation, a new business, a new little home and a random little family. I have a new city to discover, should I choose. I have a new therapist, a new diagnosis and treatment which means while some health was lost, some was gained.
What I lost in a husband I gained in a friend.
I do believe that what could be looked at as a bad year could also be looked at as a transition year. A year of change, a year of movement. Perpetual motion is not always a downward spiral. Motion can be spinning ones wheels, or moving forward. I have spent much time spinning my wheels, getting nowhere. Just creating rubber meets road, ugly skids that went in very tiny directions left, then right, then left again. Now I have gone a direction. It is my choice now to make this direction a positive one.
So, what am I going to do this shiny new year? Small goals. Attainable goals. Goals I can reach that motivate me to make new goals. I do have a few "meet them or else goals". I have made a leap, and I have to believe that the safety net will appear. I have taken some big risks, but they are worthy risks.
I have started a foundation. I have taken this beautiful and exciting Chronically Awesome Community to the next level. Of course, I cannot do this on my own. I need all of you. To make this work I have to have faith and trust in what I know is true: Chronically Awesome works. I know that when I believe in me, when I know that I can make positive life choices that move me forward, even tiny ones, I feel better. I know that others feel it, and believe it too.
I have started a business. My partner Brian, and I work very hard, and are already seeing successes. We are proud of what we do, and in a short amount of time we have had enough work to have had to hire temporary employees and contractors to help us. I consider that a good sign. We are busy, and busy is good for me. We are considering, on the advice of my therapist that I work only three days a week. That might be a good idea. Based on our success, we need a new strategic plan. Our larger than imagined success means that this quiet holiday time is a good time to sit down and evaluate what is next. Wham: Goal.
I am going to try cooking again. I have not been cooking, and that is a huge love of mine. So, boom there is a goal. Gotta get cooking.
More walking. Brian has been doing the lion's share of the dog walking. I need the sunlight, I need the exercise. HA: another goal.
Finally: fundraising. The Foundation needs more of my attention. I need to get that website done (poke poke) and start the fundraising in earnest. More members, grant writing etc. I have so many plans for ways to help the Chronically Awesome Community, but they all cost money. Ta Da: last goal. That's plenty. I am done. I don't want to stress myself out.
Business, Foundation, Cooking, Walking.
Other than that, it's to keep the stress to a minimum, the laughter to a maximum, always be grateful, hug the dogs every day.
And of course, Keep Calm and Be Chronically Awesome.