Sunday, January 1, 2012

Rearview Mirror

WELL HELLO THERE! I bet you're all a little shocked to see me here, eh?

I know, I know! Life has been ridiculous, what can I say?

As usual, I am kicking off the New Year with absolute resolve to not make false resolutions. It only sets us all up to fall short or fail entirely anyway. This year, as I laid in the bathtub with my hangover and my gratitude this afternoon, I decided I'd compile a Peaks & Pits reflection of 2011.
2011 was sort of a brutal year. Those sentiments were echoed by many of my friends as we celebrated New Year's Eve last night. It must be the impending implosion of the Universe that allowed for the past twelve months to take a giant dump on top of many of us.

Chris and I both had to say goodbye to a grandfather last year. We experienced-- and addressed-- the tumble of the housing market during the sale of Chris' PRE-Megan House. The stress of selling a house and also buying our first house together soaked up much of our summer. Our dog decided to throw in a sassy kick early last winter by having a great big corneal ulcer while we had the nerve to go away on a mini ski vacation. After years of being used, abused, and taken advantage of, I finally told my previous employers to take their nanny position and shove it: I fell in love with a new family but was caught off guard at Thanksgiving-time when they announced that they would be relocating to Florida. Two job changes in 11 months was trying if not exhaustive. During the job search, we also learned that a previous employer had been bad mouthing me around town with some pretty lofty lies. I bid adieu to a few friendships that I long ago had outgrown and finally had the guts to cleanse myself of. And there was, of course, the everyday Life is Tough squabbles with one another and with family; the everyday Life is Tough stresses that we all deal with in our own unique circumstances.

It took a few minutes to mull over the list of That Sucked 2011 moments and I found myself choked up thinking of how taxing it has been not only for myself and Chris, but thinking of all the tough stuff our friends and families have also endured.

That being said, the solemn moment passed quickly and gave way to a very long list of things for which I am infinitely grateful and proud of.

When Chris and I met, I was midway through a summer in which I completed three triathlons, one long-distance bike race, and a duathon. My life consisted of working and working out. Then came Chris and workouts took a backseat to nights eating ice cream on the kitchen counter and enjoying a new relationship. This summer, the fallout of that came to a head and I had to stare down the Holy @)%&!(, Whose Body Is THIS barrel. While I haven't come full circle back to where I was, I did shave off a chunk of the weight I gained and, more importantly, grabbed fitness by the (Kettle)balls and put myself back on track for racing this summer.

The real estate transactions of 2011 have been complicated, extensive, and frustrating. While I must respect Chris' requests for privacy on the matter, what I can say is this.... All of those headlines about the housing market crashing and people losing their homes and people whose mortgages are totally underwater became very personal for us this year. There were some very dark moments but we stuck it out together and found a way to get to the finish line.

At Thanksgiving, when I was delivered the SURPRISE, YOU DON'T HAVE A JOB news, it was quickly followed up with an invitation to move with the family. Previously, I have done just that; packed up my crap and followed my work. Previously, my work had been my entire life. I can't even count the number of times I sobbed to my Mom that I was sick of taking care of someone else's house/kids/life and so badly longed for my own. Chris was so supportive-- even finding an in company transfer in Florida. But ultimately and without hesitation, I declined to go. Because finally, after what felt like an eternity, I have my own house/family/life. It was hard-earned, long-deserved and OH SO WORTH THE WAIT.

This year, in spite of two job changes, I managed to slide by without having to tap into savings or spend more than a couple of days between jobs without work. In a time in which so many don't have a job, I'm proud of the fact that I am good enough at what I do that there was always a new offer hot on the heels of a departure.

It is safe to say that neither Chris nor myself even flirts with the idea of perfection. We are flawed and human. This year, while dealing with this massive downpour of Tough Stuff, we learned not only about ourselves as individuals, but we learned about how our individual selves behave (and misbehave) within the context of our relationship. We have squabbled. Often in some cases. But that's what happenes in life, isn't it? We sometimes lash out at those closest to us for LIFE stress that frequently has nothing to do with who it is we're barking at. What we have learned is how to identify what the real source of tension is, to discuss the problem and not attack the person, and to work together towards a solution. It is easier in concept than in practice and I am quick to confess to that. But we have done it and for all of the grief, his is still the hand I wish to hold when I'm sad or mad or happy or in distress. 2011 has brought me a greater appreciation, understanding, and far deeper connection to Chris than ever before.
I'm thankful for the friendships that have proven themselves to be healthy and strong-- for the friends that listened to me cry and vent a hundred billion times over the past year. It's great to get older and recognize true friends and the value of their role in life. I'm thankful for parents who celebrated a 35th wedding anniversary this December and have taught us all that you can want to kick the crap out of each other but no matter the fight or the frustrations, family sticks together.

It was a trying kind of year. A real mother fucker, you could say.

Yet here we are all-- we made it. We survived and now we must move forward and not let it all have been in vain. 2012 is going to be epic. I just know it.

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