Friday, June 12, 2009

Eyes on the Prize: A Testimonial

Change of pace for a moment, dear readers... as I want to share some of my very personal inner monologue.... It's all part of the lifestyle improvement, and this is an area in which I really think it's working.

I had a conversation today with a friend that went down a new road, as I really started articulating something that I've just been starting to realize over the last few months. This conversation was specifically about my single status - which is a topic that I both make jokes about and sometimes feel great pain about, but that's neither here nor there for the moment - but it led me to put it all together about just how important all these things I've been doing are, not just physically but emotionally too.

To start, let's go back to almost exactly one year ago today. In fact, this coming Tuesday is a great marker, cuz it's the one-year anniversary of me moving into my great new apartment.

So, one year ago... I was pretty unhappy. Work stuff is excluded from this conversation, cuz that's the one area of my life in which I always feel pretty confident and in control of my place in life. Personally, not so much.

Last year, and for the FOUR years before that, I was living in an apartment that I had grown to hate. It had major issues over the years - roaches, mice, maggots, mold, horrible management, a fire, renovations in my own place while I was living there, you name it - and I really was not happy there. I didn't invite friends over, and I didn't want people to see the conditions in which I was living. Frankly, I let that apartment defeat me and I just gave up trying to make it better. It got to the point where one time after visiting my parents and staying in their nice clean comfortable house, I actually dreaded going back to my place. As I talked with my Mom about it, that was the moment that I *knew* I had to move. I finally was at a place financially where I could do it, and inertia was no longer a good excuse. So I did it, I moved out of that crap building that had a lot of crap memories to it.

And I ended up in my dream place. Really, I had visited this building years ago - before moving into the craphole - and loved it but I couldn't afford it then. When I knew I wanted to move, I came straight here. I didn't look around and comparison shop, cuz I think this building represented something for me -- the life I *wanted* to lead. So I set an appointment, asked if there were vacancies, and signed the lease right then and there. Done!

Going back again... this time to about a year and a half ago. I had made a New Year's resolution for myself for 2008 that may sound crazy to some of you out there, but it's indicative of the point I'd reached. I resolved to get over my crazy anxiety and start driving again. You see, I had sold my car in 2004 for financial reasons, and I still say that was one of the best decisions I ever made. I signed up for Zipcar (car sharing) and rented a car a few times in that first year or so. But then, months went by... and suddenly years went by... and I hadn't driven in nearly 2 years. At all. And I found that whenever I started to think about it, I got really anxious and afraid that somehow I wouldn't be able to do it again - that I'd suddenly be a nervous driver and a danger on the road or something. I don't know where this came from, truly, but there it was. In my mind, I somehow went from "I don't drive" to "I won't drive" to "I can't drive."

And in the summer of 2007, there was a major health crisis in my family... and that's when I realized that I had to change. Because if they had needed me to come home (which it turns out they didn't, and everything turned out okay thank goodness), I would have been more of a burden than a help. I'd worked myself up into thinking I *couldn't* drive, and that I would then be unable to provide the kind of support my loved ones might need. I felt both helpless and ashamed, all inside my head. That's when I realized I was being ridiculous. I remember saying to myself "you are a strong, confident, accomplished, independent woman. Get over yourself!" So, I made that resolution and I did indeed start renting cars again and... guess what? I can still drive just fine. And that whole mental block is gone, and hopefully I've learned enough about myself to keep something like that from cropping up again.

Okay... last time we're going back in time... but back to a year ago, I was also finally (FINALLY my friends would say) realizing that I had wasted way too much time believing and hoping that a certain relationship I had was or would ever be more than it was... and that what it actually was was really not very good at all. How much time? Five years, off and on. Egad. Again, with a moment of "this is ridiculous!" clarity, I put an end to it... almost exactly around the same time I moved into this apartment, which was a nice clean break all around.

So... all of this is to bring us back to my realization that over the past year, while I have been working hard to try to improve my lifestyle in the physical sense, I have also made great strides in improving my mental and emotional health as well. And this year has been great for me! I *love* my apartment. I love having friends over. I love just sitting here spending time on my own, puttering around in the kitchen or on the balcony. I cook! I garden! I love this neighborhood, and I feel so much safer than at my old place.

I've really spent all this time slowly bringing the focus back to me, and deciding that I no longer need to settle for anything less than what I deserve. I AM a strong, confident, accomplished and independent woman! And while the permanently single status does get to me sometimes, I tell you honestly that I would not trade for the world any of my strength, confidence, accomplishments, or independence just to be in *some* relationship...rather than the *right* relationship. And I truly believe that someday I'll find someone who completely agrees... but until then, I'm content being happy on my own, and finding new ways to explore who I am.

Pretty good stuff, eh? :-)


DC Food Blog said...

Preach it sister! Why do you think it all fell into place? Was it the apartment and the fact you had a place you didn't dread going home to and that opened up the rest of your life to change?

Stef said...

I don't know if the timing is coincidental or if it's all related. I don't think any of these one things led to the other, but that they might all be part of a larger picture realization that I need to take care of me, and that I deserve what's best for me. Make sense? I don't know where that came from, either, but I'm not arguing it!:-)