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Nov 02 2015

What a difference a year makes

What a Difference a Year MakesI was sitting and thinking the other day (dangerous, I know) about change, and just how much change we’ve seen here the last few years. And for the first time, I wasn’t angry about it. I just sat with it, and was amazed that we survived the events of the last five years. Sometimes I really think it’s a miracle we’re not only still speaking, but still married.

This time five years ago we had three unexpected back-to-back-to-back updates from our families that hit us hard, on top of uncertain job stuff, and we decided to move back to Illinois.
This time four years ago was the ugliest, hellish, and most painful three months of my life. We were in the middle of an ugly 18 month stretch of stress. School for Andy was a nightmare, I routinely sobbed myself to sleep, I hated every single thing about my life. (You can read about this awesome time in my life in If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back? …it’s funny, I swear).
This time three years ago we were pulling ourselves out of that 18 month death spiral, but were still reeling from it all. I was in the first year of homeschooling Andy, Tom changed jobs that spring, and the enormity of the previous couple of years kept washing over us like waves. Treading the water of life, and getting worn out.
This time two years ago we crept around life, waiting for the other shoe to fall. We thought we were happy, but it was just that we weren’t painfully miserable. It was a grey, hazy, limbo-like existence; the pain of so much ugly change wasn’t there so we weren’t miserable, but happy? No. We tried, though. I was emotionally battered and bruised through my own negative self-talk, and I’m sure I was just a joy to live with.
This time last year (after weeks of intense discussions about what we wanted out of life) we had just put our house on the market and almost immediately had a great offer. But, because Murphy’s Law wasn’t quite done torturing us, of course it wouldn’t be that easy for the House of Chaos. We actually sold our house four times before it stuck and we finally moved in February (really don’t recommend moving in the dead of winter; 5 degrees on moving day only five days after a huge blizzard suuuuucked).

Now? I look back at the last five years of hell and am so grateful for what we have now. Tom has changed jobs yet again (and it’s such a perfect fit for him it’s ridiculous). Andy is thriving as a homeschooler (for the low, low price of Mom’s Anxiety Attacks About The Future) and J is actually starting to like middle school. I love my house, to the point of astonishment that it’s ours. It’s not perfect, it needs a little work, but it fits my family like no other place we’ve lived, including the house in Colorado we built. Living here makes me happy, and that’s something I haven’t felt in a long time.

Let me repeat that in case it got missed.

I am happy.

For far too long my default emotional state was frustration, anger, anxiety, discontent, pain. Bad news of any sort sent me back into the vortex, and it just fed on itself. Again, I’m sure I was just fantastic as a wife and mother and friend. But over the last year the vortex has weakened and I’ve been able to climb out. Living where I do now has helped immensely. My husband’s new job (and resultant lowering of stress and uncertainty) has helped immensely. Small bits of good news and life improvements have helped immensely. I’m calmer, happier, more centered than ever, and it’s scaring the everloving shit out of me in the best way possible.

What a difference a year makes.

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4 comments

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  1. Corin Goodwin

    This makes me SOOOOOO happy for you! <3 <3 <3

    1. Jen

      😃I’m happy for me too! It’s not like things are perfect, but that my default is contentment rather than frustration. I’ll take it.

      1. Corin Goodwin

        Boy, can I relate! Here’s to better things going forward.

  2. Deb

    Yea, Jen! So delighted to hear this!

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