i’m so happy

If I could tell the me of two years ago how happy I would be right in this moment, she would be shocked but so relieved. You know you are happy when you drink rum and Black Cherry sparkling soda and you are overcome with gratefulness. I’m just sitting here staring at the empty space that will eventually be my living room. It needs furniture and wall hangings. It needs sweat and elbow grease. It needs color and warmth. It needs memories. It’s a work in progress, but I am so happy that it’s mine. Charlie is being annoying and needy, but we are in our home. He is literally putting his face in my coat to go outside (even though every time I take him out he stares at the yard like “this is not what I expected”).

–Also side note: I’m listening to Lonely Eyes by Chris Young on repeat, and for some reason, the chorus is just so uplifting that I’m not even thinking about lonely eyes. —

Tonight I looked at my loan payments and savings account. It’s so relieving to know that even though I’m not living an extravagant life, that I am paying my bills and getting ahead of my student loans. Even though I’ve change my lifestyle a little bit, I’m still okay.  I’ve been eating out a little too much, but I’m cutting back so I can focus on my student debt again. It’s crazy what a little raise can do. I’m so used to saving money and accounting for every penny that I think I can go a few more years putting all I have towards my student loans and have them paid off by 2020 just like I hoped. According to an online calculator, I actually should be able to pay them off in May of next year!

Honestly, at that point, I don’t even know what I would do with all that money  when it isn’t going toward the loans. Maybe I would roll the snowball into my mortgage. Maybe I would put new siding on my house. The possibilities are endless. Just a little while longer watching all my money pay down my degree. It’s so close; I can taste it.

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pride and hurting

How can you watch someone you love hurt over and over again and not hurt? How do you continue to love someone whose values don’t align with yours at all? How do you acknowledge the person that they are and accept that they are no longer your friend? How do you tell someone you love that in order to be who they need you to be, you have to remove yourself from them? How do you wrap your head around their decisions and let them go?

2017 year in review

1.What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?
Getting my ACL reconstructed and hobbling around on crutches.

2.If you had to describe your 2017 in 3 words, what would they be?
Busy, productive, revealing.

3.What new things did you discover about yourself?
I’m capable of swerving around awkward situations a lot better than I used to be. Turns out, if you actually have to converse with people, you learn some things.

4.What single achievement are you most proud of?
I found a house and put an offer on it and purchased it.

5.What was the best news you received?
My answer last year: I got a raise. My answer this year: I got a raise.

6.What was your favorite place that you visited in 2017?
I think it was seeing my friend Nancy in NJ.  We hadn’t seen each other in awhile, and it was a joy to be together again.

7.Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?

Patience. I injured my knee, and after waiting months for it to heal, I finally had the MRI and found out I would need surgery.

8.Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
My mama.

9.Which new skills did you learn?
I’ve been cooking a few different things.

10.What, or who, are you most thankful for?
I’m immensely grateful to my Mom for encouraging me to buy my house.

11.If someone wrote a book about your life in 2017, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?
Unfortunately, I think it would be a stupid ABC Family drama. I had a lot of shit going on with my sister/roommate. We still aren’t on good terms.

12.What was the most important lesson you learned in 2017?
For most of 2017, I was very happy. I didn’t feel quite so lost. Life happened to me, but it was good. There were tears and stresses and weight gain and weight loss and fights, but I think I’m learning how to be happy and fulfilled.

13.Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
Physical Therapy was mostly a mental exercise. There were so many times when the therapist told me to do something, and I had to think so much just to do it. I think the knee surgery, overall, was the most mentally taxing experience of the year. I was off work and trying to relearn how to walk and not eat my feelings and not do things that would mess up the healing process.

14.What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
Nora, Nancy, Rachel, Rachael… my bar regulars.

15.What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?
I had a really great review that resulted in an acknowledgment of all I do at the company, and I felt really encouraged.

16.How did your relationship to your family evolve?
I spent a lot of nights with my niece. Between working and watching her, I didn’t go out that much. My sister and I put a lot of strain on our relationship while living together. I had hoped to move out in 2017, but didn’t until 2018. I still have a long road ahead as far as mending that relationship. My brother got married so now he’s off living his life. My parents and I still get along really well.

17.What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
I read a book called Keeping Faith that was very good. I wouldn’t say that it affected my life in a profound way. I really should blog more so that I can remember these things.

18.What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
I get a lot of compliments while tending bar. One of the older guys in the least creepy way possible (I swear) told me I look “sophisticated and sexy” in my glasses. That still makes me laugh… my mom said the same thing about my glasses. Another of the older guys said I’m very pleasant, level-headed, and intelligent. I wish I could remember any other compliments that were a little more meaningful, but I have really enjoyed working at the club.

19.What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
Witnessing Nora learn all her words. Good meals. Good coffee.

20.What cool things did you create this year?
I painted a bunch of pieces to do a show at the local gallery. I hope to have a little studio space in my house soon.

21.What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
I was pretty chill most of 2017. I sort of just rolled with everything. I planned a couple of trips. I applied for a coaching job and then I found out about needing surgery. Then my car needed more work.

22.Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
Had major surgery.

23.What was your favorite moment spent with your friends?
Seeing Anastasia on Broadway with Nancy.

24.What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
The knee surgery really upped my motivation for getting to a healthier shape.

25.Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
When I first thought about buying my own place, I was absolutely concerned about the money. It turned out to be completely unnecessary because between my two jobs, I’m doing fairly well. My house was very cheap and I plan to renovate and remodel to increase the value.

26.What experience would you love to do all over again?
I know I’d love to NOT have an allergic reaction to a wasp ever again.
 

27.What was the best gift you received?
I got a projector for move nights. 🙂

28.How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
I think this sums it up.

29.What was the biggest problem you solved?
My living situation.

30.What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
I drove a couple guys home after my shift, but I was starving so I stopped at Burger King. Some stupid shit ensued. It still makes me laugh.

31.What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
Honestly, I bought mesh laundry bags, and I can’t believe I used to do laundry without them. #adulthood

32.What one thing would you do differently and why?
I don’t think I can answer this until I’ve really addressed the issue with my sister.

33.What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
Keeping my finances in order through almost two months without work.

34.What activities made you lose track of time?
Working.

35.What did you think about more than anything else?
It’s a toss up between my knee surgery and buying a house.

36.What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
Gambling. Haha. I do love bar conversations.

37.What new habits did you cultivate?
Walking almost every day.

38.What advice would you give your early 2017 self if you could?
Go to the doctor and get your knee looked at!

39.Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?
I was definitely less concerned about money in 2017. I just had better control of it (plus a little more of it). Also, my main financial goal changed from paying off my student loans to buying a house.

40.What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?
I think this was my mom. She was supportive through all the sister drama and she helped me find a house and encouraged me to do it. She’s the best.


What do you want the overarching theme for your 2018 to be?
So last year, my theme was adventure, and that actually ended up pretty accurate. I think I would like my theme for this year to be relationships. Personal relationships, work relationships, familial relationships. One thing I’ve learned already this year is that living on my own gives me a little more push to be with friends. I’m so introverted so it’s rare for me to recognize that need, but I think it’s good that I want to spend more time with people.

What do you want to see, discover, explore?
Maine. Still Maine.

Who do you want to spend more time with in 2018?
I’m not sure. Maybe everyone.

What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?
The guitar has already been super helpful for me this year. I have been practicing almost every night to help me get through some stuff. It’s a great distraction, and people already love my voice so I would love to be able to play well.

Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?
Understanding.

What do you want your everyday life to be like?
I have been working so hard on my morning routine the past couple of months. I truly feel like I’m making better habits. I hope to continue working on this part of my everyday life.

Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?
STILL ACCURATE: I have some nervous habits I’m really trying to get rid of altogether. So hard to do.
What do you want to achieve career-wise?
I want to do things that have been talked about but never accomplished.
How do you want to remember the year 2018 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?
I’d love to say I went on a great vacation or that I paid off my student loans or that I lost 40 lbs. I’d love to look back on 2018 and say I met my husband. I just hope I have good times to remember.
What is your number one goal for 2018?
To meet more people

valentine’s day 2018

I’m lonely, and that’s good because I’m still looking. I’m lonely and that’s good because I didn’t do something I regret. ‎I’m lonely, and that’s good because I’m working on myself. ‎I’m lonely, but I still love myself. ‎I’m lonely, but I’m still happy.

currently…december

 

Currently Reading: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I started this in college and never finished it. I just bought a hardcover so I could restart it.

Currently Singing: True Colors by Justin Timberlake.

Currently Watching: Cheers…still. I’m half way through Season 2 of Stranger Things… finally, and I just saw The Last Jedi.

Currently Loving: The my knee seems a little better every day. I think I need to ice and elevate more than I am now, but my PT still thinks I’m doing very well.

Currently Celebrating: Christmas.

Currently Thinking: I could use a vacation.

Currently Worrying: That my car is going to need expensive repairs again. I’m not sure if I should put another grand into it or let it go.

Currently Hoping: That my financial assistance application will be processed soon for my medical expenses.

Currently Painting: Nothing… 😦

Currently Knitting: A big scarf that I’m not into any more.

Currently Crocheting: Nothing.

Currently Considering: What colors I am going to paint the rooms in my house once the sale finally closes.

Currently Hating: That with recovery of my knee has come weight gain… some muscle and some fat.

Currently Trying: To Bullet Journal more regularly and set daily goals and plans.

Currently Thankful for: My brother visiting.

ACL Reconstruction

One day before: I woke up this morning thinking about how all the turning and stretching I did as I woke up will no longer be an option after tomorrow. I hiked at Stony Brook yesterday with Charlie and Rachael as a final “hoorah” before I become immobile. Having driven past the park after PT last Friday, I realized I had not been there yet this summer.  We walked the West Rim Trail which is one I don’t normally do. So. MANY. Stairs. I hope I’m not too sore tomorrow – I am usually the most sore two days after a tough workout. I ordered a foam mattress wedge to elevate my leg and a foam roller for stretching. Tonight, I plan to make plenty of meals to eat over the next few days. I’m going to bring a shelf downstairs to keep books, magazines, knitting supplies, and my laptop on hand. I plan on sleeping in the recliner for a few days before attempting the stairs. I’m not looking forward to sleeping on my back. This is going to be an experience.

One day after surgery: As someone who is healthy, doesn’t go to the doctor that often, and has never broken a bone, I describe surgery as a surreal experience. I know for those who work in medicine it is reality, but for me, it was like a TV show. So many people come into the room. They ask me my name, date of birth, and to confirm the nature of my visit (ACL reconstruction, left knee). They give me the nerve block in my upper thigh, and I make jokes about my hole-y underwear. I was rolled to the operating room, moved to a new bed, and pumped with the anesthesia. I woke up nauseated and uncomfortable with a full length brace on my leg. I was so sleepy and sick. They kept trying to get me up, but I kept fading. Sleeping felt better than nauseated and sore. I threw up after using the bathroom. Then I got in the car and went home.

Day two post-surgery: The nerve block wore off this morning at 2:30 AM and the pain level went up to about a 9. It took awhile for the pain meds to kick in, and I cried and moaned quite a bit. When I woke up around 8AM, I was nauseated and tried to eat, but it came back up. I didn’t keep a meal down all day. I continued to sleep on the recliner with my leg on the foam wedge and pillows. I wasn’t too uncomfortable – making adjustments for my back as needed. My little sister helped me from the minute I got home. She didn’t like me getting up to use the bathroom without letting her know. An excellent aide.

Day three: My arms and right leg started feeling the burn. My shoulders, biceps, and traps took the brunt of it. I assume my triceps will strengthen as well. I still felt nauseated but was able to keep food down.

Five days post-surgery:  I slept in my bed for the first time since surgery, and it was amazing. This was the most mentally taxing day post-surgery. I had physical therapy today which went great, but the trip, with the walking around and being vertical, was exhausting. The good news is that I am healing perfectly. My legs aren’t that swollen, the incision was hardly bloody, and I’m in very little pain. The past two days, I’ve only taken one pain med with dinner. I’m struggling with quad isolations (which I think is from being so reliant on my right leg over the past seven months). The bad news is that the doctor had to repair damage on both my medial and lateral menisci. I will be on crutches, ie. not weight bearing, for 6 weeks. The pain from the lateral meniscus was what had finally made me get the MRI. I knew the menisci were damaged, but I hadn’t planned for this. The reality of being crutch-bound for so long set in on the drive home. After thinking about not being able to take my dog out on our daily adventures week after week, I finally cried. I know it’s temporary, but Charlie is so frustrated with me. I love taking him to the park. I love walking trails with him. It’s a huge sacrifice for both of us. I’m mad at myself for getting injured. I keep telling myself I am going to be stronger afterwards. I’m finally going to heal this injury. Today I couldn’t shake it off though.

Three weeks post-surgery: I haven’t taken the prescriptions since Day 5. I take Acetaminophen every few hours for the anti-inflammatory benefits. I can lower myself into the tub to take a shower. My stretching and exercise are going well. I can straighten and bend a lot better this week. I can feel the tension in the patellar tendon easing. I can even cross my left leg over my right. The calf pumps and quad exercises are definitely building the strength again. I’m also really good at sitting down and getting up with one leg. However, I’m really tired of the crutches. I want to walk so bad. I hate crutching up and down stairs. It’s hard not being able to carry anything. I had been hopping a lot, but I think I pulled a tendon in my right calf yesterday. It’s sore today so I can’t hop. I have to carry something in one hand and hold the crutch in my armpit AND GO SLOWLY. In 20 days, I get another brace and can start walking, hopefully.

Four weeks post-surgery: My right leg feels better after going easier on it the past week. Overall, the Acetaminophen is helping a great deal for my injured knee. I noticed a decrease in swelling over the top of my knee – which is what is making extension difficult for me. I’m struggling to go from extension to flexion smoothly. I feel pain in the back of my knee during extension and tension in the front when flexing – obviously.  I hate to admit it, but I haven’t been as consistent with my exercises because I’m feeling down about being unable to walk and not being able to work. Originally, they wanted me to work from home, but if I want to stay on top of my exercises I’m spending about six hours a day stretching and strengthening. Then add eating, bathing, and going to the bathroom -ON CRUTCHES- and there goes my day. I don’t get to the computer until six or seven at night.  Plus, sleeping in a brace does not get easier the longer you wear it, at least not for me.

Fourteen Weeks post-surgery: My extension is good but I still can’t do much more than -3 degrees. My right leg is at about -5, so the injured knee is definitely not as flexible yet. My physical therapist says I’m doing great, and they are impressed with my progress. I have been putting the functional ACL brace on less, and I actually have been experiencing less pain without it.  I’m doing more walking and less stretching at work. The main place I experience a little pain is where the arthroscopic insertion was. It may also be the meniscus repair on that side. I went back to work at about Week 8 after getting the functional ACL brace. The doctor cleared me for desk duty. The first few weeks with the new brace I spent most of the day on the computer. I needed to keep it straightened or else it would stiffen up and make walking tough.

2017 is almost over…

life currently (2)

… and I haven’t written in awhile. I almost asked myself why even bother sharing my thoughts with the ether, but I know how much it positively affects my mental state. So I am back here.

I think the thing I miss most about logging on and putting my thoughts down in words is reflecting on my goals and weaknesses. I use a daily planner for every day To Do lists, but I don’t take the time to think about myself as much as I used to.

Part of that is because I’m not as worried about “making the right decisions” anymore. I know that life is not about making the right decisions but rather about finding your way day by day.

I had knee surgery. I had an accident with Charlie. I gained some weight. I went back to work and picked up another part-time shift.  I currently work 40 hours plus an additional 3 shifts at the Knights. I got a raise at my day job – the one I asked for a year ago. I’m going to close on a house soon.

Life is happening to me.

My most important goal was paying down my student loan debt, but then I started to like my job and started to hate my living situation. I recognize that I’m so lucky to have to home I have now with my sister. We just can’t live together and be happy. It never worked when we were little. It hasn’t been working now.

So, I got excited about the idea of having my own place, and my mom – with her newly earned real estate license – starting looking. My budget was small, and I know that means a lot of paint and a lot of patience until I have a home that is modern and mine. I found the house that I was looking for. I have plans for an office and a shop room and a guest bedroom with a screen projector for movie nights. I will have room for an additional freezer for the game I harvest. I will have a garage to put a canoe. I will have little view of the river. I will have my own bathroom!

I’m grateful. I’m grateful for my jobs. I’m grateful for my family. I know I’m single and 25 all alone in a house, but I have my doggo. I have my parents and grandparents within ten miles. I’m scared and worried and a little disappointed that I’m taking out more loans rather than paying them off, but mostly, I’m excited.