1. I changed jobs and it changed my life
I started out as unemployed at the beginning of the year after leaving a very toxic job after 9 years. (For the record, the job did not start as toxic, but sadly ended up very much that way.) It was heartbreaking to leave and I think a lot of people thought I was insane for leaving a job that paid so well and had great benefits. Despite it being the right thing to do from a moral and a health standpoint, it was an incredibly scary period of my life, and there were so many times I questioned whether I did the right thing. I worked at a winery for a period of time to blow off steam, then decided to focus on finally finding a job that was the right fit for me.
Then it happened, this summer I was able to get a job this year at the company where Eric works, and it's honestly a dream situation. It's the type of job people told me doesn't exist anymore: there's no pressure to be fake, there is no jumping through hoops to climb a corporate ladder, and there is work/life balance. I work for 8 hours and go home to my personal life, and there is no laptop/work phone/travel. My boss is a kind person who trusts us to do our work and doesn't breathe down our neck about anything. I don't have to kiss anyone's ass, I can just be myself, work hard and be nice, and it's like I'm the bee's knees. It's absolutely night and day from what I came from, and I am just so absolutely grateful. I shudder when I think about how much precious time I wasted at a job I hated, and how much I let it affect my mental health, physical health and my personal life. Now I come home feeling relaxed and good about myself, my blood pressure is in check, and I haven't been in tears once over this job. Imagine that!
There were so many lessons I learned from leaving my old job. That money definitely is not the key to happiness, that sometimes in life it pays off to be really uncomfortable and scared, and that taking a risk in the name of happiness is always more rewarding than being comfortable with the devil you know.
2. I discovered I'm tougher than I thought
The hits came hard and fast this year between the stress of unemployment, trying to train in the record breaking hottest summer since 2009, constantly being injured and obviously the very heartbreaking situation I've had with my family. I am not going to lie, there were many times this year when I wondered if things were ever going to end and if I'd ever feel happy or normal ever again. Honestly there are still pockets of that here and there, but I am surviving and I am managing to come out on top somewhat!
If I were to be perfectly honest, I wanted nothing more than to bow out of Seattle. My depression was so great and things were such that I just couldn't fathom having to rally and finish my half marathon. But I pushed, and I did it, and I am so immensely proud of that. I didn't back down, I didn't let the bad stuff defeat me, and I have a lovely weekend in Seattle and a PR to show for it.
As a person I feel stronger. I mean there are some days I'm having to "fake it till I make it", but for the most part I didn't let everything that happened completely knock me down. I'm moving forward as best as I know how, and moving forward is always better than standing still or stepping backwards, right?
3. Real, lasting friendships have come into my life this year
The latter part of this year has been crappy, no doubt, but I can't fully wallow. I've met people this year who have unexpectedly become like family to me, and it's oddly become the year of the "internet friend" for me.
I don't make friends easily. I have a difficult time trusting people and fully allowing people past my emotional wall. I tend to keep people at arm's length, a practice which somewhat came crashing down on me once I quit my job. The beginning of the year was hell because I felt so isolated and alone, but then my life changed after joining my Lovely Ladies Facebook group. I truly don't know where I'd be without my Lovely Ladies. I was skeptical about joining the group at first because those types of interactions have just never worked out for me, and the subject of weight loss and fitness tends to make people crazy. Everyone has opinions on what's "right", they judge you and there are inevitably disagreements. Plus there's just the typical "people" type stuff that we humans often disagree on, such as politics/religion/etc. It could have been ugly, but the group has somehow become one of the best things to ever happen to me in my life.
Somehow between the plank challenges, food goals, Star Wars discussions and unanimously agreeing that Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon is totally bangable (ok, Alan Rickman in any context is bangable), something wonderful happened. We all became friends. Really good friends. The support extends far beyond "oh, I want to eat 9 chocolate bars because I'm sad, please talk me out of it" type thing. I don't really know if they know this, but there were times at the beginning of this year where the only people who spoke to me aside from Eric on a daily basis were my Lovely Ladies. When I was my most sad, isolated, lonely, and fearful, I knew I could make a post in the group and at least have some kind of human contact for the day. It truly saved my sanity (and probably Eric's too) during a very scary time when I was unemployed. We've shared some painful issues with one another, we've vented, we've all asked for the other's advice at some point or another and they are the best cheerleaders anyone could ask for. And the best part is, there has never once been judgement from anyone towards the other. Not for our preferred weight loss methods and certainly not for our personal issues. They've done everything for me from vet interview outfits to being a safe place to vent about my family issues. It's truly been one of the best things to happen to me this year. If you'd told me a year ago that I'd have an internet group that I was doing Secret Santa exchanges with and having serious planning/discussions about a group vacation, I would have said you were insane. Yet, here we are, and I am so thankful.
I also must speak of a friend who I've reconnected with this year, one of my dearest friends from high school in fact. We went about 5 or 6 years without speaking, the details surrounding that are honestly not important, but it has always bothered me and weighed on my heart. It truly felt like a piece of my life was missing and finally this year I couldn't bear it anymore. I decided to put my pride away and reach out to her, and amazingly enough she was feeling the exact same way. I feel so thankful and so blessed, and it gives me such joy now to be able to talk with her on a regular basis again. I'd so missed her humor, spirit and our shared geekiness, and having a friend like that back in my life is more than anyone could ask for or I deserve. She helped me through the dark time during the summer when all the family stuff was going on, and it was so, so helpful. Love you M, you are very, very important to me and I am so happy we are in each other's lives again!
At the end of the day, I don't know how I ended the year with these wonderful, solid people in my life, but I am so grateful. All of these friendships pulled me through a dark time and gave me a safe place to land, and I thank you all!
4. I made fantastic strides with my health
Despite the setbacks during the latter part of this year, I feel like this was the year that I finally got a handle on things. There's no more fad diets in my future, no more crazy elimination stuff, no more feeling guilty. Just simple calorie counting and eating the things that make me happy. I've lost about 30 pounds, and though I still have tons of progress to make, I definitely feel proud of what I've done and more mentally stable about weight loss than I ever have been my whole life. I feel pretty, I feel normal and I feel good about myself. And you know what, that's kind of damn awesome.
I also ran 6 races this year, which is more than I'd remembered doing!
- Shamrock 8k,
- Double 5 Challenge 5 miler
- Starlight Run
- Halloweenathon 5k
- Seattle Half Marathon
- The 12ks of Christmas
5. We saw some good shows this year
I'm pretty confident this is one of the crazier concert years we've had, or at least the concerts we attended all seemed to be clustered together. Music is a huge part of my life and very important to me, and we definitely had a very blessed year with some of the people we saw. I mean, we saw Paul and Ringo sing together for God's sake! The Brian Wilson show was a particularly one of those shows where I felt humbled and privileged to even be in the same room hearing his beautiful music. Here's the tally of all the shows we saw!
- 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
- Doobie Brothers
- Brian Wilson
- Living Colour/Aerosmith
- Def Leppard/Styx/Tesla
- My Morning Jacket
- Alice Cooper/Motley Crue