A Check-in, and a Wrap-up

I’m feeling like it might be time for a check-in. I mean, it’s a Friday, which is always a good day for this kind of thing, and November… Which means it’s nearing the end of the year… Honestly I don’t think I should need a reason for a check-in. It is my blog afterall, I’ll do as I please (so there.)

This year has been another hard one, full of scary big decisions for me. Being the Libra that I am, it is true that most decisions are scary, fraught with imaginary danger, and much like piloting a plane through flaming hoops. (If I had a choice on decision making, I’d rather not do it. Or would I? I don’t know. I am indecisive on the matter of making a decision about decision making.)

(This is like decision making inception – incidentally a movie a refuse to see, because too many people have told me I’ll like it. Sometimes I’m contrary, just for the hell of it.)

(TANGENT!)

After having a good think about it, I’ve decided that this year was one of massive change, and independence. I find that completely surprising given that last year was the year that Depression handed my ass to me in a handy plastic carry bag.

Depression is still taking jabs at me when I let it – for example, that whole winter thing. Ugh. Mostly, though, Depression and I have come to an uneasy truce, although it has to be said: as a truce-partner Depression leaves a lot to be desired. It’s shifty, for one.

I manage it the same way I manage my finances – I plan to fail. So I have back up plans. I stock up on sleep, relaxation, and savouring the times when I feel truly good and engaged with the world around me when I can, and when I hit a down patch I revert to my fall-back routines.

Most of all I spend a lot of time shark watching. It’s always hard to pinpoint when a low is coming, so I think of it like when you’re at a beach trying to figure out if that dark spot in the waves is a shark, or just some harmless seaweed. Sometimes it’s seaweed, sometimes it’s a man-eater, but up on the beach, you can’t really tell, so you take precautions, just in case.

(Stepping out of the metaphor: Correct precautions when there are sharks in the water look  something like this:
Armed with grenades – for preemptive strikes.)

(TANGENT!)

I’ve been off medication for over 5 months now. I still waver on that decision at times but mostly I think it was the right one for me right now. The key words in that sentence were ‘for me’ and ‘right now’. So right now I’m ok without medication, but that might change in future and I’m just going to have to figure out a way of dealing with that if/when that time comes. (Because I’m so very excellent at accepting the need for medical intervention. Heh.)

Mostly without the antidepressants I notice that the main different is that the road is rockier, so you feel the bumps a little more. Thankfully I’m at a point where I’m not having massive down swings in mood, so I don’t shut down every-time I hit gravel anymore. (Have we exhausted the road metaphor? I feel like we have.)  

I do still have moments of terrible anxiety, but to be honest I’m thinking that those are often the result of the massive changes that I’ve seen this year.

I moved out on my own, away from flatmates, and the rest of civilisation this year. While living alone feels right to my personality type, it also means that I’ve had to learn new ways to stay engaged in my friends lives. Someone said this year that “Shannon collects flatmates” and it’s true because I’ve been lucky enough to live with some of my very favorite people in the whole world. Not living together now, though, means I have to work harder at staying engaged in a changing friendship.

Engagement is key for me, because my natural inclination is to be very much a lone figure surrounded by pretty things to look at, interesting things to think about, and undemanding animals for company. When it comes to other people I have an unnerving tendency to tune out, because sometimes being present is hard. Especially when I’m feeling down.

In other scary changes, I moved jobs three times this year and jumped quite significantly up the pay-scale as I did so. I’ve finally accepted a permanent position where I am though, and am hoping to set down some roots here and grow for a bit. It feels a bit scary to not have an end date on my employment with this company, for me when I think about being a permanent staff member, I think about lack of movement, I worry about getting bored, and I fret over the idea that I might be missing out on something better somewhere else. I know rationally that those things aren’t going to be an issue here, but making this decision felt risky because of those preconceptions.

I’ve also dipped a toe back in the dating pool this month. It ended hilariously badly (I’ll decline on sharing that story until I’m a little less creeped out by it) but its nice to know that maybe I might be reaching a point where I have capacity for romance. I think maybe that due to my predisposition for being perfectly happy in my own company it would take a pretty special guy to make it to long-term dating potential. I have a feeling that that worries my mother (who keeps hinting that perhaps I might be a lesbian) but mostly I’m happy, and I don’t feel any great sense of loss in being single, and I think that’s what counts. I think there’s power in the ability to be happy alone.

I’ve tried a bunch of new things this year, and have failed at a lot of them. I now know definitively that I’m not good at rowing as part of a team. I’m terrible at latin american dancing (although the salsa remains to be explored, because I’m determined to like it.) I’m bad at diets, and even worse about being nice while on a diet. I failed my full licence, and then failed to motivate myself to take it again.

I drove my car off a (small hill-like) cliff and subsequently was forced to buy a new one. I wrote a construction RFP, and designed a site office. I learned to drive a manual four-wheel drive. I got my first aid certificate. I volunteered for half a year at the SPCA and loved it. I became a Civil Defence Agent of preparedness, but was not allowed to rappel off a building, or kick down a door (much to my dismay.)  I got in touch with my arty self, and illustrated most of a children’s book. I had a flirtation with a foreigner, stood up to a bully, and confidently chaired meetings full of men twice my age. I wore fishnet stockings to work. I planted a garden, and confronted imaginary home invaders.

So basically, it’s been a big year, and I’ve pushed myself out of my own boundaries a surprising number of times. I think this year was the Year of Being Bold in my choices and actions, and actually quite proud of myself for it. I also think that this year I acted with integrity to myself, and the people around me, and I was more present in choosing the path my life will follow, and more open to exploring, and discovering in general. 

I think my goals for next year are going to be epic. How was your year?

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4 thoughts on “A Check-in, and a Wrap-up

  1. I think you’ve got a good handle on yourself. And it was a very, very big year for you. I’m sorry it had so many rough spots. I think this is a good time to share that I often share your blog with my mum and say “She’s so brave and courageous-she inspires me!” Because you do. You never half-ass anything, you’re always pushing out of your comfort zone and being super creative.

    I hope next year is filled with lots of Good things of all sizes 🙂

  2. I can totally relate to this. I’ve had a big year of changes, too. Some are good and some are sort of scary. For example, I am now engaged but I have lost my job and am living in my parents’ basement. I feel your metaphors.

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