Friday, January 22, 2021

1/20 - My 53rd Birthday - The dumpster fire year of 2020

Today I turn 53. Where am I at?

What has happened in the last year? Soooo much!

We sold our beloved family home of 22 years. I am sad almost every day as it contained all of my memories of raising my children. I lived there from the age of 30 to 52. We built that house when there was nothing out there. It was so peaceful. We had a private, beautiful backyard with a great patio, s a deck with a hot tub, views of the mountains and the city and so many birds. I especially loved the Meadowlarks. It was brand new. It was so exciting. A lot of wonderful amazing years happened in that house. My children's whole life in is that house. All of their memories of childhood. I moved around so much as a kid that I wanted to give my kids stability. As much as I sometimes struggled throughout those years, I feel we gave them a pretty darn good childhood there. They always had their friends over to our many legos, knex, Polly pockets, barbies. So many family movie nights, ski trips, bike rides, family vacations, garage door movie nights, sleepovers on the trampoline, Christmases, birthdays., learning how to drive, graduating from high school. So many pets...5 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, 2 hamsters, 2 hermit crabs, 1 fish..many of whom are buried in the backyard. So many emotional memories as well....a very difficult pregnancy, my dd first breakups, learning my son is gay, dealing with the deaths of loved ones....all have energy in that house. I feel guilty for taking that house away from them. I also have so many fun adult memories of all the parties, trips to Lake Powell and Glenwood Springs, Chili cook-offs, New Year's Eve parties, Pub Crawls with all of our neighbors. I really miss the sun. We had great southern exposure with no wind in our backyard. I could sit outside in the sun any time of day. I miss just sitting on our beautiful back patio in the sun with some wine watching my ducks that would come every year. I miss walking my dogs around the lake a few times a week. I miss going on night-time bike rides with my son.  I really miss my house :(

A lot of hard memories happened there as well...the debilitating struggle of being addicted to alcohol, so many days spent in bed feeling so sick and so mad at myself, many embarrassing drunken moments that left me filled with regret, many really nasty fights and so much drama between extended family members, so many days hiding in my study obsessing over my alcohol problems, some really tough times in my marriage including almost getting divorced, severe depression including shutting myself off from everyone and everything for almost 6 months. So much stress and worry about owning a house...two flooding incidents, dealing with terrible contractors, a terribly built deck with under decking that constantly leaked, this breaking, that leaking, this settling allowing water in, that falling apart, my brand new remodel starting to have problems. Everything building up around us. So many more people, houses, traffic, noise. It really wasn't the same anymore. Kind of tired of living in a cookie-cutter neighborhood with not much of a yard.

I have had dreams about that house for the last couple of months. I need to let it go. We made the decision to sell and move for many solid reasons - it was a great time to sell (we got almost 100,000 over the asking price) and we were eventually going to move to be closer to our daughter anyway, my mom was/is struggling with a couple of health issues - she is fine for now but eventually she wouldn't be and there is no way she could live in our house with the stairs. I have watched her take care of bother of her parents and my stepdad until they died, two of which had debilitating Alzheimers in the end. I will not put her in a home. I will take care of her. And finally, I talked to my financial advisor asking if we could retire in five years as we have been saving a ton of money in Roth IRAs and I am a teacher of 30 years and have PERA. He said we are right on track to retire at 65 but would run out of money if we retired any sooner. We are not working for 12 more years. My husband desperately wants to retire and have some land and a big garage. After a couple of months of analyzing, making pro and con spreadsheets, and talking to anyone that would listen....we decided to sell our house, move in with my mom (she lives in a 5500 sq ft house), save a bunch of money, pay cash for a house closer to my daughter, move her with us and retire. I really struggled with the decision, but made it and now need to accept it. I need to let it go. The house is not the memories. I will always have the memories. People move all the time. It will be ok. We will find something better. Living in my mom's house is temporary. We choose to do it for very good reasons. It will all work out in the end. I need to let that house go.

COVID - This last year was also the year of COVID. No one I know has gotten super sick but it has been incredibly scary. It has been hard to watch the news but yet I have been unable to turn away. Reading about cities having to burn bodies because the morgues are full, to watching the heartbreak of loved ones not being able to see sick or elderly family is all so sad. Personally, it has impacted our ability to go on vacation and to see my daughter. I am a teacher so we have been back and forth between hybrid and full remote all year. It is difficult for me but even harder for the kids and families of young children. I have been doing all of the shopping for my mom since March. It has been so busy with getting my mom's house ready for us to move in which was quite an undertaking to getting my house ready to put on the market to selling it to moving. On top of all that dealing with remote teaching and COVID. This year has been a lot.

Trump - This has been the time of Trump. I have been incredibly bothered having such an arrogant, selfish, childish leader of our country that has no regard for international relations, the destruction of the planet, or even basic human rights. Again I hate watching the news about him but just couldn't look away. Four years ago on my birthday, he was sworn in and it was not a great birthday. I waited 4 years for him to self-destruct and it finally happened with the attack on the Capital. Not only that but it has been a year of racial protests and police violence. Politically, 2020, was a dumpster fire. So much fighting and disagreement and hatred. Thank GOd this birthday was better with the election and final admitted defeat of the racists, elitist Trump. 

My mom's sorrow - My stepfather passed away last March. He had been super sick with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. She took care of him until the end at home. It had been a rough couple of years with the end being excruciating. This year has been so hard for her. Not only is she going through the grieving process but she can't go to church, she can't have lunch with her friends, she can't visit her relatives. She has been isolated, alone, and sad. I don't know how to help her. I just try to listen and understand. 

My husband's job - he was laid off in November due to the company outsourcing the who place. He had worked there for over ten years, was making really good money, and had a lot of vacation time. thank goodness we had already sold our house. He now has another job working nights which is terrible for his health. We will see how long he can handle it. I wish he would find something else. We are getting along pretty well right now. We hardly ever fight and are both working toward the same close to our kids, taking care of my mom, and retiring.

My kids are great! My son is a senior at an engineering school. He is so smart and dedicated. He will graduate in two years with a master's degree in mechanical engineering, a major in engineering physics, and a minor in computer engineering. He has been a huge help with the move and is so conscientious about COVID and his grandma. He worries a lot about a lot of stuff - politics, the planet, his dad, human rights, his grandma, asbestos in my mom's house, fossil fuels....He also has a boyfriend of a couple of years. He even told his grandma this year. Almost everyone in my family knows and accepts him for who he is. I am so glad he is happy and has someone that makes him happy. they are funny together...just two guys who never talk about emotions or the future or fight, no drama....they just get along like two friends that happen to love each other. My daughter is teaching in Alaska. She does not like living there and goes through periods of depression because she is away from her family, but she has a wonderful husband and a dog that is her whole world. She is such an amazing girl and I miss her terribly. We will live close to each other in the future. I am sure of it. 

My sisters - this area had improved over the last year. I am getting along as well as can be expected with both of them. It is a little uncomfortable sometimes but at least they are both talking to me even if they aren't talking to each other. I am trying really hard to not get caught up in any drama, not be oversensitive, not be so concerned about their is hard and I am not great at it but I am just trying to be the best person I can be in our relationships and leave it at that. I wish we could all just forget about the past and move on. It is killing my mom that they still aren't talking to each other but they are both too selfish to get over it. There is nothing I can do about it so I just have to not worry about it. 

And struggles with alcohol.....I am incredibly grateful to report....there are not any struggles! Even after everything that has happened in the last year I have not had one single serious craving to drink. The thought does come into my head every once in a while. Thoughts like...if I was still drinking I would it sad I can never drink on vacation again?....will I ever have friends as a sober person?.....will I ever feel like I fit in at work when I don't ever go to the happy hours?.....will I have cravings when everything calms down and I am bored?.....will I be able to find new friends when we move without drinking?....Is my life the life of an old person, setting puzzles with my mom on a Saturday night?....will I ever have a social life again that I enjoy and actually want?.....but none of these thoughts make me want to drink.....ever and I am very happy about that. If I can make it through this year without even a craving....that's pretty good. I think I have learned how to be busy and I have to practice being bored and sober.

What are my hopes for this year? Well, the same goal I have had for the past I don't know how many get back in shape - to work out, work on my yoga, meditate, get enough sleep, read more, watch less tv, eat well and drink more water. I really want to work this year on mental health as well. I am really trying to live in the moment. I want to focus on the hear and now instead of trying to plan and control my future. I want to just truly believe that things will work out the way they should without me trying to think of every possible scenario and make sure I try to control the road we go down. I just need to settle in at my mom's house, enjoy the lack of stress, save a bunch of money, not have sorrow for the past (selling my house, my kids growing up, the way our family used to be) or anxiety about the future (where are we going to live, when will we retire, will I live next to my kids, will we have enough money) and just be grateful for right now. 

I woke up on my birthday morning on Inauguration Day for Joe Biden and felt a great sense of hope...for our country, for the planet, for race relations, for international relations, for the end of COVID, for my mom's recovery, for our new journey towards retirement, for my sobriety, for my happiness. It was a good feeling.