Tuesday, June 1, 2010

This Time Last Year

Not to linger in the past, but as the calendar turns and personally significant dates come into view again, I can't help but think about what I was doing 365 days ago. This time last year I was about to begin a 24-hour fast before a colonoscopy/endoscopy.

From the vantage point of a year's time, the whole summer was a blur of sweaty bike rides past tractor trailers and dumpsters to work, stomach cramps, getting to know the ugly new cubicle world that had become my life, and making frequent trips to the bathroom. I used to sit outside at the picnic table in the overgrown grass in the blistering sun, eating pre-canned tuna and crackers, and calling MamaBear to complain. "I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, " was all I could say.

I recently tried eating one of those tuna packs again, and found that I no longer liked the taste. I have close to a physical aversion now.

I am trying hard to think of that time not as a miserable miasma of misery, topped with a soupcon of fear and a smattering of foreboding insurance letters, but as a time when I went up against scary, bewildering, painful things, and came out on top. As evidence of grit and bounce-back-ativeness, and not the suckiness that is achievable in this life.

In honor of this, and of the book by Cheryl Richardson which I just picked up at the used bookstore that instructs me to do so, I will now write a list of 25 things I have accomplished in the past year.

1. Managed newfound chronic illness and attendant insurance mazes, pill regimens, doctor's appointments, dietary restrictions, symptom tracking, and medical bills. (Guess what, I pay off the hospital stay this month!! Now all that's left is the ER visit and the butt-scopes :/) In fact, let's make that an entirely separate accomplishment:
2.Paid off majority of attendant medical bills.
3.Quit soul-sucking job despite unknown outcomes.
4. Did so in a classy and non-spineless way.
5.Dealt with fallout from remarkably crap-tastic year of catastrophe.
6.Joined a writing group.
7.Took an art class.
8.Re-discovered my enjoyment of working at Eastern State.
9.Turned down offer to return to soul-sucking temp job.
10.Discovered my new favorite Ethiopian restaurant with Spangles.
11.Graduated from Celebrant school.
12.Landed 3 celebrant gigs, including one with a couple I'm not friends with!
13. Downloaded free screenwriting software.
14. Became obsessed with, and inspired by, the tv show ballykissangel.
15. Found and signed lease on a new apartment with Spangles.
16. Learned some things about West Philadelphia's history.
17. Spent a lot of quality time at family events.
18. Made medium-firm plans to attend graduate school.
19.Got a new computer.
20.Learned to cook some new dishes.
21. Began collecting songs for my happiness playlists.
22.Spent time with old and new friends.
23. Began collaging with magazine cutouts.
24.Started writing in this blog.
25. Survived. Didn't give up. Kept trying.

So, there I go. Not bad for a rebound year.


schoolmarmalade said...

standing ovation! fo realz, you go girl

Oscar said...

An exceptional "bounce-back-ative" year! I think you've found the key, or anyway 'a' key to happyish - every crappy thing you survive is an accomplishment and evidence of strength.

Supposedly, the Spartan mamas sent their sons off to war with the admonition to return "with their shield or upon it." That is, either victorious or dead but not defeated. I'm preferring the victorious part of that myself!