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San Diego, CA, United States
I am 50-years-old, a 4th generation San Diegan and still live in the San Diego area with my dog. Writing is my emotional outlet and this blog is simply the organization of all my thoughts and feelings. It helps me to make sense of all the craziness in the world and in my life. With every experience I have and with every blog I write, I try to be a bit more introspective and seek to learn something new about myself. Sometimes I like what I learn, other times I don't, but such is my life. Welcome to it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Only time will tell if I can change




It's been five months since I've been on my own.

I've looked back more than I've looked forward, but at least I've remained in the present even if I've been immobile.  I'm still griped by emotion and sometimes cry at night as I lie alone in bed thinking about what was and what will no longer be.  I know I cannot go back.  I don't want to go back, but moving forward is difficult and terrifying.  I'm not ready yet, but I so desperately want to be.

Time.  It is all about time and only time will tell.  But how much time do I need before I can take a step out from under this proverbial rain cloud?  Depression often holds me in its strangling embrace and I am unable to breath, but I don't want help.  Admitting I need it is admitting I am a failure.  It shows that I am weak.  It is embarrassing.  I don't want medication, I don't want advice. I know what I need to do, but I simply cannot find the energy to do it.

I sometimes make a conscious effort to be miserable, because it's all I've known since that heartbreaking conversation eight months ago.  It's easier to remain unhappy, because it's what's familiar.  I cling to it even though I know it's unhealthy, but sometimes I think it's better than facing a scary world full of unknowns.

It is my comfort zone.

I don't take risks and I can't do change very well, but everything has changed.  I've been thrown into the deep end and I don't know how to swim.  I flail about, my heart pounding so hard in my chest it hurts.  I am sinking.  I try to remain calm, but inside I am reeling.  I can't breath.  And that is how I react to change.

More and more of late, my anxieties are getting the best of me, but I hide it well.  I am alone so no one notices that I've worn the same shirt for the past three days.   I sleep all day and watch NCIS reruns all night and into the early morning hours.  Sometimes I forget to brush my teeth.  I post something witty on Facebook and everyone thinks I'm fine, but I'm not.

Yes, I could be happy, but maybe I won't.

I'm afraid to try because what if I invest everything of myself into being happy and all my dreams come true?  Life would be good, but then the pessimist in me reminds me that I could lose everything again and find myself in the exact same spot I was before.  The same wretched place I am now.

I'd have to start all over again, but my losses would be greater because I had for a brief moment experienced something far better.  So why should I make the effort when I can keep everything status quo?  It makes sense in my crazy mind, but absolutely no sense when I put it into written words.

Some say it's better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all, but I wonder if they'd ever had to experience the heartbreak of losing someone who was your everything?  I'd rather pull my blanket over my head than seize the day and show the world, show myself, that I am in charge.

I know no one is responsible for my happiness except for me, but for today, tomorrow, and perhaps next week, it will be easier to go back to bed than to rise up and face my challenges.

I look around at my tiny apartment, at the things that I now have that we once shared and the memories are heavy.  I wish it would all go away.  I close my eyes and hope that when I open them again I will be a million miles away, but nothing changes and I wonder if that is for the best.

Albert Einstein is credited with saying, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."  That is me.  Same shit, different day.  I need a new approach, because what little I've done isn't working.  I need to start thinking differently, be more positive, and be more proactive to my wellbeing.  I am the only one that can make the change I seriously need to get into a better state of mind.

Somewhere inside of me I have what it takes, I know I do, but it is buried deep.  I need to find the energy and courage to find myself again, but only time will tell.  However, in the meantime, I can go brush my teeth and smile at myself in the mirror because it's been awhile since I've seen my smile.



Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Untitled


Lately, I’ve been looking over my shoulder and into my past.  Peering into the depths of time, trying to glimpse what’s shrouded in shadow; trying to catch what I might have overlooked; trying to find the exact moment.  

For some, it is definitive.  A second, a minute, or even an entire hour that they are able to grasp on to and study and know that that was the moment for them.  

For others, like me, there is nothing specific.  Nothing concrete to hold in my hands and reflect upon.  Nothing to tell me that that was the exact moment in my life when things started falling apart.  

One day I was plodding along, wrapped comfortably in my deliberate unawareness, when suddenly everything I’d known for the last 15 years was gone. I was free-falling, spiraling headfirst into the abyss of the unknown.  

There were no alarm bells blaring or flashing lights to warn me of the heavy-hearted end to the path I walked.  It simply vanished beneath me and my world flipped upside down.  What once seemed right was no longer.  Ignorant bliss was replaced with anger, confusion, relief, despair and an acute, overwhelming sadness.

But that is not completely accurate in its entirety.  

The feelings are real and the truths hurt deeply, as I knew they always would, but our path together had been unstable for quite some time.  

There were lots of moments I could have paid attention to.  Moments I attributed to and moments that would have surely altered my course had I confronted them, but fear kept me frozen.  I rationalized and made excuses and now we both suffer for our apathy.

My fear of change and my fear of the unknown kept me walking that same path even when I knew we were veering off course, both morally and spiritually. I felt his dishonesty. I heard it for what it was, even as I spoke.  Neither can be blameless, we are only imperfect.  

And then we try to move on, down separate roads, in separate directions, leaving the past behind us as only we can remember it.

Yet here I sit.

I'm thinking about what was and what will be with eyes wet with tears.  I'm yearning to take that first step that will send me towards a new horizon, but as before, I am paralyzed by emotion.

Even though I know what was is unhealthy, it is familiar and gives me a sense of comfort. I am in limbo between wanting to go back and wanting to go forward.

I need to say goodbye to before and embrace what will be, but yet, here I sit, idle and depressed,  as another potential life changing moment passes me by.




Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Retirement is NOW


RETIREMENT



noun

1.
the act of retiring, withdrawing, or leaving; the state of being retired.
I’d been thinking about retirement for what seemed like the entirety of my 26-1/2 year career and in a blink of an eye it was here, six months earlier than anticipated*.  In a previous blog post I wrote about my fears of retiring - the financial distress, the continuing responsibility, and of dying.    

1991 - My first year
Those fears were still ever present right up until I made the decision to retire, but a funny thing happened when I actually picked a date for it to be official: I became happy.  

With the dawning of each new day, I awoke with a smile and with that I found myself eager to go to work, because it meant I was one day closer to leaving the job I’d hated for so long.  

I was not accustomed to having those feelings which were directly associated with work.  In the past, with work came head and stomach aches, insomnia, anger, and depression. Not joy.

These new emotions felt very weird and crazy, but so good that I literally could not stop smiling.  My coworkers even noticed and had plenty of comments because they’d rarely, if ever, saw me smile.  

Being a stay-at-home mom to Delphine
The crippling emotions I thought I would feel, didn’t happen. Instead, the fear that had griped me for so long was replaced with a steady and growing euphoria. 

It was as if a heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  Years of stress disappearing in just a matter of minutes.  

Yes, I was still concerned about our finances, but now I had a definitive income amount and that, coupled with my husband’s income, was still pretty darn good.  

Knowing we would be financially secure allowed me the freedom to decide when - or if - I needed to find another job, but for the immediate future I plan on being a stay-at-home mom to our dog. 

All the things I’d been wanting to do, but never seemed to have the time for because my life was always about work or because I was too depressed to do anything, now were attainable.  My options were limitless and that was so exciting.  

The list of things I wanted to do (write, sew, hike, fish, etc.) was getting very long.  The only thing that could hold me back now was my own laziness.  I had no other excuses.

2018 - My last year
I am currently on Day 13 of my retirement and it still doesn’t feel real.  I keep thinking come Monday morning, I’ll have to be back at that job I’ve had such a never ending love/hate relationship with, but when Monday comes around, my alarm clock never goes off.  

I am on a permanent vacation and that thought alone makes me smile.  I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to retire and I am only 49 years old.  Not many people have that opportunity and I will certainly take advantage of every second of my days.

Dying, well, that thought still causes me anxiety.  A friend, who had been retired for maybe a year, recently passed away from a heart attack and that gives me pause.  However, I am learning to give my final ending only a fleeting thought instead of letting it consume me like in the past.  

Retired and HAPPY
I can eat healthy and exercise or wrap myself in bubble wrap and stay forever in the house, but when it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go and I can’t change that.  I’m just hoping that whenever that time comes, I’ll have checked off a few things from my bucket list and hopefully go out with that smile that has yet to leave my face.


* My retirement came six months earlier than anticipated, because when I called our Personnel division and told the guy I was thinking about retiring on March 29th, he took it as I was retiring and sent out an email notifying my supervisors.  I hadn’t told anyone of what I was thinking, except my husband,  so when I came back from lunch, everyone knew because of the email and some of my coworkers can’t keep a secret to save their lives.  

So, in less than an hour, I went from just thinking about retiring and wondering what my first step should be to officially declaring my last day of work.  However, the more I kept thinking about retirement, the happier I became so I knew regardless of who spilled the beans, retirement was the right decision.



Sunday, May 28, 2017

I want to be a Mountain Man



The life of a Mountain Man fascinates me.

I recently went to the Manzanita High Mountain Rendezvous in Lake Morena Village, California.  Lake Morena is about an hour east from downtown San Diego on Interstate 8.

I’ve been to several mountain man and living history events over the years.  I think my first rendezvous was in 2007 in Santa Ysabel, CA.  I like the Manzanita Rendezvous because it’s close to home, but there are several throughout San Diego County that I go to.  I always know it’s time for the Manzanita Rendezvous, because I see the red buffalo signs pointing the way to the Northcote Ranch, which is where it’s held.

This year I was especially excited to go, because I brought along my friend, LaRee.  I had several reasons for asking her to go with me.  One, we are both photographers and this was an event brimming with photography opportunities, so I knew she’d like to go.  

Second, I am sometimes uncomfortable approaching strangers and my attempts at idle chit chat come off very awkward, if not a bit creepy.  This isn’t a good thing for a photographer, but LaRee has no problems with striking up conversations with people.  

I figured I’d let her take the lead and then I’d stand behind her and take pictures as she engaged the Mountain Men, but really, I asked her to go because I enjoy her company.  Regardless of my reasonings, we had a good time and met some really nice Mountain Men.

Their lives fascinate me because it looks like fun and I want to be a Mountain Man.  

A mountain man is a trapper and explorer who lives in the wilderness.  That sounds like a fantastic adventure for a girl who has lived her entire life in a big city.  

Being out in nature with an endless horizon, feeling the warmth of the sun on my cheeks and the wind tousling my hair, and then falling asleep to the sounds of real nature and not the sounds from my soundscape machine appeals tremendously to me.  

Plus, I love the stars and enjoy lying outside just gazing into the vastness above.  I imagine their life a peaceful one.  

Hanging out in camp, playing cards, and just being free.  I don’t think I fully realize the struggles Mountain Men faced on a daily basis or the tremendous amount of work that goes into living that kind of lifestyle.  

Mountain Men go camping.  I love camping and the teepees and tents we went inside at the rendezvous looked so cozy I actually wanted to take a nap in one.  My husband and I have gone camping before, but since he always pitches the tent, I would probably have to learn how to put one up.  

Ah, how hard could it be?  Just insert a few tent poles here and there and voila! a tent, but I think I prefer a teepee.  I am currently pricing teepees on Amazon, but something tells me Mountain Men didn’t have the Internet or UPS delivery service for their supplies….

Mountain Men hunt and trap.  I have shot many things, but it has always been with my camera.  I have never been hunting.  I did shoot a rat once with a BB gun.  It was on our back porch.  I think it was already dead, though, or dying, because it just sat there unmoving as I got close to it.  The only thing I've ever trapped was a mouse in a mouse trap and it was gross. I do like to fish, however, and I am not afraid to put my own worm on my fishing hook.  I will even clean any fish I catch!

Mountain Men cook their food over a campfire. The aromatic bouquet of wood smoke wafting through the air and the sizzling of steaks in a cast iron pan sounds wonderful.  Mountain Men probably didn’t have the makings for s’mores, but I would still bring along Hershey chocolate bars and a big bag of Stay Puft marshmallows.  

We’d sit around the campfire telling ghost stories and sipping hot chocolate all night, wrapped in our Snuggie blankets.  I know they didn’t start their fires using Bic lighters, so I’d have to learn how to make fire by banging rocks together or spinning sticks or something.  I've been told fire is an important component for survival.

In my fantasies,  all Mountain Men are strong and muscled, perhaps resembling Fabio in fringed buckskins with feathers and beads in their long, flowing hair and I surmise that during the hot summer months, they wear very little so their skin is beautifully sun kissed.

I imagine life for them is romantic and grandiose.  They are reckless, spirited, and brave!  They are bad boys and make the ladies hearts swoon!  But in reality, I don’t think their life is anything like that.  

How long would I last if I really did try living that kind of life?  A pre-1840s Mountain Man (or woman) kind of life?  

Trapping. Hunting. Just trying to survive day-to-day and not die of starvation or scurvy.  There’s no wi-fi in their tents (if they had tents at all), no Netflix, no microwaves to cook their popcorn, no cars to get them to 7-11 when their supply of Cheetohs ran low, no refrigerator to keep their Coca Cola cold (because who likes warm soda? It sucks!).

In my mind, yeah, I can do it, but realistically how long would it take before I’d miss the comfort of my Sleep Number Mattress set at 55, a warm shower, and a clean pair of underwear and socks?  

I cannot stand to have dirty feet, so clean socks is paramount to my continued survival.  I don’t think Mountain Men even wore socks, let alone had a Kenmore Elite 5.2 cubic foot top load washer with steam treatment to wash their stank clothes!  

I could probably last a week or two, but that’s being optimistic. I have absolutely no wilderness skills, so more likely, I’d be dead before the end of the first day, killed by a grizzly bear or drowned because I can’t swim very well.  Probably die of Facebook withdrawals within a few hours.  

Although the life of a Mountain Man fascinates me,  it’s dirty and rough.  For now I think it's safer for me to remain just another Mountain Man Groupie.  I'll be happier too, knowing I can change into a clean pair of socks whenever I want.