Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, our national holiday commemorating the earliest days of our nation, when the handful of European settlers were saved from starvation by the native people, who were later laid to waste by land hungry Europeans. But, it is a day to give thanks, to spend a day with friends and family, feasting and overindulging. This year led me down a path of reminiscing back to one year ago. Where I was then versus where I am now. Last year, I was trying to buy my little house, and should have been moving during the four day weekend of Thanksgiving. Instead, closing had been delayed, again, and I was furiously packing and cleaning with the hope that I would be moving the following weekend. It was a remarkable stressful time. I was only 2 months out of a long term, toxic relationship, feeling alone, stressed, depressed, anxious, and thoroughly overwhelmed by my life. It was all I could do to keep my head up, and keep moving forward one painful step at a time. One year ago, instead of happily baking for friends and family I was clearing out my kitchen, packing, scrubbing, focusing all my pent up, nervous energy on cleaning everything to perfection. The task of moving was letting me avoid turning my mind's eye inward to the turmoil, pain, anger, frustration, and bitterness that had built to the breaking point. The downside of ignoring such pent up emotions? They do not allow themselves to stay imprisoned and they will break free in a horrific, chaotic, devastating, cataclysmic flood. But that was still a month or two in my future.
I look back, and see with clarity where I was, how I was coping and marvel at my strength and fortitude. It would have been easy to relapse, apologize, try to make amends and "fix" a relationship that was really damaged far beyond repair. I knew then, as I know now, I could not take that step. "Easy" has never been my style. Granted, not long after, I was trying to make amends, trying to regain the relationship that really only existed in my imagination, because I was so desperately alone, and felt I had no where else to turn. The reality? The relationship I was trying to recapture truly only ever existed in my hopes and dreams, it was never really more than smoke and shadows, promises, vapors, insubstantial. I know this now, as I learn more of reality. As I learn more of myself and what I deserve, what I am capable of, where I am and where I am going.
This year, Thanksgiving has been exactly that, a time to give thanks for what I have, what I have achieved by strength of character and sweat of brow. Thanks for my family which grows by glorious leaps and bounds, and the love of those around me who truly do cherish me as I cherish them. My life has become a fantastic adventure, that is satisfying, wondrous, exciting, loving, fulfilling. Yes, there are areas that still need work, but life is always a work of art in progress.
To look back one year, one short year, and see just how far I have come amazes me. Truly, deep down, to the core, stunningly, amazes me. Some would say it is like having woke from a bad dream to find you are safe in your own bed. I say it is more like having fought a long, dirty battle, against greater forces, and won victory after victory on sheer cussedness and determination even as defeat fluttered around the edges. This was not so simple as waking from a bad dream, and to say so would be doing me a great disservice. I fought and won. Fought hard, so victory has been all the sweeter. For truly, anything worth having is worth the price.
Now, I sit on the cusp of an even greater year to come. I had long ago dubbed 2012 as "The Year of Win," and it has lived up to that moniker on so many levels and in such a wide realm encompassing all my loved ones. Now, as 2013 nears I am making my To Do List. Life is too short to not make plans, goals, reach for new heights and scheme on epic adventures. 2013 will be rife with adventure.
As I look ahead my To Do List is starting to fill in:
Attend and graduate Fire Fighter Academy
Get Passport, get stamp in Passport
Get SCUBA certified, dive in foreign Country
Learn Rappelling through the Fire District
Compete in Olympic Distance Triathlons
Complete a Half-Ironman
Run a Half Marathon
Do the Portland Tri and Firefighter's Stairclimb on the same day (again) and totally Kick Ass
Climb a Mountain (there are so many nearby to chose from)
Learn to Rock Climb
And of course continue to work on my awesome little house, which was a catalyst for so many changes, and for filling me with a solid sense of accomplishment.
I have said it before, and I will say it again and again, because I mean it with all my heart: I Love My Life!