December Level Up

It’s nearly been a year since my first post on this blog, in which I discussed a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction with my life. In some ways, not much has changed. I am still working in the same field, for the same company (albeit for slightly more money), and feeling pretty much the same bland resignation regarding my career. I have not travelled – seriously adventured – since 2016. I struggle every day with my anxiety disorder, but feel like I’m still doing pretty well without medication.

In other ways, my life has gained new depth and beauty. The biggest push for me this year was to force myself to try new things and take bigger chances. I explored somewhat hedonistic avenues which I had always been too much of a “good girl” (read: scaredy cat) to explore. I gave myself permission to say “no” when I wanted to, and to stand my ground in the face of peer pressure. I also reaffirmed that it was OK to stay home when I felt like it, but almost always worth it to make the effort to go on spur-of-the-moment adventures. Most of all, I accepted that fear will always be there, but it doesn’t mean I have to stop living. From taking pottery classes, to Chorus Girl dancing, to learning Spanish, to negotiating the salary that I wanted at my new position, 2019 has in a number of ways been a bold year.

It’s also been a sad year. My dad died quite suddenly on March 28th. He’d been ill, but no one expected this. The aftermath of his passing has been strange for me. I was hysterical at first, but after those first hours, I was methodical, measured, strategic. There were so many details, and so little time – another day at work for an event planner. It was weeks before I felt properly able to grieve his passing, but the strange ebb and flow of emotion in relation to his death has been confusing. Also shocking is the amount of memories that have been dredged back up. It’s amazing how little we can understand about how our parents shape our personalities and beliefs.

When I was a child, we were very close, but by the time my father died, he was one of the most difficult and frustrating relationships in my life. Just thinking about having to talk to him amped my anxiety up to 11. I frequently spent our phone calls silently sobbing as he talked, feeling such sorrow with my inability to be myself with him. When he died, I felt ashamed that there was a sense of relief – suddenly I could be myself all the time. There’s no one else in my life that I have to bite my tongue with, or hide my opinions from. It’s been months, but now I can look back on our larger relationship and see both the beautiful parts of me that came from him, and the not-so-great parts that sprung from being the only daughter of a very complex, depressed, overburdened man.

After he died, I was derailed somewhat. I’ve had writer’s block for a couple of years now, but it feels stronger these last months since he left. For awhile, I felt like I was slowly sinking, with not much to keep me steady. But gradually, it began to improve. My newest goal is to honor his memory truthfully, and make sure that I don’t make his mistakes. I will take care of my health, be honest with my family, and never, ever give up.

Of all of the happy things that I’ll remember about this year, one stands out above all the rest. I’ve met someone important.

One of the most interesting bits that I wrote in last year’s post was, “When it comes right down to it, I don’t believe that I’ll meet a man who will really care about me, or be capable of being a decent life partner.” My goal at that point was to stop looking for love from the outside, and to concentrate on loving myself. Turns out that maybe I was on to something.

A few months later, after starting to work on myself more, one night I had a dream (posted here, on my other blog). In it, I met a man who handled political events, and was throwing an election-night party for a politician who was not going to win at the polls. When the man and I met, we started talking, and he explained that even though his boss had lost the election, he had a good idea of what to do next. His demeanor was so calm, collected, and cheerful, even though he was headed into uncertain territory. It was really impressive. He suggested that it was time to leave the party, and that he and I should go out on the town. I didn’t know him, and though I liked his curly hair and the way his eyes crinkled, he wasn’t exactly my type. But there was something so appealing in his confidence, and how he made me comfortable and cared for, so I took a chance and said yes. The last thing I remember in the dream was the car arriving to take us on our date, and him opening the car door for me. I woke with a feeling that he and I were important to each other, a team.

Looking back, I believe the dream was my psyche giving me insight into the personality I need in a partner. I didn’t keep a checklist and start looking for a man who fit this bill. But when I met someone who showed the right signs, I sure as hell grabbed that lifeline. Just like in my dream, the connection was instant and effortless, and the amount of care he’s shown me has broken my heart open. He even holds the car door for me. He’s pretty damn amazing, and it took no time for me to find that I was fully invested, and that we were on the same page. We speak the same language, but more importantly, I know without a doubt that we are both hard workers who can be depended on to put in the effort. I’ve been in love before, but it was always uncertain and frightening. I thought that was what I was supposed to feel, but I was wrong. I see that now.

So what now? I’ve spent the last two months pouring the foundation of a partnership, and I feel like things are solid enough for me to actively turn an eye back to bettering myself. It’s time to get back to some basics, and round out the year with two victories:

  1. Lose weight – Get back to 161 lbs. by December 31st by following a lazy keto diet, intermittent fasting, and exercising daily. I’m allowed to cheat for the various work gatherings and friends’ holiday parties. (Starting weight: 168.8 lbs.) Since he’s really awesome and supportive, Dan is doing this with me.
  2. Finish Reading List – Every year I try to read 52 books, and most years I fail. This year I’m going to succeed. I’m only 7 books away from victory, so I’m going to get to work finishing half-read books from now until December 31st. I’ve read mostly fluff this year; if you want to see the list, here you go.

I’ll keep you posted on how everything goes. I’m optimistic.

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