Full disclosure: this post has pretty much nothing to do with hurricanes Harvey or Irma; I’m just riding the wave of national news and using it as click bait for my blog. If I was making money with this thing I might feel guilty, but I’m not, so just know this is how my marketer mind works. Now that you are reading, I should also admit that I would be thrilled to someday make money with my writing. I’m sure that involves putting actual effort into and not just writing on a whim hoping something goes viral, but it is in the back of my mind and something I’d love to work toward…once I figure out some sort of rhythm in life…..LOL. One can dream!
Okay, back on the topic at hand: hurricanes. Not that I’m complaining, but I kinda feel my life has been a series of hurricanes and tropical storms over the last several years. Some have developed as the regular course of nature, whiles others due to global-warming (our choices). No matter the cause of the hurricane, I finally am starting to feel like the weather is clearing and I can come out and enjoy the sun.
Maybe hurricanes are not the best metaphor, because a lot of the “storms” that we’ve weathered have been good things that just take hard work and patience. In the last year alone, moving and my own career change have been thoughtful choices that seemed positive. But surrounding those choices was a lot of flooding and debris we had to deal with (and that metaphor isn’t too far off considering the plumbing issues I may or may not have caused just days before we closed on our home sale). In all seriousness though, the move and the career change were so incredibly challenging to me over the last year for so many reasons. I would never recommend doing them at the same time. It was never my intention to do that but that’s just kinda like hurricanes – they tend to pop up one after another with little concern for convenience. When it rains it pours, right? Except I chose these things…but yeah, good choices they were, but so very difficult.
The stress of these choices took a huge toll on me. I’ve shared some of my experiences with anxiety and depression and I have a ton more to say about all that next time I “get a whim,” but I know now, in hindsight, that these life events were pivotal for my mental health. They made it worse while transitioning, but it was all for the better. And I clung to that concept during the really hard times. That with a little patience and self love, along with some professional therapy (working with my family doctor and a naturopathic doctor and soon my trusty therapist that I don’t talk to nearly enough), I’m climbing my way back to some semblance and normalcy and contentment. More joy than not. Energy and inspiration instead of exhaustion and apathy.
Im so grateful that my new neighborhood and job feed so many parts of my soul – the need to be near nature and slow down; a street where my children can thrive and gain their independence with other neighbor kids and bus-riding. A job where I’m surrounded by art and part of a collaborative product team, bringing to market products that are simply meant to connect people and brighten someone’s day. Yes, these things are circumstantial and I should not base my happiness on these things because they could change. But I recently read (or listened to the audiobook on my new longer commute) Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection, which was about embracing our true selves, including all of our vulnerabilities, in order to live wholeheartedly. Part of that is recognizing when you aren’t being true to yourself, and making choices, even risky ones, that move you closer to a place where you can be your wonderfully unique and authentic self and not the person you think you should be. I realized this move and career change are huge steps closer to the real me: nature lover, small-town girl, artist/creator, relationship-builder. Even if our circumstances should change, I’ve learned so much about myself and the keys to my own heart over this last year of uprooting everything and re-discovering who I am.
I feel a new calm (before the storm?) that I’m savoring. It feels so good to feel good and alive again. So when most people would just take it one day at a time and not do anything to rock the boat for awhile, I’ve finally decided it’s okay to get a second dog again. A 4 month old pit bull puppy, because apparently I’m addicted to stress and a messy house. But he’s adorable and a total butterball and I can’t wait for our lonely Rebel to have a buddy again. And puppy breath and puppy snuggles and large dogs wrestling in my living room. It’s been too many months since we’ve had that kind of chaos, so go ahead, bring on the next storm!