2010: The Year My Life Changed

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As another year comes to an end, I’ve been a bit introspective. More so than usual. 2010 was a year full of life changing decisions, tragedy, triumph and stalemate.

I made the decision to leave my job of seven years. I worked for a good company, as far as Corporate America goes. I made a decent salary, I had incredible medical benefits, and I hated every minute I spent there. On paper, the job looked fantastic. But as any employee in a big company knows, what seems perfect on paper does not always transfer to perfect in reality. I was miserable. I worked in a high-stress environment, I had a 30 mile commute, I dealt with the bottle of the barrel businesses in South Florida…it came to a point where my misery at work consumed my entire life. So I quit. I may start working part time soon, from the home, but I will never go back to working that type of job unless my finances leave me no other option. Making the decision to leave my job, and the financial sacrifice that entailed, was the biggest decision of my life (aside from getting married)…and I am thankful each and every day that I was able to do that.

I traveled to old and new places…Texas, New Mexico, Key West, North Carolina, Kentucky….nothing beats a trip to visit a friend, discovering a new city, exploring the countryside…

My maternal grandmother passed away. This death was in itself a horrible thing to happen to me, as well as the entire family. I grew up across the street from my grandmother, and our family was extremely close. I saw my grandmother a few times a week, even as an adult. While we fought like cats and dogs when I was a child, we recently began to make amends and have been on very good terms the past ten years or so…unfortunately, along with her death came other issues. Brothers and sisters arguing over her belongings, her house, setting up an estate…at this point, some of her children aren’t even speaking to each other, or to me. It breaks my heart. 5 months after her death, and we are now farther apart than we were when she was alive. People often say that death brings out the worst in people. I now know that to be true.

I went to a bunch of concerts. I love music. Music is one of my greatest passions. Seeing a good band perform live – there’s just no better high.

My cousin committed suicide. I still do not know for sure what happened in the days leading up to his death. I have been told that he suffered from depression, that he was involved in something illegal, and that he felt suicide was his only option. We were close as teenagers and have kept in touch throughout the years. Although I only saw him once or twice a year, I did keep in touch with his him, his wife and sister on Myspace (previously) and Facebook. When we were kids, we were pen pals. I still have an old photo of us back in the 90’s, when we were teenagers – the picture is one of those polaroid pictures that you used to be able to take in the mall in a photo booth. It makes me smile…I’m so happy that I hung onto that picture all these years. I also saved a drawing he made me around that same time. It shows a peace sign, water, fire, earth…I can’t remember what the point of the drawing was, but it warms my heart that I have something he made expressly for me. As with my grandmother’s death, his death has been an explosive force in the family. His birth mother and adoptive mother have been arguing over what to do with his body, who has the right to make the decision, etc. It has become quite nasty and they are both heartbroken and miserable…my heart goes out to them both. Regardless of who was his “real mother,” I feel just horrible that on top of losing someone they both loved, they are now in the middle of this struggle. Death just keeps on hurting…

My best friend bought her first home this year. I’ve watched as she jumped from apartment to apartment, town house to town house for four years…its been such a pleasure to watch her settle down and plan her roots. Of our little group of close friends, she was the last to buy a home. It may seem corny, but I feel so proud of her, so happy for her…I’ve watched as she moved into this run down house, painted, installed new floors, designed spaces – words can not describe the joy I feel watching her accomplish something so wonderful in her life.

I started a blog. It began as a place to post pictures of my family and little poems I’ve written, and somehow turned into a catch-all for my life. Whatever is on my mind, I just type it out. Some people have issues with privacy – that’s definitely not me. I have always just put it all out there, and this blog is no different. Sure, I may not have a huge readership. But I don’t really care. This blog is for me. One day, when I have a clear idea of something I want to accomplish with this blog, I may redesign it or stick to a certain formula…but for now, this is perfect.

My daughter opened up to me about her father’s suicide in 2008. For the longest time, she did not want to talk about him or his death in great detail. When he first died, we tried to get her to talk to a counselor, but she was not ready. I have approached the subject off and on throughout the last two years, and while we have spoken about it, she never really opened up…over this summer, she finally found it within herself to tell me exactly what she was feeling, how she felt about him while he was alive, and how she feels about him now that he is gone. It was a cathartic moment for us both. Once she was able to express herself, she was able to begin the healing process.

I spent an entire summer just having fun. For the first time since high school, I was able to spend the summer doing whatever I wanted to do. It was liberating. I exercised. I went for walks with the dogs. I swam in the pool. I experimented with recipes and learned that when giving the time, I actually really enjoy cooking. I visited friends. I spent time with family. I went to North Carolina for almost a week, surrounded by family. We took a family vacation. This summer gave me a taste of what I have to look forward to as a stay-at-home mom…and I loved it!

I learned a lot of things this past year. I learned that time is of the essence. When you love someone, TELL THEM. When someone is important to you, MAKE THE EFFORT. Time is fleeting. Life is short. Make the most of it, each and every day.

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