Sunday, January 3, 2016

So long, 2015 (don't let the door hit'cha...)

What a crazy year 2015 was.

By seasons, it was a rough winter, followed by springtime of conflict, one of my darkest summers on record, and a fall that was beautiful but also painful in a different way.  As the year moved on toward colder weather again, I found myself loving winter in a way that I never have before.  I need the cold to seal everything up and let dormant things lie, so that there can be new life.

But, amid the dark stuff, there was light.  Here’s are some of the major happenings:

I got a Fitbit.  I got it in March, and gradually became obsessed with it. By May my crazy was full blown.  Picture me doing laps inside my house getting steps.  The neighbors see me walk by and call out, “Getting your steps?”  Pacing the floor in a quiet moment, causing my friends to say, “What are you doing?” I went from the second week of May through the beginning of September without missing my 10,000-step count goal (When you reach your goal, the Fitbit vibrates.  I call it “Party on my wrist.” It now comes with a dance, as well.).  A combination of it getting more difficult to walk outside and a three-week separation from it in November allowed me to release myself (I have a problem with letting things go once I’ve set a goal).  I still average 9K, but it’s not like the 12K I was getting in July.  Let it go, Noel.  *deep breath* But, summer 2015 will always be the Summer of the Fitbit.  All of my Denver family had one, and we would compete against each other and our Australia family.  My sister would stop by just because she was going out to get steps and she wanted company.  We would all be together and find the furthest parking spot away so that we could all increase our steps.  It was such fun. 
From a Fitbit walk this summer.  Sun setting, perfect weather, and a field full of dandelions.  I hate them in my own yard, but at the park, it was so dreamy, all I could think was, "That's a lot of wishes."

From an amazing encounter with author of the Shack, Paul Young.  
That leads to another great thing about 2015.  I began to “read” again.  Well, sort of.  You see, I used to be a big reader.  I would read one or two books a month.  When I was a kid, I actually got grounded from reading more than once.  I would be reading when I was supposed to be doing other things, like chores, or sleeping.  After Sawan died, however, I had to stop.  I couldn’t read as quickly as I had before, and my comprehension had gone down the tubes.  Reading provided only frustration where it used to bring joy, so I gave it up for awhile.  There have been a few books that I’ve struggled through in the last six years, but it was just that, a struggle.  I have a friend that is an occupational therapist that suggested I try doing two things at once, like reading and swinging, or reading on my elliptical.  That would employ both sides of my brain and therefore help me to remember.  But, I found an even better solution, using her suggestion of two things at once.  Audiobooks.  I listen while I’m getting my steps (or walking, if you want), or driving, or working in the yard, or in the tub, or doing the dishes.  It’s employing both sides of my brain but I’m still being productive.  I “read” 17 books this year.  Plus, I’m old school reading (actual books with paper and words) three more right now, but that takes me forever.

August is always a hard month for me; the majority of my "hard days" fall in August.  I really keep thinking that it’s going to get easier, but man, this one was tough.  I told my mom one day that the only thing I wanted to do was smoke and work out.  A bit counter-productive, I know, but I allowed myself some grace in the cigarette department (I technically quit November 2014) and gained some muscle at Orange Theory.

Which brings me to my very favorite thing from 2015.  Orange Theory Fitness.  Orange Theory is a HIIT workout that kicks my butt every time, but is completely enjoyable.  When I tell my friends about it, some of them say they never want to do it, and some of them have come with me.  Either way, I am addicted to the endorphins and have injured myself more than once from trying to go too often. I think it probably saved my life this summer and so I’m incredibly thankful for it.

I started a new job in September staging real estate.  I work staging on the days that I’m not doing hair.  Well, to be fair, I only worked a handful of days last fall and then things totally slowed down around the holidays, so I had plenty of time for the busy season at the salon.  A really gifted friend is training me, and I love every minute of it.  It’s totally energizing in a whole new way.

I began to use Arthur (my service dog) less and less this fall; it just felt like it was time, because I’m doing so much better than I was when I first started using him.  I just don’t need him as much as I used to.  He and I are stumbling a bit through the transition of him not having to work all the time, but still being a good boy when I need him to work.  I think he doesn’t get it, doesn’t understand why I’m leaving him.  And, I miss him.  I don’t miss all of the questions or the attention that we got, though.  Anyway, we’re getting it figured out.
Arthur with his birthday cone

freezing his paws off.  not a fan of the boots.

September in Santa Fe
My parents moved away this fall.  My dad started a new job in October, so he headed north then, and my mom came and went throughout the fall working on finding their new house and getting the old house ready to go.  They left for good right after Thanksgiving. I went up there for Christmas (BTW, spending time in the town where I went to high school and have rarely been since was surreal), so I haven’t really felt their absence until this week.  It pretty much sucks.

Sprinkle in there a few bad dates, a few good dates (but none with a permanent solution to my single-girl woes), some awesome time deepening old friendships and making new ones, another season watching the Rockies lose, and you pretty much have my year.  For the most part I feel like 2015 can suck it.  I’m not sad to see it go.

old friends. (Or friends for a long time.  We're NOT old.)
(relatively) new friends.

I’m excited to see what 2016 will bring

My dear readers, my Readership of Tens, thank you for reading my words.  Thanks for your comments and words of encouragement.  Especially you widows…we got this!  We’re in it together.  Thanks for another year.
Christmas in Montana