Happy New Year, people! Blogging is starting to feel silly at this point since I mostly did it to relieve stress, and now I have a lot less stress and other coping mechanisms. But it can't hurt.
This past year has been the best year of my life so far. I've begun to learn who I really am as a person. The discoveries aren't always what I expected or wanted, but it still feels good to know. I've been able to actually buy things I like, and make decisions based on something other than money now and then. Perhaps the most significant change is that I no longer feel so uncomfortable around men that I can't hold a brief conversation with some guy I don't know very well. My insecurities have ebbed significantly since we joined Cub Scouts and I began working, and the difference inside me is like night and day.
I still struggle with how to maintain friendships on a tight schedule, and which friendships to maintain. That's a major improvement over not having a way to maintain any of them or to meet new people. With our deck FINALLY replaced, and much nicer than the previous one, I'm looking forward to being able, for the first time, to invite people over who aren't family when the weather gets warmer. Mark would never let me invite anyone over when he lived with us, and I couldn't realistically have guests at my parents' house although they were willing. It's just not even remotely the same at all. Without the deck, there's nowhere for anyone to even sit down at our apartment; there's barely standing room. So I'm very excited for spring to come again this year.
Laughing is something I do daily now. That alone tells me how far I've come. For the past 13 years I probably didn't laugh outright for months on end.
I've learned that I'm not a jeans and t-shirts girl, or a dressy girl. I'm something in between. I hate slacks, and I tolerate jeans. I like linen and corduroy pants. I hate sneakers and heels alike; my favorite thing about the cold weather is being able to wear my tie-up Clark ankle boots. I like barefoot shoes in summer. I like baseball caps, maxi skirts, colorful knit tops, and plaid button-up shirts. My attempts to stretch my ear piercings were set back when I lost an earring and couldn't replace it quickly enough, but it did finally force my one piercing to heal correctly and now I can wear normal earrings that I never could before. I'd thought it was an allergy, but it wasn't. I've learned that while I continue to hate lipstick, I love fancy lip balms. While I continue to hate perfume, I love essential oil blends. I've found a shampoo that works for my hair, and I discovered Melaleuca products. I enjoy cleaning now, and my laundry smells good, and I like all the products I've tried. On top of that, the high-quality vitamins really help.
I realized that I'm claustrophobic, which is actually helpful to me in making decisions about what kind of places to go and when. I no longer feel obligated to "just deal" with the crowds at an event or place because it seems unfair to the kids not to go. What's unfair is putting myself in a situation where I'm bound to be manic and irritable, and then expecting them to have fun and appreciate my efforts. We can't do everything. Their lives will have enough enrichment without attending every free kids' event I can find.
I've also learned, finally, how to clean what I can when I can instead of waiting for a time when I can clean everything. My apartment is never going to be spic and span. I can clean the kitchen on Saturday and the bathroom on Sunday. I can do laundry one night and dishes the next. I can vacuum the rugs one weekend, and mop the hard floors the following weekend. It may not be how I always imagined cleaning my house, but it works better than waiting for a magical and elusive twelve-hour energy burst with no interruptions. I've learned that colors and smells have a strong effect on my mood, and if the trash has developed an unpleasant odor when I get home, washing the dishes with my tropical-scented dish soap actually makes me feel happier. I like fruity and spicy scents, and warm herbal scents, but I dislike most "fresh", floral, and dessert-type scents. For the first time ever, I actually look forward to coming home at night so I can turn on the multicolored lights I wrapped around our new deck railing. They make me feel happy to be here, like my living space is pretty and attractive. Removing the busy floral-patterned curtains and bedding from our livingroom has made the apartment feel much less cluttered. Having the little Norfolk Pine we bought for Christmas in the window makes the place seem alive and cheery.
Slowly but surely, I'm collecting the pieces of furniture I need to keep the place organized. It's great having enough money to see just what I need at the Goodwill, and walk up to the counter and buy it! My car is repaired again for the time being, I'm paying all my bills without robbing Peter to pay Paul every month, and I'm going on a year at my job, the longest I've been able to work anywhere since Whiz Kid was born. Yes, this year has indeed been full of blessings. 2016, here we come!