Just Keep Swimming

I don’t exactly believe in New Year’s Resolutions and I don’t believe in bucket lists. I think that if you want to do something or change something or fix something in your life, it’s important to just do it, regardless of the date on the calendar. But with everyone talking about their resolutions and intentions for the coming twelve months, I can’t help but think about the things I’m trying to do and change and fix. A lot of these things feel more long-term and far-reaching than New Year’s resolutions.

Over the last few years, I’ve spent a lot of time trying really hard to avoid an awful lot of feelings about an awful lot of things – grief, major life upheaval, health issues, some less-than-admirable life choices. Some of that avoidance came in the form of a glass (or several) of wine, or focusing on making money, or picking fights with people who called me on my shitty behaviour. I spent a lot of days being a drunk, tired, asshole doing things I’d later have to apologize for. So many pieces of my life were becoming unmanageable and I was becoming someone I didn’t particularly like. But then…

Earlier this year, I was laid off from my job. It was a welcome but difficult change. I suddenly had a lot of down time. Time to rest. Time to do things I hadn’t done in months. Time to think about all the things I’d been trying not to think about. And time to sort through some of the junk swimming around in my brain. Sorting through the junk is an ongoing process, maybe even a life-long endeavour. But some of the things I’ve sorted out are pretty neato.

Here are some things I figured out:

Turning thirty was not nearly as awful as I expected. I’m only slightly older than I was before and it’s pretty liberating. Also, people take thirty-year-old me way more seriously than twenty-nine-year-old me.

Going to the doctor is scary sometimes, but addressing health issues that have been causing a lot of frustration means eventually feeling better.

Dungeons and Dragons is hella fun.

My physical and emotional limits are important. They’re incredibly frustrating and exhausting sometimes but respecting my limits means I have more energy and resources to help expand those limits.

Outside of a classroom setting, I really like learning about history.

Therapy is really hard sometimes, but definitely worth it.

Count Chocula exists again and makes me far happier than it should, especially since I found almond milk that I’m not allergic too.

Yelling at strangers doesn’t solve a lot of problems. But sometimes, it feels really good, assuming you’re justified in doing so.

Sometimes, the things we want seem complicated and impossible and difficult. But sometimes, being honest and simply saying “this is what I want” ends pretty well.

I really really like building and fixing things.

Trying to make things better for yourself can drastically change the relationships you have. Some friends will fall away, some might be angry that you’re no longer the person they want you to be. And some friendships will blossom and grow into something far more amazing.

The most exciting thing that I’ve figured out (even more exciting than Count Chocula) is that I have some really fantastic, lovely, wonderful, amazing, beautiful humans in my life. Folks who have stood by me even after I’ve yelled at them for trying to help me. Folks who have been in my corner over and over. Folks who have cheered me on and called me out when necessary. Folks who have shown me compassion, support, understanding, and endless amounts of love. It’s pretty unbelievable sometimes.

Some of these things I’ve figured out have been a result of soul searching or trying new things or simply paying more attention. And some have provided a new direction. Finding out that I like building and fixing things led me to look for a local workshop to learn more and I ultimately decided to pursue it as a career. I just applied to carpentry school and I’ve got some plans for what I’m going to do when I’m done.

A year ago, I was drifting and always tired and generally cantankerous and dickish. These days, I’m a lot less dickish and I’m definitely excited for things to come. I still don’t really believe in New Year’s Resolutions, as a rule, but in the spirit of things, I resolve to Just Keep Swimming. And maybe also to write more, because holy shit, this blog has been neglected. And actual swimming, because it’s fun.

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