I feel like I got plucked out of my life for a year and just got dropped back into it.
It feels like I've been living some random episode of a science fiction program, or maybe one of those dream sequences like in The Wizard of Oz, where the dream is so intense and so real that you, and only you, are convinced that it actually happened.
So many things are the same ..... so normal again ..... and so many things are different.
A year ago, July, my dad passed away. We were incredibly close and it's still a gaping wound.
A year ago August, my boss ticked me off and I quit my job, just like that. I felt, and still do, that he screwed me over on a bonus check.
A year ago September I borrowed $31000 against my house and opened a bead store. I was still so messed up about my dad that I did not give it an absolute 100%. Maybe the location was bad. Maybe it was the economy. Either way, by the end of December, it had failed.
At the beginning of last December, I decided I had to do something about my emotional eating and weight issues. I was about 220 pounds at that point. I began this blog at the same time.
At the end of December, I closed up my store and moved all my inventory home.
By the end of January, I was unable to find a job and had to apply for welfare to keep us fed.
In February, my oldest daughter moved out to go live with her father. I thought my heart would break in two.
In March, I finally went to the doctor for my depression and anxiety disorder. I had begun to experience such extreme anxiety that I was showing symptoms of agoraphobia. I rarely left the house. I felt like such a failure that I imagined people were scoffing at me, so I just didn't go anywhere that I might run into someone.
In May, I finally found a job and started training at the cesspool. The pay was so low I was still receiving money from welfare.
In June I reached my first goal weight of 165.
I hardly saw my kids all summer. They got to go on the vacation of a lifetime with my mom, who took them on a tour of the western US, including the Grand Canyon. I got a lot of writing done and finished editing my book about emotional eating.
In August I stopped making payments on my house, in order to have the money to move before it gets foreclosed on. My current debt load is well over $200,000.
Now, it's September again. I am back at my old workplace, with all of my old work friends. I am making a very good living again (or will be once I get a paycheck.)
I've lost so much over the past year. The biggest of those, was of course, my dad. I think of him everyday and wish I could just see him one more time.
It breaks my heart to lose the house. I look around and see the little things that my dad repaired here and there and it makes me so sad to leave. It's been our home for 4 years and I was so proud of buying it on my own.
I "lost" Chloe when she moved in with her dad.
I found some things too. I found that I had the inner resources to actually write a book - whether it gets published, we will see. I have a busy blog that I love writing. I lost a ton of weight and found my health. I found my inner jock that loves going to the gym, going hiking and trying new things. I found loads of new friends online that I feel as close to as anyone in "real" life.
Was this all some grand karmic experiment so that I could learn a valuable lesson? It all seems so surreal.
I really feel the hand of something Divine in all that has happened. I know I will never underestimate the power grief can have over your life. I feel blessed that no matter how bad things got, we never went without necessities - food, shelter, utilities.
One thing I've learned is that it can all change in the blink of an eye. There is no such thing as real security. A single bad decision can cartwheel through your life and take it all away. Real security comes from within, knowing that it is not the material things that are important, and knowing that you will be able to provide that next meal for your family.
I think the biggest lesson of all, though, is to appreciate the blessings and good things in life without always wanting more.
It's great to always strive for more or better, but only if you can also be happy with where you are. There is a fine line of motivation there. Many cannot work hard to improve themselves if they are happy. They just go with the status quo.
The real trick is to grasp what you have, love it, and enjoy it. Then try to do more just because you can - not because then you can get a nicer car, a bigger mortgage, or pay off the debt you racked up trying to buy your happiness or keep up with the Joneses.
I wasted years of my life by lacking appreciation for what I had. Now I feel I can be motivated without having to be unhappy to fuel my efforts. I want to do a good job because I feel accomplishment when I do so. I want to write because I love to write and I have experiences that I think can help other people. Mostly, I want to get off the hamster wheel and just smile because I feel good.
If there is one thing I can pass on to my daughters, I pray that it can be this lesson.