Another year is coming to a close. I have to say that 2014 has been one of my best years ever. My demons took a backseat, and only came out to play a few times. When they did arrive, their attempts at derailing me seemed half-hearted and feeble. My inner strength seems to have been increasing alongside my outer strength. I do think that having solid fitness goals has helped keep Brain on track. This really is no surprise as I have always known that if I keep Body strong it helps shelter and defend Brain and Spirit. Keeping my life simple goes hand in hand with keeping Body strong. Limiting emotional distress caused by external forces (i.e. unsatisfying and/or toxic relationships) has been key in maintaining stability.
I can't say that the year has been without its obvious stress points. I have had a houseful since mid-August, and that has been a bit mind-blowing. But I made the offer, and it is coming to an end soon. It has given me an opportunity to get to know new family, and renew the bond with my son. So despite the obvious chaos and stress of small children and extra dogs, it has overall been a good thing, though I think we all are ready for a change. Soon though.
2014 was a year of physical challenges, self-imposed and intentionally intimidating. I came through in the absolute best shape of my life. Strong, fit, long and lean, rising to the challenge, and ready to do it again. I trained hard all year, sometimes to the exclusion of all else, and I am ready to do it all again. I am already stronger than I was last summer, intentionally letting my running and cycling ease off to focus on strength training and core conditioning. Soon enough I will be back in the wind, focusing on speed work, building my aerobic base, and increasing endurance and stamina. It is going to be a great race year, culminating once again with the Epic 250K in September.
October of 2014 did bring a shock when I was called into the boss' office and informed that they were closing my department at the end of the year and I would be out of a job. Yes, I broke down and cried once I left his office. I am single, have a mortgage, and fall into the category of "less employable." I know that is a bit defeatist sounding, but statistics show that women in their fifties are "the new unemployable" no matter how fit and awesome I am. Also, I do not have a college degree, and my work history has been varied, and often blue-collar. I know I am a great generalist who can learn almost anything and excel at it, but most companies want specialists with college degrees whether the degree means jack shit or not, they just want that sheepskin. After a day of oh-my-gods-what-am-I-gonna-do I got down to brass tacks and started formulating a plan. Of course at first I started looking at the jobs listings and came to the early conclusion that I didn't want "same shit different office." I don't want to keep working 40 hours a week making money for someone else while they pay me less than I am worth. If I am going to struggle on the edge of poverty I want to do it on my own terms, for my own desires, to create my own works, to make money for myself. I have chosen to look at unemployment as a golden opportunity to build up a few business concepts that will make me a decent supplemental income so that I can actually retire in 10 years instead of being forced to work into my 70's to make ends meet on a meager Social Security income. Yes, I do know that I will have to rejoin the workforce at some point in 2015, but I want to be able to do it on my terms, and hopefully less than full time.
On a side note, one of my first thoughts after getting over the shock of pending unemployment was the joyous thought, "Oh my gods, just think of how much time I will have to workout and train!" Hell, maybe I can pretend I am a professional athlete long enough to get to the start line rock solid and in absolute peak condition! This excites me more than you can imagine.
The first weekend of 2015 will add another notch to my belt, I begin Fire Investigation 200. An area of firefighting that has intrigued and interested me far longer than I have been with the department. With bunker gear in one hand and a notepad in the other, I am beyond excited for class to start.
Another fun part of 2014 has been finding a part-time relationship that fills the physical and emotional void, and helps keep Brain, Body, and Spirit on track more than any past relationship has managed. In the past, relationships have been a trigger point for most of my deepest adventures into the abyss. Too much emotional energy was spilled out into the void with very little return on my investment, which left me a hollow shell of what I need to be. Now, through one small leap of faith, and an oddly random nudge by fate, I have slipped easily into an affair that has none of the guilt or emotional drain that I have felt in the past. Instead it is mature and satisfying on both sides, since we entered into it with eyes wide open, knowing our own and each other's parameters, limitations, and desires. Up front, no bullshit, no lies, no grief, no guilt. There are never any recriminations for lack of time. No insecurities if we don't communicate for weeks at a time. And when we do have time the world falls away and the focus is only on us. It is strange, non-traditional, and exactly what I need. Funny how things work out when you stop trying to force the issue, decide what it is you truly need and want, and then put that out into the world. I am not one to have a traditional relationship, they are too demanding of my time and energy, too needy, and cause me too much stress wanting to make everyone happy. I have found what makes me happy, and that is enough. Oddly, it is inspiring me to start a new blog soon, of freedom found, and the joys of getting what you want, no matter how off-beat, nontraditional, unconditional, wild and crazy, more than a bit kinky, and on my own terms.
As Fun as 2014 has been, I am so excited for 2015. Life is what You make of it, no one else can take the blame or the credit, it is all on You. As of January 1st, 2015, I will be unemployed and free to start a whole new chapter in the rollercoaster that is life. I have already started writing the introduction, and can barely wait to start on page one. 2015 will be exciting, exhausting, educating, alarming, sexy, fun, difficult, deviant, daring. It will call on me to do something I am good at: Leap Before I Look. 2015 will be the Leap of Faith Year.