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My 39th Year in Review

Friday, 18 May 2012

On the eve of my 40th birthday I am thinking a great deal about my 39th year and how it has gone.  This is actually something that I have contemplated a good deal lately and this seemed to be the perfect time to sit down and actually write about it. So I took to reviewing the major events and some minor of the year.

               This has been one of my best years in so many ways!

               However, to the casual observer it may not seem so in some ways…

I started off realizing that I had backed myself into a habit /obsession corner with my life.  Thanks to the minor butt chewing from my best friend I realized that I had stopped taking “risks” in my life…and no, I don’t mean cliff diving.  I mean things like really getting out and meeting new people, asking people that I wanted to get to know better to have tea, trying new things, opening myself up to the possibility that I could taste flavors without having to buy a gallon in every one first and just in general living my life the way that I wanted to.

The end of 38 was the first time I had been able to get a doctor to really listen to me about my OCD and treatment.  And of all places to find her, it was at the county health department.  It took a little to convince her I knew what I was talking about and wasn’t just running off half cocked.  She agreed to the treatment path that I wanted to take and just before my 39th birthday I started the medications that were going to change my life in ways I couldn’t imagine.  They started off by changing my life in that I was extremely ill for the first several months of taking them as they titrated my dosage up to the therapeutic level.  If I never, ever have to go through this again that will be just fine with me!

My 39th year also marked my third year unemployed. And if that doesn’t beat the hell out of your morale, nothing will I tell you.  I had been living in a constant state of uncertainty for 2 years and 39 began the third year.  I had stayed busy, taking work where I found it, working part time with some wonderful friends that I adore, being active in my community, getting to know newcomers, volunteering when and where I was able.  I swear that staying so busy is one of the things that helped me stay sane (there is some contention about this point) and kept a lot of my skills up and learn new ones. 

This year has been really tough in that I have not been able to talk to one of my dearest friends very much on a regular basis with all of these things going on.  He is a pivotal person in my life, one of my big sounding boards and not being able to talk with him has been extremely tough for me.  We have gone from talking several times a day over the year, to once a week if I was lucky by the end of this year.  I miss him terribly and it is like losing a limb but it, I suppose, is life and I have had to buck up and “tank it” as Alpha says.  I know that if it could be different it would be. 

So, here I was a year older and facing a rather big year of YoLU (Year of Living Uncomfortably), though I had no real idea of how big.  What I did know was that it was time to step out, take some chances and start growing again.  I am happiest when I am growing and challenging myself, even if that growth is painful.  I knew I was going to have to really step up to the plate this time and in doing so I might go through some painful stuff and I very well may get hurt.  To top it off, I was about to do this without two of the main people in my usual support system.  Well, I had been through tough stuff before and survived to tell the tales.  I had prepped myself and packed my Girl Scout handy dandy first aid kit before venturing off.

The first rather big thing I did was right at the end of my 38th year and that was going to Frolicon for the first time.  I pulled down all my “rules” and decided to just go with the flow and allow myself to have fun.  Let me tell you, when you have been in a rules tizzy for a while, going with the flow can be tougher than it sounds! Lol Somehow I managed it! Thanks to a wonderful new friend, I had a room to stay in and get some much needed breathing room that weekend.  I kissed, I got kissed, I got booby motor boated, I played, I had amazingly wonderful conversations with people, I got to pet a pony and spend time with him, I got to be free of myself for several days and it was great!  That weekend opened up some great new vistas for me this past year.  One of those being that Whiskey and I came to know each other better that weekend and have ended up in a wonderful relationship of which I am proud to be a part.

I started the new medicine right after Frolicon and right before my birthday…thankfully it was not before Frolicon!  As I struggled along with the meds I was trying to keep a balanced perspective about it all and stay present so that I could accurately report back to the doctor. Were they really helping me at all or were they just making me miserable sick?  And from early on, even before the “therapeutic level” I could already tell a difference.  Before when they had given me meds they would work for a very brief period and then stop.  This time I could honestly say that I did see a difference.  Feeling that change, being really aware of it, gave me the strength to stick it out through the tough part.  Wolf, the best roomie ever and my dear friend, helped to take care of me when many days I was so sick I could barely get out of bed.  I couldn’t eat hardly anything and wanted to trade in my stomach for a newer, tougher model but no outlet was to be found.  Instead the roomie of awesomeness kept looking for little things that I could manage to keep down and found two things that were key to keeping me going.  I kid you not when I say that for months the only things I could manage to keep down were Powerade and Mayfield ice cream sandwiches.  I could drink a couple a day and eat 1-2 sandwiches and then literally crawl back into bed.  Sleep was the only way I got any respite from the sickness, fatigue and nausea.  Fortunately, or unfortunately my body wanted to sleep a lot. 

During this time I was working part time for my amazing friends who were so unbelievably understanding when I could not come into work.  My dosage was increased every couple of weeks and just about the time I would start to feel less than hideously miserable it was time to increase the dosage…fun times I tell you!  I tried several times to go to work on those days and failed miserably.  I could not even drive my own self to work.  Wolf was working there as well so he would drive.  During the commute I would lay in the passenger seat trying to stay conscious and not whimper.  I had not ever felt so consistently miserable in all my life from head to toes. 

Mags, how could this be worth months of that you ask?  Easy, I was sick and tired of not having control over my own brain and thereby body any more.  Did those months suck? Yep.  Would I do it again, knowing what I know now? YES!  The thing that kept me going was I could sense the changes happening to my ability to control my wild brain.  This may not seem like a lot considering what I was facing 24/7 at the time but it really was HUGE!  Even though it seemed like this period would never end, it did.  I got to the therapeutic level and some of the really bad side effects began to fade.  Still a year later I have a few left but they don’t trouble me horribly to often now. 

Just before my 39th birthday (May 6th to be exact) I had to come to a very tough and tear filled decision.  I knew I could not support my furry kids any longer.  I have 3 big, goofy, wonderful dogs and 3 very co-dependant and loving cats.  I figured I could most likely afford to keep the cats and one dog but I could not afford to feed and care for all three dogs as I should.  In truth I hadn’t even been able to take the three of them to the vet for over a year for just routine things.  I wasn’t even sure how I would keep the power and water on each month at this point.  It broke my heart but I put up notices that I wanted to find loving and great homes for them.  Part of being a good parent to furry kids is knowing when you can’t be a good parent.  I could love them with all my heart but that wasn’t enough; they needed to eat well and to have proper care. 

The most amazing and still, to me, shocking thing happened.  People from right here in our community and all over the country, many of whom I had never met, contacted me.  They were not offering to give Clyde and Sugah homes; they were offering to help me keep my kids with me!  I bawled and bawled and then cried some more.  To say I was shocked speechless would be a vast understatement.  I sort of went catatonic for about 24hrs.  Yes, for any of you who know me in person, it was shocking.  Think of poor Wolf, HE had to deal with a weepy, soggy Mags for several days. Lol  Thank the gods for the ever amazing Trinity.  She stepped in, set up a way and directed folks to our aid. 

Every time I would try to talk about what these folks were doing for my dogs and for me I would start crying again.  I was a wreck for several days and unfit for social interaction of any sort really. 🙂 In the end it all worked out amazingly and they made it where my kids could have medicines they needed (flea/tick/heartworm) and good food in their bowls. I felt so amazingly blessed from this and still sit stunned when I think about it.  If it hadn’t been for these amazing angels I would not have my furry pups with me today.

I came very close to missing the annual birthday pool party my best friend has been doing the last 3yrs because I was so sick.  Fortunately not long before I was supposed to leave I had a break in the feeling crappy and was able to go thanks to Wolf driving us there.  🙂  It was like the sun coming through the parting storm clouds after an awful squall.  I got to spend time with old friends and new ones that I had just met at Frolicon, get to know them better and have a genuinely good day. Something in short order at the time; though thankfully at the time I didn’t know how many months it would take for me to feel anything approaching normal. 

It was a really great day, with great people and wonderful memories.  One of which I carry with my almost daily.  At Frolicon I had been speaking to Whiskey about symbols, talismans etc. and how I had several that other people took to mean things that I didn’t mean for them too.  The night after we had this conversation my treasure mala that had come from my old sponsor and that I had owned for some years broke in my hotel room and I crawled around on the floor trying to find all the beads.  I was crestfallen and knew I would miss it terribly.  For my birthday, one of my new friends handed me a weighty, small box with a rather impish grin that he gets when he is proud of himself. Lol And well he should have been!  I opened the box to find a beautiful new mala inside.  I do believe I tackle hugged him. *grins*  I wear it daily and it is very special to me.  That mala helped me through some tough times this year and I don’t know if he has any idea how special a gift he gave me that day.

Now during all of this, Whiskey and I were getting closer and starting to spend some time together.  He was so patient with my limitations, encouraging and just a whole darned lot of fun to be with!  I am not one to over share details of a personal relationship with the world.  *smiles* Those who are close to me know what those early months were like and I am ever so grateful for how they encouraged and supported us through supporting me.  They have seen us grow this past year, surmount some tough stuff, love deeply, honestly and wholly and continue happily forward.  If I tried to tell you all of his wonderful qualities it would take longer than most people are patient with listening to someone go on about their partner and it would fall into that over share category. 😉  Suffice it to say that I am so blessed to have this amazing man in my life and be able to share with him and have him share with me. 

Halfway through my 39th (October) I got a call from my old boss, where I had been laid off from 3yrs before, asking if I wanted to work part time while they had some work for me.  I jumped at the chance! I loved my old company and the folks I worked with.  So, I went back to work part time for them thinking it would be for just a month or so until the work was gone.  I was enjoying the influx of money and being able to actually pay some bills on time.  I was in heaven but I didn’t want to get too wound up by it because it could end at any moment.  I knew I had been balancing on a razor’s edge for a while now and at any moment I was going to get cut in half.  I quickly set about trying to catch up the bills I could and pay off what I could while the money was coming in. During this month I celebrated 15yrs clean in 12 step recovery.  It seemed like yesterday I was at 1yr marveling how anyone could stay clean so long!

Then the next amazing thing happened.  One day my boss calls me into her office. I was thinking “This is it, the work has dried up and they can’t afford me any more.”  Instead, what she asked was “Can you work 5 days a week instead of 3?”  I just kinda dumbly nodded my head in the affirmative.  I said I would have to let my friends know and work out with them.  She said that was fine and to let her know when I could start 40hrs.  She said “It’s not a job offer, but it is more hours and I it’s a step in the right direction.  I want you full time and hopefully for Christmas we will both get our wish.”  I somehow found myself back at my desk some time later.  I called my other amazing boss and told him the news.  He was thrilled for me but disappointed for them.  I could totally understand as I felt the same way. 

Thanksgiving came and went with no job offer but I was working a steady 40.  I continued to catch up bills and pay off some debt.  My car was in need of some work to pass emissions and get her back up to snuff.  So, money came in and went right back out again. But hey, I had regular money to GO back out for the first time in 3yrs!  Turkey day was wonderful and I spent it with two of the most wonderful people in my life as a welcome friend in their home.  I don’t know if these two guys know how much they mean to me but I’d help ‘em hide bodies! They are a part of my family of choice whom I adore and love more than I can say.

Christmas came and went with no job offer.  I tried not to think about it every day and worry that I would be let go any minute due to lack of funds or because I cross an I  and dotted a t.  I thanked the universe every day for what I did have.  I had a job, I had my furry kids, I had a great roommate and friend, I had a home, I had a kick ass family of choice and I was alive to enjoy it all.  My amazing roommate made a sacrifice to make Christmas happen that I didn’t know about until months later.  He has done more to restore my faith in a holiday I dearly love in the last two years than others have done to tear it apart for me in years past.  I am so thankful to have him as my dear, dear friend and in my family of choice.  Christmas brought a very special, magical gift to me from Whiskey that I treasure perhaps more than he knows.  I was able to give gifts for the first time in a while and I admit I was a little giddy with it all. I didn’t care what I got really; I was thrilled that I got to give things and hopefully things that my people would enjoy.  This holiday isn’t about the gifts for me, it is about the heart.  I went around secretly getting little things that I knew they wanted but couldn’t or wouldn’t get for themselves.  I felt rather elfish and impish. Lol  It was a wonderful time and has restored something I thought I had lost.  2012 people are in for a treat because I am going back to making presents now that I can again! Wooohoo!!

New Year’s Eve was wonderful!  I got to spend it with Whiskey enjoying each other’s company on the eve of the New Year.  New Year’s Day friends came for food, laughter and love.  Of all of the holidays, this is my favorite day.  I have close friends over that day for traditional New Year’s Day foods, lots of talking and laughter.  Their presence blesses my home for the coming year.  I love cooking for everyone and sharing my home with them.

The New Year was rung in and I still didn’t have a job offer.  I was trying really hard to not think about it.  My boss had said more than once that she wanted me back and full time.  In the end it wasn’t up to her, it was up to her boss who happens to be the president of the company.  He was the one to decide if they needed me and could afford me as a regular employee.  I kept putting it out to the universe and trying to take my paws off of worrying at it. 

At the end of January my boss told me to bring my resume in for her to pass to her boss as he had asked for it!  My heart went all pity pat and flopped around some.  I brought it in and then didn’t hear anything for like 2 weeks…this is torture by the way.  Finally a time was set up for me to talk to her boss.  That day came and went without us meeting.  (Some major issues beyond his control caused this.)  We rescheduled for the following week.  That day came and started to go and it looked like we weren’t going to get to meet that day either.  I was starting to feel a bit crestfallen and worried.  Then I grabbed up what courage I could muster and spoke to him about it and asked if we needed to reschedule for another time as I really did want to talk to him.  He said no and confirmed a later time that afternoon for us to meet.

Holy cow, to say I was nervous was the understatement of the millennia!  While I had worked for the company before, I had not really had any interaction with him, only my boss.  He was hard for me to read and he seemed so serious and on task all the time.  I started to feel inadequate and like a fraud.  (This is OLD programming for me and tough to fight off.)  Finally the time came and I went upstairs to meet with him.  I was sweating buckets, no joke.  The “interview” went really well.  There were a few times he asked me some things and I knew I could fake it and get by but my honesty, thankfully, won out and I said I didn’t know the answers but I wanted to learn them.  By the end of a couple hours of talking he offered me a full time salaried position! It was more than I had made before, was a better job and he was starting me out as lead on a big company wide project out of the gate! I accepted on the spot.  I left his office wanting to dance down the hallway and do cartwheels!  My boss was thrilled too when she found out and we had a mutual happy dance session. Lol

Well, it’s the second week of February and now I am gainfully employed, I still have my furry kids, world’s best roommate, I have my home, I am in a great relationship and have an amazing family of choice.  What more could there be?  I have everything I wanted right?  You bet!  But just because I get what I want doesn’t mean I can stop growing.  I have worked my butt off since starting back there and this project has kept me tied up the last three months.  I am beyond grateful to have such a great job, great bosses, great and fun coworkers!  I am in an environment that uses all of my skills and is helping me develop new and better ones as well.  That ROCKS! 

I have amazing friends who love me right where I am at and who pull me up short if I get off the beam too far.  That is a fabulous gift of my friends!  They are honest with me even when they know it’s going to suck for me to hear it.  They have helped me learn and learn to use a lot of the communication skills that I prize so highly.  They have taught me how to use them, persevere with them even when it is hard.  They have taught me that just because something is hard that I don’t have to quit, that I can take small bites out of it until it is digested and done.  They have taught me that I don’t have to say things perfectly the first time and that I can have more than one chance to say things. 

I didn’t make it to Frolicon this year; I just couldn’t justify the expense with so much still to catch up on.  That’s ok though, I got to spend the weekend with Whiskey instead and it was wonderful.  *smiles softly* 

I spent an amazing weekend at the beginning of May in the Tennessee Mountains, for SJW 2012, with a wonderful group of people who showed me some things about myself that I had forgotten.  They showed me some things I didn’t know and they helped me realize that I had some more growing I wanted to do.  They showed me how others walk through fear and still manage to be approachable and vulnerable without always being afraid of being hurt.  They showed me how to trust without anticipation or reservation.  They showed me how to step into the unknown, embrace it with my whole being and not be ashamed to cry.  They reminded me how to just laugh and be in the moment of joy.  They reminded me that it was absolutely ok to take time for myself if I needed.  I rode up with my best girlfriend and played catch up.  I rode back with a wonderful friend whom I do not get to spend enough face time with. I took home with me memories that I cherish, revelations that were earth shattering for me and a sincere desire to return next year!

And then here we are at my birthday again. *smiles* 

I made it to the annual pool party this year feeling fine as frog hair split 3 ways…to quote Wolf. 

At that party I knelt before a man I respect and love very much to share the amazing moment of accepting his collar.  I wear it with pride and joy.  I look forward to many years of exploration, love, passion, weird discussions and more with him.  I also look forward to many years of adventure with my family of choice, my wonderful Alpha and my friends.  Who knows where it will take us all?

I sure can’t wait to see how my 40th year goes!

One Comment leave one →
  1. lynne permalink
    Saturday, 19 May 2012 12:18 am

    This is very touching. Made me cry

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