Usually, the new year is when people evaluate the past year, and resolve to make key points of opportunity better. I apparently have to wait a few days to do that; big surprise, I was working on New Year's Eve so I was not exactly concentrating on my period of reflection.
However, I am now able to look at the past year, and this is what I see. From solstice to solstice, here are a few of the key takeaways from my life:
1. I told my husband I wanted a divorce. I am not a fan of divorce, but walking away at the point of knowing I did everything...absolutely everything...that I possibly could do to save things made it the only decision I could make if I wanted to preserve my sanity.
2. I was told my work situation needed to change. Incidentally, I am always open to new opportunities, so if there are any job openings where you think I would be a good fit, pass it along.
3. My dogs were involved in an attack, resulting in the deaths of two "innocent" dogs (including the beloved family pet of a very dear friend) and the loss of one of my two dogs. There is nothing worse...and this is coming from someone who said goodbye to her high school sweetheart at his bedside...than saying goodbye to a pet who has no idea she did anything wrong, and moments beforehand is SOOO excited to be jumping up to eat her Canine Carryouts puppy treats.
4. I went from being a landlord of two to a landlord of seven, practically overnight. Too much.
5. My house went on the market because I need a fresh start and to not be able to turn every corner of a room and see my marriage, and the place won't sell because (presumably) it's on a busy street and there is dust on the floor boards.
6. I sprained my ankle and was basically inactive for three weeks. Might not sound like a big deal to some, but I have the attention span of a fruit fly and my direction tends to change about as often as the next commercial break.
7. The true love of my life came back, and left, and came back, and left, and...I don't know. All I know is I see a ten-year cycle and I don't like cycles...I like swinging from branch to branch with a common finish line.
8. I lost custody of some really odd stuff that affected my day-to-day activities. Some, like the dog and cat, were given up in an effort to accelerate the breakup. Others...well...I was left with a bunch of little goodbyes, like no toaster (but thank god I got custody of the toaster waffles), no microwave (but I have a pantry full of microwave popcorn), no pizza cutter, some odd-sized pots, tools, no normal light bulbs, no bathroom scale (mine), and my personal favorite...the margarine was thrown out but the cheese and sausage (two foods I don't eat) were left in the fridge.
9. The anniversary of CJ's death hit me like a ton of bricks this year, but when I was bawling my eyes out for what felt like an irrational amount of time proportionate to the event, I decided that it was a wakeup call to do something awesome in his memory (see my last post for more info on that).
Through all of this, I realized I lost my confidence and focus. It spilled over into my knitting...today, I went to a yarn shop to help out a friend whose employees were all on winter vacation, and I brought a project bag with me. In it was not a sweater...it was part of a sweater, a second sock, half a hat, an almost-finished baby blanket, a recently-started scarf, and a voter registration card holder (gag gift for a friend). This is not like me at all...I like to start things and then finish them.
So my reflections were short and to the point: I looked at my year, decided it doesn't get much worse than this (and no, god...that is NOT a challenge), and noticed that the only things on that list that I could have controlled were things I wanted at the time I controlled them. So what to do?
Simple. Put it in Drive. Eat better. Get some fresh air. Finish the knitting projects, not by knitting five rows of each every day but by finishing one at a time. Get a new job. Network. Call upon the friends who have needed me in the past, because I need them now and true friends don't keep a balance sheet. Continue to answer the phone when someone needs me in the present. Offer up my spare bedroom. Give rides. Tell people I love them, and please, and thank you.
Most of all, focus. Becoming the person I used to be may sound like a step back, but it is actually a giant and profound step forward. The confidence will come back naturally. And lord knows I've been asked out enough lately where the confidence should come roaring back, but I'm still waiting for Johnny Oduya to pick up the phone.
(Here's the sad part: I joke so often about my crush on Johnny Oduya that if he ever DID pick up the phone, it would actually be his attorney with a member of law enforcement on the line as a witness. Johnny, if you are reading, I promise I'm kidding and I would never, ever ever ever, stalk anyone, let alone a celebrity. But I would still love to buy you a cup of java and just talk about lost loved ones and how beautiful Sweden is...I've been there. And by the way I love your solid, consistent style of play and the fact that you are a defensive defenseman...you can block shots from other time zones and the Blackhawks are damn fortunate to have you.)
This school-of-thought resolution seems to be working for the first couple of days of the year. I walked to my mechanic's place when it was one degree outside, and it felt great. Of course, today I knit about five rows on three different knitting projects, but anyone who has ever owned a camera knows that focus is not instantaneous.
Focus is gradual. It's progress. It's driven. I'm on it.
PS...I have a hand-written note from Brady which reads "Thank you for giving me focus." No...thank YOU.