Last week I went public with my divorce struggles. I didn’t just blog about it; I blogged about it and then I posted the link on Facebook, where it could be read by friends, family members, colleagues, chorus people, former classmates, and just about anyone else with whom I’m even casually acquainted. And the support I have gotten has absolutely blown my mind. People commented. People sent me private messages. People texted me. At chorus rehearsal people came up to me to share their own divorce and break-up stories, to tell me what comforted them, and to tell me they loved me. I was walking down the hall at work and a coworker saw me, came out of her office, and hugged me. It’s sad to admit it, but I had forgotten how loved I am. Many people said I was brave to share what I did, and I do think it’s an act of courage any time anyone speaks about mental health problems, because there is so much stigma surrounding them. But it was also an act of self-compassion to allow myself to receive compassion from others. It’s funny how walling oneself off from others seems like an intuitive form of protection but ends up having the opposite of the intended effect. It was only through allowing myself to be vulnerable and share my story that I was finally able to put some balm on my wounds.
So. Toward the end of my last post I talked about wanting to set some goals for 2015. I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past week and I have come up with some goals. A lot of goals, in fact. Maybe too many.
1. Get my financial house in order. I won’t bore you with the details of my financial situation. Suffice it to say that divorce + elderly dog with expensive health problems + depressive impulsivity (“I’ve had a rough year and I deserve this trip to Vegas!”) = financial difficulty. I haven’t wrecked my credit or anything but money is certainly a stressor. Yesterday I logged into my Mint account for the first time in ages and finally faced the financial music. And now I have a plan to move me toward my financial goals.
2. Improve my physical fitness. It’s safe to say that I’m in the worst shape of my life right now. This has been a stressful year in a number of ways and even though regular exercise would have helped with that, it just didn’t make it onto the priority list. I’m thinking that in order to give myself a kick in the butt I will register to walk the Triple Crown of Running and the Derby Festival miniMarathon. I may even try to run the 5k part of the Triple Crown, though running and I have never had a very good relationship. We’ll see. If nothing else training to walk all those races over the winter will get me back into some kind of decent cardiovascular shape.
3. Get my LCSW. This goal is kind of a foregone conclusion. I’m 75% done with my supervision hours, so assuming I don’t just make some radical decision to leave social work completely, this will happen practically on its own. (I will have to study for the exam, but from the sample questions I’ve seen and given my tendency to rock most standardized tests, I’m not too worried.)
4. Spend time with friends. As I detailed in my last post, this has been a year of social struggle. I want to do something social at least once during the week and once over the weekend, every week.
5. Host at least four dinner parties in the next year. I like cooking for people. I have an apartment that’s well-suited to entertaining. There is no reason not to do this.
6. Try at least six new (newly opened or new to me) local restaurants in the next year. I used to be pretty on top of the local restaurant scene. I spent a lot of time on Louisville Hot Bytes and enjoyed keeping up with the latest openings. Not so anymore. I’d like to make a point of trying out a new spot every couple months. I feel like there’s a lot of good food I’m missing out on!
7. Leave the country at least once a year. Obviously, this is a longer term goal. I had the good fortune of going to Spain in 2013 and Germany in 2012, and with those trips still fresh in my mind, my wanderlust has been out of control. The only way this is going to be able to happen from a financial standpoint in 2015 is if I go to Canada. However, I happen to have a delightful Internet friend in Toronto who’s assured me that she’d love a visit, so this seems very doable.
8. Read — and actually finish — at least two books each month. Preferably one novel or entertaining non-fiction and one book for professional development. I have developed a terrible habit of reading multiple books at once and never making it all the way through any of them. I don’t know how that started — maybe because the Kindle makes it so easy to start reading anything I happen to fancy at the moment — but it’s a very unsatisfying way to read. Perhaps I’ll start planning a reading list for the next year.
9. Finally learn to play the damned guitar. I have had a guitar for close to 15 years. I have played it in fits and starts but I always hit a wall in my progress and get frustrated and stop. In 2015 I would like to learn to play at least five songs proficiently. This may involve setting my pride aside and actually asking someone who knows how to play the guitar to help me. There is no shortage of people in my life who could do this, but as we have seen, I suck at asking for help. So this goal includes two, two, two learning experiences in one!
10. Update this blog at least once a week. At least two people, after reading my last post, told me that I should write a book. And writing a book has always been a goal for me, ever since I was a kid. I’ve actually started writing books several times; the last attempt, begun in 2009, is just shy of 30,000 words. (Freudian slip: As I was typing that last sentence I inadvertently typed “just shit.” Probably accurate, actually.) I miss my writing — I feel like I am most myself when I am doing it — but I also have to be realistic about the fact that I’m not at a place in my actual career right now that I can really focus on it. My full-time job requires more than 40 hours a week and I’m still doing freelance writing and editing on top of that. So I think the best I can do as far as writing is concerned is say that I’d like to update this blog on a weekly basis. I have enough things planned for myself over the coming year that I should have no shortage of content!
It feels really good to be in a place in my life that I’m actually able to set goals and have some expectation that I’ll make progress on them. That in itself is a clear sign that things are looking up.