Thursday, April 4, 2013

Taking Stock: Where Were You 1 Year Ago?

"Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday, and all is well." - John T. Tindsley

1 year ago....

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get out of bed and get to my new job every day.

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to fake it well enough to get by in the company of other Homo sapiens.

Would I randomly burst into tears and humiliate myself?

Would everyone see right through to my broken insides?

Underneath it all, the overarching fear: This will all end in one more failure.

But it didn't.

As I was moving through Module 2 of my friend Therese's Unlost E-Course, I started to realize that things weren't as bad as I seemed to be telling myself they were.  Therese had us compare six key dimensions of our lives from a year ago to now.  What dawned on me is how the life-and-death worries that plagued me then are not even on my radar today.  For the most part;)

1. Relationships

Ugh.  Why not start here?  For sure, for sure I have a loooooooooooong way to go in this realm.  I didn't trust people a year ago, and I don't trust them now.  But I'm starting to.  I'm letting (some) people INTO my life, instead of cutting them all out.  I'm going out instead of shutting myself in, and that's really all I can ask of myself at this point.  When you've been let down, and lied to, and trampled on by so many, it's not necessarily a good thing to let any idiot into your life willy-nilly.

I'm in a happy living situtation instead of chaos-filled negativity.  I have healthy boundaries between me and toxic family members.  Is it perfect?  No.  It never WILL be.  But you start somewhere, because ANYwhere is better than letting things go on the way they have.

2. Health

I lost 40 pounds this past year.  That has to be the first thing I write, because it freaking amazes me. I still can't jog, and there are a lot of days I can't walk over 20 minutes without problems.  But I've maintained a vegetarian lifestyle, started my days with raspberry-spinach-chia smoothies instead of processed cereal, and made other gradual changes that added up over a year's time.

And pain.  I couldn't tolerate stairs or driving, nor could I sit in a chair all day last year.  I wasn't sure how that was all gonna go down with a new job!  I had some really, really bad times.  But I made it through one day at a time.  When I injured my back on top of everything else, I made "getting better" an absolute priority above all else, including this blog.  I went back into Physical Therapy, started Rolfing, found an herbal anti-inflammatory that miraculously works, and took a week off work to purge built-up stress.

Shit doesn't get better on its own.  Sometimes the first or second (or thirtieth) things you try don't help, and you have to dig deep to keep seeking out alternatives.

3. Career

Ouch.  This was a sore subject not so long ago. Anyone who has suffered through unemployment, financial ruin, and fruitless job interviews knows how hard it is to maintain hope in the face of what's been lost.  You hold on one more day because tomorrow could be the day it all turns around...and sometimes, that actually happens.

I just had my 1-year anniversary at a job that gives me a sense of purpose, along with decent pay and hours.  I could still be filled with bitter resentment over the career I lost, but instead I am happy to have -A- job, because I remember what it's like to be endlessly job-hunting.

4. Financial

Let's just say I was still sleeping on an air mattress last year because I was too afraid of buying a bed and having to move it again.  If that doesn't tell you everything about how precarious my financial situation was, I don't know what will!

Having a nice balance in the savings account is a huge relief.  So is having a big girl bed.

5. Spiritual

This one isn't easy for me, because I can't feel the hopelessness that enveloped me a year ago.  What's more, I don't want to try to remember.  The simple fact that I am not in complete and utter despair every waking moment says it all.

I know what it's like to have every single one of these 6 domains come crashing down at once, and I'm sure many of you have been there as well.  Grasping to find something - anything - worth getting out of bed for is a shitty place to be in.

I haven't found any answers, and I haven't found God.  But I have found meaning again through helping other people who are in the place I was.

6. Personal Development/Hobbies

Thanks to A.R.T. treatments, I was able to get back on the bike a little bit last summer.  I can only hope that my leg continues to progress.

And blogging...I'm writing this post, aren't I?  I bought a domain, spiced up the look of DFTL, and increased my posts to an average of twice a month.  Have I done all I set out to do with this space?  Ab-so-lute-ly NOT!  And yes, I could easily focus on how far I have yet to go.  But now, just for the moment, I have to be grateful for what steps I've taken.

Think back to your biggest problems 1 year ago today....

What questions were you grappling with?  Undoubtedly, some of your fears are still nagging you, many problems have since been resolved, and others .... are in process.

That's the real message here; there IS no endpoint.  You may be further along than you thought you'd be, or even miles off track, but it's pretty unlikely that you're exACTLY where you were a year ago.

We all know the "life is a journey" cliches; we comprehend that "the trail is the thing, not the end of the trail."  But beneath that?  We secretly long for that day when we've got our shit figured out so we can sit on our rears, put our feet up, and quit worrying about every little thing.

That day is not going to come.

That being said, you'd better start giving yourself a little credit for how far you've come.

What is the point of racking up accomplishments if you never take a breath and acknowledge how effing awesome it is that you pulled it off?

Since you're never going to get "THERE" - that magic destination - what are some ways you can begin to relax into whereever you're at right now, today, and be at peace with that?


  1. Wow Bri, congrats on losing 40 pounds! Holy shit, I didn't know that! (And the raspberry chia smoothies sound delicious.)

    I'm really proud of you and of the progress you've made in so many areas. And I'm really glad to know you. Can't wait for the day we get to hang out in person (It will come, haha!)

    xo T

    1. Thanks have helped in more ways than you know. I can't wait, either!

  2. Hey Bri,

    Congrats on every bit of that. You should be proud. And yes, there is no end point but being able to see how far we've come is great motivation to just keep going :)


    1. Oh my gosh, it is SOOO good to hear from you Keith! And thank you. I hope life is treating you a little better lately.

  3. It's lovely to hear you're doing better than before. You're a lovely person and a talented writer and I'm pleased to know you.

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