5 days short of a year ago, we got the call that our plant was being closed. Ray had been on strike for only a month and instead of trying to come to an agreement, the company just pulled the plug. Extra sickening now is the fact that the guy who chose to make that decision got fired for mismanagement of the division….including making the wrong decision about NWD. A year ago this month I was SUPER stressed, working ridiculous hours and trying to make it all work. It was not a good situation and it continued to degrade over the next three months. Eventually, on September 30th I got marked off work for three weeks, went back and quit my job and then another week later started a new one. But…I digress.
A year ago today………I wrote this: I’m mentally exhausted, physically out of shape and emotionally drained. If I could have known how hard it would be to turn that tide….well…I’m glad I didn’t know. It’s been nearly a year. I am 1 full year older than I was when I wrote that. A full year has passed and I feel as though I have nothing to show for it. In the last year, in no particular order: I’ve changed jobs, been couched with chronic back/neck injuries a few times, run a 5k, rode my bicycle to work and home for two weeks, walked home for two weeks, been to the gym, skipped the gym, declared myself a social media addict, left social media altogether, went alcohol free for 30 days, ate cookies and chicken wings and ridiculous amounts of vegetables, was in the hospital, went on a weekend away trip, travelled for work, been off for medical leave for 3 weeks (froot-loop leave?), updated my resume, chucked my resume and did a 100km walking challenge.
What have I learned from the last year? Is it wrong to say that I’ve learned nothing? Is it a waste to say that the last year has been, not a lesson, but a dog-fight? Is it too dark and negative to say that the only things that I have learned about myself are the dark ones? The ones that don’t bring you closer to your goals. The ones that I can recognize as those that take me further away from where I want to be? What if you recognize them for what they are but you don’t feel like you have the energy or power to avert your eyes and force yourself to move in another direction? Is it giving up to say that all your energy has been used up and siphoned off in order to keep your head above the water? That sometimes there really is just nothing left to give?
So what if the last year was a waste. What if I really did just keep my head above water? Is that so awful? No….it isn’t. It happens. Looking back to when I first started this blog, I felt like I had it all figured out, like all a person had to do was want something enough and dig deep enough and they could have it. Lack of time and lack of energy and any other of the myriad reasons for non-success; I didn’t appreciate or acknowledge them. I certainly didn’t have an appreciation for what life is like when everything has been blown up without your permission and put back together in a way in which is unrecognizable or even partially recognizable but just…..different. I didn’t have an understanding that when you are trying to keep your sanity and fight off depression and simply make your life work, that there might not be any energy or mental stamina left for anything else.
Boy, do I understand it now! I don’t regret the last year. I’m disappointed in some aspects, for sure, but I don’t regret it. There were a lot of non-great things that happened….but there has been some good stuff too! Let’s just say that I wouldn’t give back the last 12 months.
I’ve been struggling with myself on a few different levels lately and have been working hard to turn them out and shake them off. As always, one of the biggest issues for me is food, exercise, body image, weight. It’s HUGE in the scale of “how I feel about my life”. Maybe that’s not how it should be, but it is. My weight, eating, exercise and personal perception make up a huge part of my fabric. Sorry, but not sorry. In the last 12 months I tried….from time to time…..but the energy just hasn’t been there. I’d get going and get hurt. Or I’d get going and some other major thing would happen. Or I’d get going and realize that I simply didn’t have the energy to add one more thing in. I still tried. And then a while ago I stopped trying. I kept wanting to try….I kept wanting change….I kept picturing change. But I stopped actually trying to make change. I know all of the reasons for it and I don’t need to lay them out here; we all have our own unique circumstances and issues. It’s up to no one else to decide if those circumstances or issues are valid or excuses. I know what they are. Some are valid. Some are not.
I’ve come to the point now though, a year later, that valid or not, everything else needs to take a backburner to the things that I feel are the most important to me. If I changed nothing right now, lifted not one finger, altered not one detail, I can see clearly where I will be on this day in 2015. If I change something, alter a few details, lift more than one finger more than once, I can’t predict what the outcome will be. Maybe a person’s fate is sealed, predetermined and unchangeable. Or maybe…..you can create what you want.
I’ve come back to this blog because I know that I’m not the only one who is struggling. I know I’m not the only one who is disappointed in the last 12 months. I know I’m not an island. I came back to share my struggles and to put light into the darker corners. I’ve disabled my “like” button because that’s not what this is about. The comments I will leave open; not for anyone to cheer me on or tell me that everything will be fine….but to share your own struggles if you have them, to anonymously admit that shit stinks, to put a little light on your own darker corners and take a step with me in the direction you want to be going in, whatever that is for you.
I’ll be the first to step out of the dark corner and say that I am struggling too. Coming from some very similar circumstances as you, the past year has really fucked me up. I am absolutely NOT in the place that I thought I would be (or wanted to be ) one year later. Not. At. All. I had no idea that when things blew up a year ago, that the fallout would be so far reaching and long lasting.
I really appreciate your honesty and candidness with this post. I have felt like I have been struggling alone lately and nobody can really understand what I’m going through – except now I know you can/do and I really appreciate that.
Also I miss you SO MUCH.
Ya, I could not have predicted that after a YEAR we would still be figuring shit out. No one talks about it though. 115 people have gone through the same as we have at the same general time….and no one talks about the trauma of rapid change. When we see people from “the past” and we all do The Big Catchup, all everyone says is how wonderful things are now (us included). No one wants to admit that they were flattened and might not be quite picked up yet. There are still union members who email the whole group EVERY DAY lamenting what has happened and wanting things to change and to be fixed. For a while I thought they were nuts and to “please…just get the hell over it”. I realize now that they are traumatized and possibly unsupported and probably uneducated and trying to settle their own dust the only way they know how.
I feel as though my dark corners from that time are slowly shrinking, the sadness, resentment & trauma are a fraction of what they once were………….but the devastation that they have left behind is complete. I don’t overly mind that The Bad Place is gone now, sometimes it bugs me a bit but for the most part, that chapter is done. My main issue now is with cleaning up the wreckage that it created and turning that tide around and reclaiming ownership of myself and my happiness.
I miss you a zillion also……………and we should just go for lunch one day. Not when I’ve gotten a haircut or when I’ve lost weight or when my life appears perfect (substitute “my” for “our”?). Right now…as the people that we are this moment…who love and miss each other.
I would LOVE to go for lunch or coffee or wine or whatever. As is.