The birds are migrating through out town once again. They pause in my yard to eat the old crab apples and rose hips and the noise is heavenly in a cacophonous way. It reminds me that spring is coming, although I still must wait at least six weeks to see any signs of it.
I have been unceasingly cold this winter. Adam gifted me one of his heavy sweatshirts to layer over my own, which is good because without it our heat bill would become enormous. Darrin says it's because my metabolism slowed when I stopped running every day. He's probably right, but that is definitely not something I want to think about. I just want to be warm.
During the past year I have been fighting a number of things in my life I don't remember encountering before. I've been increasingly disinterested in most everything--even things that ought to be alarming or upsetting. I've felt no drive to work or create or do anything beyond getting up in the morning. I've had days filled with exhaustion. But the worst has been the feeling that I might not be good enough or smart enough or skilled enough to complete the tasks I've done for years. These all feel odd and uncomfortable. I'm unused to any of them and I don't like them.
In November I began feeling stirrings of needing to work more hours. For me, this is not necessarily a healthy thing, but it's also normal. I recognized that some of my stamina was returning. I had told my tax clients I would not be preparing taxes in 2013. I had trimmed down my jobs to only two part-time (approximately 10 hours weekly), and I had only five piano students.
When my strength began returning, I changed my mind about tax preparation and registered to take the necessary IRS exams. This meant studying through December and taking the exams the Saturday before Christmas--and I was still very tired. The stress of this caused me some uncomfortable moments when I was visiting friends prior to Christmas, but I survived, and I took the exams, and I passed.
I also applied for an online job similar to the one I lost in August due to my inability to concentrate and complete productivity/quality requirements. The new job required me to read and ingest information from their 200+ page guidelines, then pass two very long (oh--so long) exams. Again, passing the exams and remembering the information was a struggle, but I did pass and land the job.
In January I contacted five students on my waiting list and added them to my studio. For now, 10 students is enough. Last week I contracted to teach a class at the university in the fall.
It sounds like I'm doing the workaholic thing again, and there is definitely an element of that. But for me, what this says is that I'm getting better. I'm excited to begin teaching my class in a few months, and I finished all my corporate clients' tax returns last week (and the deadline isn't until March 15th!), plus a few non-corporate tax returns. I'm enjoying my online job--it's not causing me stress. I love my new students and am enjoying the accompanying jobs I've taken. I've actually worked with the clients in the finance business I share with my dad (Bless my father! He took over everything a year ago and has continued to allow me to draw a salary while doing very little--and he's never said a word to me about not coming to the office or being late on some commitments I've made to him. He's amazing and I adore him!), and finished up several tasks I had left behind last year. In short, life is beginning to feel like life again.
This week we'll go visit Tabitha for her birthday, and I have painters coming on Thursday (I'll be gone, but I have to make sure the house is ready for paint), so I've crammed my work week into three days. Four months ago this would probably have made me comatose. Today it feels fine--notice I'm blogging this morning when I have a bajillion things waiting for me and I'm not having a panic attack.
For the first time since August, I'm excited to see my daughter without the added anxiety I've experienced in the past months. It feels simple and uncomplicated and also for the first time, I've found myself making mental preparations for when Tabitha comes home. Prior to last week, the thought of having her come home made me incredibly stressed and panicky. Today it feels natural and right. I believe in the coming weeks, I'll even experience anticipation for the time when she returns to us.
I will admit, even recently there have been long stretches of time when I didn't believe I could ever return to the person I was. It seems I was wrong. This is one of those rare times when I'm very glad to be wrong.