Last January, my daughter’s birthday actually, was possibly the worst moment of my life to date. I was sitting, or something between the fetal position and sitting, on my small, cracked bathroom floor barely able to breath. Just as the edges of everything would start to blur some small, instinct operated part of my brain would make me stop gasping and take a real breath.
It was like a sucker punch to the gut that doesn’t stop. Like falling out of a tree onto your back, the wind knocked right out of you but this time it’s not coming back. That feeling. But worse.
I don’t know why I didn’t see it coming but suddenly everything was exactly as it should NOT have been and my world was turned upside down, all topsy-turvey like Alice’s when she fell through the rabbit hole…but extremely lacking in wonderment and amusement. Quite the opposite, the landscape was bleak and horrible.
Of course I had known I’d lose time with my kids as a result of divorcing their father but I had never imagined it would be fifty percent of their time. It was literally unfathomable to me and clearly, for reasons I won’t go into right now, oh so wrong. But it happened. Suddenly, unexpectedly this was my reality and I was having a little trouble coping with that idea.
It’s hard to believe that was almost a year ago…
and hard to believe it’s only been a year.
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. Not because I’m opposed to them but because they require more forward thinking than I tend to be capable of. I’m too busy just getting through this week to think about how I’d like to change over the next year. Plus making a grandiose statement that I’m going to do something almost guarantees that I won’t.
That being said I’d like to take a moment to reflect back on this past year because…
Whoa Buddy, 2014 has been one hell of a ride!
That’s no exaggeration.
When the year started I was in the throws of a nasty, drawn out divorce process and, even though it had been almost a year since I had filed, the end was sudden. It had been a ten month process that evolved from somewhat amicable negotiations between two people to an ugly battle involving lawyers, multiple visits to court, and a Friend of the Court investigation. In December the final hearing date wasn’t even scheduled but by the end of January the whole deal was done.
My divorce was finalized on January 29, 2014. As I left the court house that day I felt relief, like a weight I didn’t realize I was carrying had been lifted. But there was also an undertow of defeat and a loss more immense than I had anticipated. I had already processed and dealt with the demise of my marriage and all that entailed but I had been handed a whole new set of loss to deal with.
Over the next couple of months I pretty much sucked. I really did; all I did half the time was work and sleep. It was bare minimum, base level functioning. I didn’t even tell close friends and family members that my divorce had been finalized. If you didn’t ask, you didn’t know. I just didn’t want to talk about it, didn’t want to deal with it.
When I had my kids I was fine, okay at least; life went on like it should. But the weeks I did not, well, suffice it to say I was a miserable shell of a person. Thursday evening would roll around, my kids would leave, the despair set in and I would shut down. I went to work but that’s about it. I holed up in my house and hibernated. I didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t do anything or go anywhere except work. And I was late for that on a nightly basis.
It’s pretty fitting that 2014 was one of the “worst” winters Michigan had seen in decades. I think nature was just analogizing my life at that point.
It was cold. It was dark. And it was long. I oscillated between angry, lonely, and sad.
Sometime in March I began to pull myself back together. My co-blogger and I started talking about running a half-marathon in the fall. At that point it was more of a theoretical goal than something I thought would be a reality. Even so, just having the possibility of something positive to look forward to and work towards gave me the push I needed.
It was time to un-slump.
In the spring of 2014 I did took some major steps and did things I had never done before. I started the going back to school process and applied for financial aid. I took a road trip (or two) alone with my kids. I, with the help of my co-blogger, had a birthday party for myself and even started thinking about dating. Basically I started living again, started looking at the future and realizing that this is my life. If I didn’t like it I should change what I could and just plain find a way to deal with what I couldn’t.
By the end of the summer I had gone on a few first dates and even a couple second dates. Nothing super exciting was happening on that front but at least I was putting myself out there. I was taking steps forward.
I had enrolled in school and was about to become a part time employee. Getting away from the seven consecutive night work schedule was a much needed change. It’s one of those things where you don’t realize how bad it was for you until you are out of the situation. I like my job but that schedule was pretty rough for me. Not being sleep deprived a good portion of the time is pretty amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I still only get five to six hours of sleep a night most the time but it’s a night not a day and that makes a huge difference.
This fall I started my first semester back to school in about five years….as a single parent and the only adult in a household of six. It was, and still is, a pretty intimidating change. Some days it still feels like a huge risk, And it is, but it’s a risk that needed to be taken.
In October I ran a half marathon. Compared to some runners, heck, lots of runners, that’s nothing really. But considered by itself it’s nothing to sneeze at. I ran 13.1 miles….on purpose….in a non-life threatening situation. It was pretty awesome.
Around mid-December I was feeling down and out about some things that were going on. It was just before Christmas and there was so much to do but I was feeling defeated and lacked motivation to do anything. I made a comment via text to my co-blogger friend about New Year’s Eve, drinking alone and being sad and pathetic. She texted back saying “I get why you’re feeling this way but let’s get a little perspective. You’ve come a long way since last year. School, actually putting yourself out there. It’s rough shit but man look at you go.”
And she’s right. When I stopped to think about it, not only did I accomplish a lot in 2014…I came a long way down a rough road and I kicked some ass!
While I’m not sure 2015 can (or should even try to) top last year in terms of growth and eventfulness, it’s onward and upward from here. Who knows what this year will bring, but I do know that 2014 has been one for the books!