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08 February 2010

Change Change Change. What has changed for you within the past year? How'd it go? [More:]I am in a little bit of a mourning period as I prepare to move out of my apartment of the last 5 years. It has been a cozy and happy home, and I've truly loved living in my local area. It is where I really became an adult and found a useful niche and learned to enjoy and contribute to community life. Even though we are moving to a really lovely new apartment in a really lovely new community in a town I really like with an arts scene and a local food scene and a beach, there's a wistfulness that comes with change. I am sure this change will go well, but it is a change nonetheless, worth recognizing.

What's changed for you? Have you adapted? Was it a good change or a bad change? One you chose, or one that came about that was outside your control? What is your relationship with change like? Are there any changes you plan to make soon?
Excellant post.

The biggest change in the past year was throwing Mr V out of my house. Finding my last straw, summoning the courage to pack up all of his clothes, calling him at work and telling him to pick them up and that he wasn't welcome in my house any was so out-of-character for me. I am not a forceful person most times; it takes a lot for me to snap.

What amazed me most, and continues to do so, is how much happier I became. And this took most of last year, as Mr. V and I "tried to work on things", but later I found out that he was lying to me for most of that, too. Once the end was determined, a peace descended over me that really took me by surprise. My kids are happier; my relationships with my stepkids actually improved. I had no idea how sad my life had become, how much I'd wrapped myself around my husband and his needs, until it was removed. The hole left by his leaving hurt, but it's healing, and in it's place is a strength I didn't know I had. I am proud of myself for my inner strength.

This has been a great change. I've found my happiness again. And much to my surprise, I found happiness in a new relationship as well. My life is so much better than it's been in the last three years. This kind of change I welcome with open arms!
posted by redvixen 08 February | 11:44
Wow, vixy, I had no idea! I hope you can make it back to IRC someday and get back in touch with the rest of us. =)

So much has changed for me in the past year, but almost all of it psychological. I am no longer who I was. But I never was. What has changed is that now I'm okay with that.
posted by Eideteker 08 February | 11:59
All my changes have been bad ones.
posted by JanetLand 08 February | 12:08
I moved out of my parents house (and bought an adorable condo) which has helped me finally start working on things that make my brain less likely to be all 'plz die now'. I eat (mostly) real food that I actually cook! I no longer subsist on prepackaged coffee cakes, Lunchables, and dry Frosted Flakes. I've taken up dance classes, which make me quite happy. I've finally started real school to become a librarian, which is what I've been wanting to do for a while and was just getting repeatedly smacked down by shit from the past.

I've come to terms and dealt with some ugliness that I had just kinda been pushing away in my brain because I couldn't deal with it. I've realized some things about my life and my family that are going to become a very big deal in the next few years and create some (hopefully) even bigger changes.
posted by sperose 08 February | 12:17
I moved to a new apartment, and the downside of that is that I no longer live right in town, and I can't walk to (and more importantly, from) the bars anymore or walk to friends' places or to the many summer events and festivals for which it is impossible to find parking. However, the upside far outweighs the down: I am in a MUCH larger place, with an actual kitchen (Two ovens! A fridge with an actual freezer and icemaker! A dishwasher!) and a washer/dryer! And a spare room because of...

Another thing that's changed this year is that my plan to become a single mother by choice has changed from a "someday if I don't meet Mr. Right" to "Alright, now it's time." Part of getting the bigger apartment with the big back yard was in preparation for that. Unless something dramatically changes in my life between now and October, that's when I'm starting the artificial insemination process. Right now I'm shopping for donors, which is super weird but kind of fun. I am so excited about it and impatient to get started. And also kind of terrified, but if I wasn't I'd be crazy.
posted by amro 08 February | 12:37
Is there a polite, funny, non-creepy way to offer to be a donor? What? There isn't? Okay, comment withheld.

Good luck, amro! It's a tough choice to make, but I think you've got what it takes!
posted by Eideteker 08 February | 12:49
Ha, Eideteker, you would not be the first if that makes you feel less creepy.
posted by amro 08 February | 12:50
It does not! But rock on, strong, single, independent woman! Us guys just wanna get witchoo cause of how awesome you are! ;)
posted by Eideteker 08 February | 12:53
Aw, shucks, thanks. Either awesome or insane.
posted by amro 08 February | 12:56
So much has changed for me in the past year, but almost all of it psychological. I am no longer who I was. But I never was. What has changed is that now I'm okay with that.

Care to offer us any crumbs, Eideteker?

Not much changed this year. A few minor realizations, like I'm never ever ever going to be less klutzy, only more, and the discovery that I'm starting to get both crow's feet AND jowls.
posted by Melismata 08 February | 12:57
Oh, I guess a big one was the decision that I will never, ever, ever in my entire life try to take medication for psychological purposes. That bout with Zoloft was easily the scariest two weeks of my life, and totally changed my perspective on how to improve myself. (e.g., chemicals ain't it. And maybe I don't need improving that way.)
posted by Melismata 08 February | 13:03
Well, in the last year, my marriage came to and end, I co-habited with my now ex for 11 months, and then moved into a wicked new (old!) house. I'm about 4 months into it, and some days I'm just terribly sad. I really do think it's for the best, and the girls are doing really well, which is sort of what matters to me most, but at the same time, fuck man, I didn't want this in my life. I miss the girl I married and don't much like who she's become.

Last night, after she picked up the girls, my house felt so freaking empty. Today, I'm just SAD.

I'm still processing it all, and I kind of think that this dip in spirits 4 months along seems to make sense. Long enough to move into the new life, and settle just enough to really notice what's missing, etc.

Rationally, I do know it's for the best, I am pretty confident that better things lie ahead. But, dammit, I miss my girls. I miss them a lot when they aren't with me. BOO.

On the upside? Well, I'm learning that I can make decisions without input (I really was a little incapable at first! My default was just to ask my ex what she thought!). My finances are, so far, in MUCH better shape now that I'm only having to break one person's poor habits. Also, I'm trying to embrace this time to myself, and embark on new things. I tend to love a good rut, so it's a challenge, but I'm doing it. So, some good has been coming of it as well.

Still. Dammit, I miss my girls. Gah.
posted by richat 08 February | 13:04
Through complete and total luck I fell into a career change that turned out to be exactly what I wanted to do.
posted by gaspode 08 February | 13:05
I moved into a studio apartment in June and now live alone for the first time and I love it! One very good relationship ended on friendly terms in Spring and another great one began in Fall.
I feel like I am getting closer and closer to perfect in the relationship department, and this was the year I finally realized that a kind and good person is the bare minimum of what I should look for in a partner and that there are a lot of decent people out there, and that it is not something rare that you have to cling to when you find a nice guy.

Same job, same bunny. Discovering that I am really not happy at work and taking small steps to make it better.
posted by rmless2 08 February | 13:09
I guess things have been up and down for me for a long time, but I've never felt so whipped and beaten as I have this past year. I'm sure my mom's death has a lot to do with that, and maybe actually since it's been about a year and therefore thoughts of loss have been plaguing me for the past couple weeks, my answer is tainted by how much I miss her, but there it is.

I've never had much direction in life; I feel like I have less than ever now. I've never felt like I was promised anything, like a good life or happiness or whatever, but this year has been a convergence of me, internally, throwing my hands up at the futility and hopelesness of my own life and the world, externally, betraying every standard decent principle I learned as a kid. I mean, it used to be that people would ride me about being American, say, and I'd kinda grin and say yeah, sure I can see how you'd think we suck, don't you wish you sucked like we do; greed was always an ugly aspect to factor into all the good promises of American government and society. Now it's the only thing there is, and these greedy forces have destroyed pretty much everything I loved about my country, and they've done it in a way that there's really no turning back or going forward, just more of this morass of greed; and even worse, it seems most of my compatriots have bought the line that things were always this way. Goodbye, hope.

I recently read Guy de Maupassant's memoir, Afloat, and came to the conclusion that he was crazy in exactly the same way I'm crazy, lurching from all-consuming love for the world and all its bits, into the darkest despair imaginable. It's a comfort to look into a book and see a reflection of yourself, even if the reflection is loopy as hell.

And with that in mind, maybe what I've experienced over this past year isn't a change, really, but an intensification of feelings I've always had, to the point where the worst or most self-destructive aspects of my personality have leapt to the front. I'm back to feeling like I'm kept alive by my feelings for the the people I love, not the love I feel for myself. Everything is pretty futile.

I'm living a Smokey Robinson song, laughing and cracking wise and stuffing how I feel way down into my gut, where it can fester in peace. That's not really any change, I've always done that. In good times, that's sustainable. Bad times are here, and the habits I've nurtured for my whole life were poor preparation.

I say hope is gone, but that's not quite true. I hope, if I'm asked again in a year, that I've changed for the better; I hope I can do the hard work it takes to relieve my darkest feelings, I hope I can come to terms with at least some of what plagues me, I hope my country and the world can improve our common lot, I hope this hope grows in me and reawakens my heart. Maybe just taking the time to honestly answer this question, to really look at how I feel, is a start. This paragraph holds more hope than I've felt all year.
posted by Hugh Janus 08 February | 13:10
I was able to get back into the reserves, made a switch from 10 years of intel (at times incredibly lame, rare others actually interesting) to a job where I basically get to wander around and fix things. Which I am good at; and have quite a bit of autonomy in doing, particularly in a military context.

Along the way I got a professional license for my civilian side job, and also my EPA Type III universal for HVAC.

All this followed my move from Texas to Colorado; which seems to be a lot of what and where I moved from Texas was 20 years ago. Sans humidity, of course.

It has all been a lot of work; but for the first time in a long time it has been and is work that is paying off in several ways: finances, career progression, and overall feelings of ?maturity? and growth. This maturity thing is kinda scary. I mean; what if I start acting all adult like and what not? Worlds collide.
posted by buzzman 08 February | 13:10
Aw, shucks, thanks. Either awesome or insane.

You can't be the former without a dose of the latter. At least, I hope so, cause that's my formula.

Care to offer us any crumbs, Eideteker?

I actually have MOFB (journal, really) which may shed some more light. I'm never sure how much to share here, or how much to just be like, "Let me not flood the community with the minutia of my life." But I have a pretty open-door policy on my brain. I always encourage people to ask. The problem for me, right now, is how to define where I am. I'm more self-confident, less depressed (clinically, from a symptomatic viewpoint), and I've shed a lot of the bullshit inherited from my parents. Kind of trying to become my own person right now. Live life to the fullest, that sort of thing.
posted by Eideteker 08 February | 13:16
A couple of weeks ago I decided that having all my photos online wasn't doing it and I needed photo albums. Thus I ended up ordering around 600 prints and putting them into old fashioned albums, which took forever and was really good for me in that I got to examine each of the past three years in detail. To sum up:

2007 was a completely insane roller coaster in which I had a starter taste of bereavement and which I thought was a terrible year UNTIL I hit

2008 which was the worst year of my life and I hope to gods I don't believe in that there will never be another one like it. Let's sum it up in order of appearance: Heartache, breakup, plague of rats, giant family upheaval (aunt having stroke & moving down here to be cared for), loss of mother, moving x3, concomitant giant legal drama with buying house, more gigantic family drama - my brothers no longer speak to one another and probably never will again, son dropping out of school, endless financial crises and, well, that was the year that was and I'm not even putting in the little stuff like plumbing nightmares and car trouble and the flu. It SUCKED.

2009 was a process of recovery from 2008 - a harmless little year in which nothing much changed and I'm so, so okay with that, because I was at my limit. I would say that oddly enough, I finally reached full adulthood in the middle of my forties. Part of that, I think, is that I don't really welcome change anymore - I'm afraid of it now. I'm all about the boring and peaceful.

And I'm alright with where I am now for the most part although whoa, I'm so settled these days and that's a little eerie. I was looking around my house last night and thinking, you know, this is it. This is the rest of my life - just me and this house and the dogs. Sometimes that gets me down. I'm coming to terms, slowly, with the fact that statistically and almost certainly, my love life ended a while back and isn't going to start up again. That can bring me down a bit, as does the thought that I will probably end up working at my job until I die or the place goes under, whichever comes first. But I'll get over it - if I have learned one thing in the last 18 months it's that I am a whole lot tougher than I thought I was - I can handle pretty much anything and survive relatively sane or at least still laughing. There's a lot of comfort in that thought.
posted by mygothlaundry 08 February | 13:35
I'm hugging everyone who misses somebody. It's hard. Richat, how long will your ex have the girls?
posted by iconomy 08 February | 13:53
The relationship I was in came to its natural end, and he's still my best friend - no rancour or recriminations, no bitterness. A little sadness, but mostly because of something being over and us both knowing it. Being single is horrible though, and I'm so shy that doing something to change that situation is very hard for me.

I changed my environment - completely redecorated my flat, only to have it ruined on Christmas Eve by a flood. But the insurance claim has been approved, so I can reinstate the changes that made me so happy.

Work-related, I've taken a step towards something which will be amazing if it comes off. If it doesn't, then my present position remains unaffected. I'm lucky that I really like my job. Like gaspode and her job, I really fit this little niche and am really good at what I do. I just wish I got paid more for doing it so well ...
posted by essexjan 08 February | 14:19
In five years? More than I ever thought - these are such busy years. I look at myself a decade ago and... it's like it all happened to someone else, not me. I'm so far away from where I was.

I feel I'm all full-grown-adult now. I feel I'm riding out whatever's thrown at me fairly okay. There have been ups and downs but the overall trend is up, so I'm good with that. Changes stress me out though, even good ones. And right now I'm in a big crazy period of change that probably won't be over for a while.

My thoughts to everyone feeling low in this thread, and my hope that changes for the better.
posted by flex 08 February | 14:29
My only major changes in the last year were in employment. I started out unemployed, got a job, quit after six months and started at another. Now I'm not sure if I want to stay working here and am starting to realize that all jobs suck. Other than that, things in my life have been pretty stable and boring. (That's a good thing).
posted by octothorpe 08 February | 14:49
Hey AMRO - you should get in touch if you ever want to talk single-mama stuff. I became a single parent by choice 7 years ago, and have a lot of friends who have done the same. Good luck!
posted by serazin 08 February | 14:53
What an excellent post.

About this time last year, I was 3 months out of my PhD and in a new exciting postdoc. The past year I have struggled with professional anxiety, given a lot of thought about how I engage in relationships (both romantic and otherwise) and challenged myself to either be happy with or change how I approach everything in my life.

To that end I have been seeing an amazing therapist who has helped me think through and figure out a lot of questions. So I can say that right now I feel much more like an adult and infinitely more clear about what I want from my life. I have found a way to deal with my regrets, learn from mistakes and move forward with great optimism. In some ways I feel like I have finally figured out who I am.

Many of the things I worried about this time last year are still around, but I feel much more capable of approaching them. I have always disliked change. But in retrospect, change has always been good. Change has always brought new and wonderful people into my life. At this point I don't really fear it that much.
posted by special-k 08 February | 14:54
Richat, hugs dude. Your girls are lucky to have such an awesome dad.
posted by special-k 08 February | 14:57
that's rough mygothlaundry. hugs for everyone.
posted by Firas 08 February | 15:46
Thanks you's not so bad, really, all things considered. I've heard so many tales of awful custody battles. We alternate one week on, one week off. The off weeks just start off REALLY quiet, and sucky at times is all.
posted by richat 08 February | 15:46
Serazin, your email address isn't in your profile... Can you send me an email at the address in my profile? I would love to talk SMC stuff with you!
posted by amro 08 February | 15:49
I've been aware of many of these changes, but seeing them all fleshed out together with such thought and compassion and detail - I feel for all of you that have recently undergone upheaval and change, positive and negative, and as it seems to usually be the case - both. Take care of yourselves as best you can.

I changed to gmail, finally, and I'm going to make sure my info is updated in the wiki.

I like gmail.
posted by rainbaby 08 February | 16:03
I thought that with my move to Boston, I would begin my post-disability life as a carefree single-and-50 kinda guy. However, my ex then pulled her stunt and suddenly I became the primary caregiving parent overnight necessitating the move to Fresno CA, a soulless pit of a city.

The biggest change however was the realization that I absolutely must walk away from anything that sniffs of moderate stress: physical, emotional or intellectual. My heart is too far gone. It may tolerate a few stents in the future, but more likely I will be on a transplant list instead.

Another significant change is I have lost my taste for fiction. I need a plot-driven story and I have read so many that no plot twist is new to me. Also, my taste in music has moved toward instrumentals over vocals, although I still enjoy a power pop song with a great hook. Then again, I consider "Anarchy in the UK" to be power pop. heheh
posted by Ardiril 08 February | 16:28
I have accidentally deleted two long comments in this thread today. . .crap.

Can't bring myself to do it again.

No changes, I guess. . .*sigh*
posted by danf 08 February | 16:30
I quit my job last summer, moved from one country to another, and went 'back to school' to do an MSc. So far it's going OK.
posted by misteraitch 08 February | 18:58
I bought a house and fell in love. Big, big year here.
posted by Stewriffic 08 February | 19:22
I left a work environment that was stimulating but keeping me spinning my wheels a bit and traded up to a position a little distance away from the old one geographically but so much further away in how happy and challenged I am. Given the peculiarities of language and culture involved, work is currently the center of my life - financial, social, emotional, the whole deal - and I couldn't ask for more from anyone except myself.

I have been thrilled to become, recognizably, much better at what I do. I train others and share advice and connect people with what they need, which totally fulfills something deep inside me that I didn't know I needed to let - or even could let - blossom.

A lot of people who do what I do, I think, do it to run away from something, or to get away from some bad juju in their pasts, or to reinvent themselves, or to just have a break. But many of us, I have realized, are here for a career, and the thought of being able to keep doing this for a longish time amazes me.

I think I said a while back that I'd found my niche, and though this past 12 months have involved some niche-tweaking, I'm still in it.

Also, I've dated a bit recently, which has taken, oh, four years. Turns out leaving the country every June basically forever never makes it easy to make connections. :)
posted by mdonley 08 February | 19:31
Not a whole lot changed for me except a couple things.

It took me a while but I finally came to the final conclusion I cannot help my Mum out of the misery she is in; she can only help herself.

I started taking Seroquel in September (?) and that's really helped me out of a depression I hadn't realized was as deep as it was.

Also getting the volunteer moderation job in December has really been fun. I've been offered the opportunity to get paid for it, but even if that doesn't happen, I'll still have fun. And who's to say the opportunity won't come around again?
posted by deborah 08 February | 23:00
Well, I got a new job (just over a year, but near enough) that I really enjoy and that will hopefully put me in a good position when we get taken over by the feds at the end of the year.

Oh, also, I apparently got single. Just now, tonight. That's not so good. In fact, it sucks a lot. Been a long time since something made me cry.
posted by dg 09 February | 07:59
*hugs dg*

I really don't know if anything has changed for me in the last year other than the fact that I am more aware of my flaws and perhaps that's a good thing. However, there's still a switch in my head that gets flipped so that whenever the slightest thing goes wrong, a voice keeps telling me, "YOU TOTALLY SUCK, IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT, YOU HAVE TO WORK TWICE AS HARD TO MAKE IT UP, YOU COULD HAVE PREVENTED IT BUT YOU DIDN'T, YOU'RE GOING TO GET FIRED, PEOPLE WILL HATE YOU, YOU HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE PERSON!"

It's been six years since I moved to the East Coast and despite the fact that I got a raise over the summer and it feels like my boss is supporting me more, I still feel as if my life here has been nothing but a total failure because I'm still single, I'm still not published, I still suck at housekeeping, etc.

But at least I've gotten a little better at budgeting. (AND IT TOOK YOU SIX YEARS TO LEARN HOW TO DO THAT, WHY WERE YOU SO STUBBORN BEFORE.... ETC.)
posted by TrishaLynn 09 February | 08:38
Oh, dg, I'm really sorry.
posted by gaspode 09 February | 09:01
This has been fascinating. Thanks for the glimpses into so many lives. Change is hard, even good change. And I'm so sorry for some of the losses and relationship changes people are experiencing or have recently gone through. I can only hope that the pain associated with that now will give way to a future, greater happiness. Mgl, don't write off your love life; I have a couple of friends in their early 60s who have recently started wonderful new relationships. And congratulations to those whose acts of bravery or strokes of luck have led to good and welcome changes. Enjoy them! Life deals good and bad cards to all of us - enjoy the good ones for all they're worth - you deserve them as much as anyone, and the great joy you draw from them will help you bear with the occasional hardships that will come along, too.
posted by Miko 09 February | 10:19
I'm sorry, dg.
posted by box 09 February | 10:58
Sometimes I think that if only I hadn't changed and managed to stay afloat while all around me went negative then I could weather the changes much better. If only was I the same strong person I used to be.

But, the basis of the world we had created for ourselves vanished and, now, I am no longer the same person who could look at adversity as something to simply persevere and overcome. I currently struggle most days to keep going. When Tom became ill, we just knew it was temporary. Not so.

I had made one good change for myself after 4 years of not coming to terms with it: I started therapy. It was so slow since I could not drop the wall I created between me and the complete terror and emptiness that I see as a part of accepting the total devastation. One move towards looking after myself was quite difficult. It meant that some part of me wanted to keep going. How curious the instinct for survival....

Change is now what I need. Positive change. Being laid off meant that therapy had to go. I am pretending that things are fine and pretending to make progress; but until I can take some leap of faith, I'm afraid that will never happen. I'm afraid that I don't want it to happen.

Enough about me. (now you see why I've become quiet on metachat. I'm Debby Downer.) Y'all are a great bunch of folks.

Hugs and wuffles to all who need it and to those who don't think they do!
Hugs and congrats to those who earned the kudos and to those who don't think they deserve it!

posted by mightshould 09 February | 12:10
I feel like my life's been nothing but change for the past three or four years, since going back to grad school, and then moving away from San Francisco a year and a half ago and trying to get started in a brand-new new career in a brand-new place.

In the past year, professionally: I realized that I couldn't maintain enough balance working as a grief counselor, that it triggered not only my own grief but also my anxiety about getting "stuck" in a job that's just a repetitive loop of sameness (I had this same problem with working as a tour guide). I'm still working on finishing up my work with the hospice, and just knowing that it's ending has been a huge weight off my shoulders. I also started doing more jack-of-all-trade therapy work at another agency, and found a supervisor who is my absolute dream supervisor; I feel like I'm growing a great deal as a therapist working with her, because she 100% supports me but also is willing to 100% challenge me. And my clients, though sometimes frustratingly flaky, have also been for the most part inspiring teachers. I feel like I'm getting much closer to finding my "voice" as a therapist, and to being able to hold realistic goals for what my clients and I can achieve together.

And I just started training for volunteer work at a rape crisis center (which I do hope I can parlay into supervised therapy work, eventually), which is exciting. I thought the idea of it would freak me out a bit, but the more I learn, the more excited I am to do the work, which is the first time I've felt this way about crisis work, which I avoided like the plague at hospice.

Romantic relationship-wise, I got engaged, which is awesome. We're still far enough away from the actual wedding that panic has not yet set in, but there's still a big shift there. Platonic-relationship-wise, I moved away from all my friends, and am still struggling a bit with how to reach out and make new local ones and how to reach out and keep old non-local ones (damned introvert tendencies).

Personally, I discovered that my seasonal affective disorder had really turned into a year-round affective disorder without my really realizing it, and I started treatment for that, which has improved everything immensely, cuz it was a little scary there for a while. I feel like I am myself again, after several years of not really realizing that I hadn't been myself. And my gratitude toward those who stuck around through that process is staggeringly immense, and humbling.
posted by occhiblu 09 February | 14:09
posted by redvixen 09 February | 14:57
I can echo the sentiments of many in this thread by saying that yes, for me this past year (well, 18-24 months, really) represents some of the biggest upheavals I've had so far in my life.

Professionally, I'm now going on 2 years settled into what looks to be a real career niche. I'm taking classes in things like records management and some doing some CE required credits in legal administration. This is a huge change for the old me, the "career temp" who refused to commit to any one position.

Location wise... well, I've moved 7 times within the past 5 years. Each move was intended to be "for keeps", well except for the 2nd to last one, which was a temporary situation with friends, which leads to...

Partner wise, sometime in late summer / early fall of 2008, it became painfully apparent that neither my locale nor my relationship was dovetailing well with my career or my emotional well-being. There were long, tortured discussions about priorities and compromise, a bit of drama, and ultimately I made the hard choice to split up - both for the sake of my career, and because the relationship had ultimately proven to have run its course. It really sucked, as it was the first relationship I've ever had where I had to be the "bad guy" and do the dumping. So I threw myself headlong into my new job, determined to once and for all take control of my life path.

While busy with the job thing, and recovering from the breakup whilst enduring that whole "oh, shit, here it is the holiday season and I'm 40 and single..." baggage, one of the guys from my cycling team casually asked me out to a Christmas party with some friends.

On 1 January 2010, we began "officially" living together, and so far, so good. The joke between us, and among our friends, is that ours is the proverbial rebound fling / booty call that by all appearances (and against anyone's better judgement) seems to be working out. He's taught me a lot about taking care of myself, versus living up to others' expectations. Actually, strike that. I knew about that stuff, at least intellectually, beforehand. The difference is I now have a partner who genuinely encourages me to do this stuff for my own benefit, then lets me get on with it (or not) as I choose, rather than making the decisions for me or telling me what to do. Thanks mainly to his good advice and gentle guidance, over the past year I've set up my VERY OWN budget, which has allowed me to stash a fair chunk of savings into my VERY OWN retirement account (whereas before I tended to just untidily spend straight out of checking), and completely and finally paid off the last tag ends of various debt that has been hanging over my head for the bulk of the 2000s. Last month we signed up to take a photography course at CU together, since we both want to develop that aspect of our skillset more.

I've also begun a remedial process of reconnecting with my mother. It's not always easy, but I've finally gotten her convinced that I prefer to communicate via IM (which is true). This makes things easier for both of us, since IM conversations (for us) are a lot easier to manage and much less emotionally freighted than talking on the phone... not to mention she's becoming hard of hearing, so the whole VERBAL CAPSLOCK thing on the phone was omgcrazy-making.

In summary, change is inevitable, but for now I'm cautiously optimistic.
posted by lonefrontranger 09 February | 15:48
oh jesus, dg... I am so very sorry to hear that ((((dg))))
posted by lonefrontranger 09 February | 15:49
It was just about this time last year I lost my job. I decided to use the time to unwind, relax, explore and return to the arts. I started with a renewed exercise program that enabled me to lose 15 pounds and spend most of the spring and summer hiking in the mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. I even climbed Mt. Leconte in Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 2800 feet elevation gain, up and back down in the same day. Not too bad for a 57 year old.

I discovered several dozen trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway and in Pisgah National Forest that took me into the Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wildernesses. The rhododendron and mountain laurel are stunning. The heath bald mountains become spongy in summer with the natural grasses. My legs and lungs have never been better.

In July I spent two weeks in all the Utah National Parks including a long desired hike in The Narrows of Zion Canyon, an experience I'll never forget - absolutely beautiful, and spiritual. Cedar Breaks and Bryce Canyon were lovely and awesome as always, and I discovered the back way into Arches that enabled a visit to the Klondike Bluffs. Capitol Reef is still America's best kept national park secret. Shhh, don't tell.

I had lots of time to read and made a project of reading each of the last 15 Pulitzer Prize winners in fiction. There was some really great stuff by some great young writers. My favorites were Junot Diaz and Michael Chabon. I took the digital camera with me everywhere I went and finally created a Flickr photostream to keep them.

By early Fall, I decided it was probably time to get back to work so I took a part-time four-day-a-week job with an online retailer. The pay is better than that job I lost last February. How about that. I am working with four others who are all 30 years younger than me. I love that because they help keep me feeling young. They are all enjoyable personalities and we have a great little group going.

If you can imagine, I am even happier than I was before this past year began. I have really been blessed over the past five years and life just continues to get even better and better. I have never been more joyful, more content, healthier, and serene. Ch-ch-ch-changes.
posted by netbros 09 February | 19:11
Wow, netbros, I love your photostream. Really stunning work. It's also great and inspiring to hear what you've done in the past year. Nice work all around!
posted by Hugh Janus 09 February | 20:39
Thanks for the kind words Hugh. I really have enjoyed this past year and look forward to the next.
posted by netbros 09 February | 23:15
Vidal Loco || EmCee Update # eleventy-five quatrillion, now with broccoli rabe recipes!