It’s been a while since I’ve shared anything here, but the way I’ve been feeling this year could be best summarized by a grocery store encounter I had earlier this morning (hooray, I left the house today) with an old coworker from years ago. Like 99% of all grocery store encounters, the niceties were forced after doing the pretending-not-to-see-each-other-until-you-can’t-keep-looking-at-shredded-cheese-you-don’t-even-need-any-longer dance. To the “how ya been” question, he replied that he’s trying to get in and out of there just as I am, and I replied “I’ve been” before we awkwardly parted ways and again continued to pretend we didn’t see each other as we were cruising the aisles on our respective missions.
I, in fact, have been. That was the most honest answer I could come up with (though I could have said anything, no one cares), feeling like I’m neither here nor there. This year (and the past few) have been really rough…for other people. My family back east has collectively been dealing with some health issues. I’ve had friends go through rough breakups, blow up their lives and move (more than once). I’ve had friends and colleagues who have lost people important to them. Some good things have also happened to my friends. Some of these same friends have landed dream jobs, got married, and started building new lives elsewhere.
I’ve been holding steady. Yes, it’s been hard having some of my closest friends move away, it’s been hard grappling with loss of my perceived “badass” identity as I’ve lost the motivation for any consistent training on the bike. It’s become increasingly harder for me to live so far away from my family, to a point that I’m questioning whether I should just move. It’s been frustrating hoping I would meet someone by now so that I could have a do-over on the whole partnership thing, in the landscape (dumpster fire) of modern dating, where it feels like everyone is jaded (emotionally unavailable), “ethically non-monogamous” (probably lying about the ethical part- also why do you need like nine girlfriends!?), or just downright creepy. I also have been doing a lot of inner work to enjoy and appreciate my singlehood, yet the thought that I may never meet someone, because I may or may not – that’s just fact, is still pretty painful.
At the same time, I am comfortable where I am, in my cozy home, in a beautiful place with unlimited outdoor access, and in a job where I am engaged and feel appreciated. I love my family, I have good friends here, and I have good friends far away. I’m dealing with a cold right now and frustrated because I was sick last month, but I am otherwise healthy and active. There is lots to appreciate in the face of feeling stuck between staying to continue building my life here, or starting over somewhere closer to family; between wanting love, while refusing to settle or give up my time and my independence. This all leads me to my next point:
While I have so much gratitude for how my life looks, and the perspective that things could be so much worse (I don’t live in a war zone), neither gratitude nor perspective exist to invalidate our feelings. I am fine, but there is no doubt that I’ve been feeling pretty “meh” these days. Maybe I’m struggling to fully feel gratitude because I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and I guess that’s the anxiety talking. Maybe I’m just struggling to see where my growth is. Maybe I’ve been seeing so many people move on in life, I’m feeling a bit left behind. Maybe I’ve just been more attuned to the passage of time, and how little of it we actually have, and I’m freaking out that I’m not creating enough meaning to my life, but I’m also kind of tired and love hanging out at home with my cat. I dunno, but I feel like I’m in some sort of holding pattern and in need of inspiration.
What gratitude and perspective CAN do is widen our lens, and allow for the sadness, or emptiness, and hurt, or whatever we’re feeling to exist at the same time and in the same space as all that is neat or awesome in this weird-ass short life. I’ve been attending the University of Podcasts for a few years now, mostly personal growth type stuff, in addition to going to therapy. I am a big proponent of surrounding myself with people, things, and ideas that I aspire to emulate, do, and pursue. Some of my most life-changing moves have come directly from podcasts, such as quitting drinking (Rich Roll Podcast), giving meditation a try (Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris), and opening up to the fact that singlehood, no matter how long-lasting, is not a failure or a mark on my worthiness (A Single Serving Podcast with Shani Silver). This leads me to my latest pod-spiration (see what I did there?). A recent episode of the Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman featured author and blogger Neil Pasricha, who wrote the Happiness Equation and Book of Awesome series, which started from his blog. I have not read them. Neil started his blog as way to dig himself out of an emotional hole, and the blog just happened to take off. I want to do the same thing- notice the awesome on a daily basis, so that it can co-exist with the “meh” and the harder stuff that will inevitably happen when life does life things. Who knows, maybe this can inspire whatever my next step in life will be.
So without further ado, here is what was awesome on the morning of December 18, 2022:
Not a day goes by where I don’t marvel at how awesome Edwin is. He’s just a little guy that follows me around the house most waking moments, takes his cuddling very seriously, purrs like a motor, hunts bottle caps and is simply cute and fuzzy. Edwin is also toothless as of October 2022. He had all his teeth removed due to an autoimmune thing some cats get where the bacteria attacks his teeth, so no teeth = no problem. Still prefers dry food.
I made this awesome open-faced breakfast sandwich today with freshly purchased sourdough (I don’t bake), some soft stinky cheese (it was on sale), arugula, cherry tomatoes and eggs. Inspired by an Instagram post- I follow a nutrition coach that I worked with when I was racing hard, and this was super easy to make.
Are you friggin’ kidding me? I love butter, and bread and butter, and bread butts with butter. But almost as much, I love the way that butter is packaged. It really looks like a little present- thank you for the shiny butter box, and thank you for the perfect creases on the butter wrapping paper. I got to unwrap a stick of butter today.
My Chrisma-Kwanza-Kah Blob. Let me explain. This started out as a little $10 tree from Wal-Mart that I bought late last year. I always wanted a small tree (no space for a big tree), the problem is the cat won’t leave it alone. There is nowhere in my condo that I can put it where he won’t knock it down or tear it apart, so I had to hang it up on my curtain rod. I removed the plastic base because that looked stupid and made it hang weird, so now it really is just fuzzy blob with lights. But there is something so soothing about the soft white lights, especially in the evenings, so I will still put this in the awesome category.
That’s it for now. Shorter post tomorrow.