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Monday, January 1, 2018


Sometimes you celebrate the demise of a year quietly. Outside there were fireworks. Some felt a little too close for comfort as the sparks hit our window for about 15 seconds. But inside was peaceful and calm.

2017 was yet another difficult year in many, many ways. There were troubling and frustrating things, but also triumphs and growth. 2018 will bring the same, no doubt.

I do not love my current job. I've vacillated between wanting to find a new job right away and feeling that I need to complete the school year. I'm currently at the halfway mark. I believe I may have stayed too long. However, the final decision will be dependent on my interactions with one of my administrators. I have some consulting to do with district personnel, at which point I will figure out the proper course for my future employment.

The situation at home with my father-in-law is one of d├ętente. He was gone for about three weeks while he had a couple of surgeries and spent time in a care center, receiving daily physical, occupational, and emotional therapy. There is no question that he is lonely and bored at home. However, his desire for Darrin and I be the sole people who can fill those needs is misguided and unhealthy. I've told him we won't do that for him. Prior to the surgery, at the insistence of his primary care physician, he visited a nearby senior center and loved it. I'll be encouraging him to go back frequently. In the meantime, Darrin and I have enjoyed some peace at home during his absence and that seems to be continuing now that he's back.

And how am I doing?

Emotionally, not well. I've been seeing Therapist fairly regularly. He's not thrilled with my quest this year to "normalize" all relationships. He said that's something he encourages clients to do because many of their relationships are unhealthy or dependent. Mine are not. My desire for normalization is based on my feelings about the relationships, not on the relationships, themselves. Because I experience intense feelings that are difficult to moderate, I have concern that I need to make changes or strictly control my interactions with other people. Therapist says this is probably unhelpful. It simply serves to make me even more hyperaware of myself and less likely to connect with anyone.

Also, he points out, my attempts to normalize probably weren't even close to normal.

So I'm left with that. Therapist has provided a lengthy list of things I can do to help alleviate my stress in this area, but they all involve cooperation with my relationship counterparts. He assumes they are all perfectly willing to work with me on this. And I think they are, as long as the work is short and sweet. None of this will be short. As for the other, well, I'm guessing it won't be that either.

Physically, I've been better. 10 weeks of pneumonia has certainly taken its toll. There were times when I was ill that I have no memory of things I said or did. Then there was the broken tooth thing. That was painful. I now have no tooth and am waiting for an implant to heal enough to be capped. It was also during that ordeal that I realized I've shut off pain again. There's a lot of numbness going on, I suppose. It's hard to feel things when I'm very sick. 

Currently I'm battling another virus. It seems mild and I don't expect it to develop into anything horrible. But I'm concerned about a couple of things:
1. I go to school on Tuesday and there's a whole host of bugs there. If my immune system isn't up and running, I'll be sick continuously.
2. I can't be vaccinated against the flu, and it's here. I survived H1N1 about seven years ago, but I really thought I might die. I'm not being melodramatic. I'm pretty sure, even in comparison to the two times I've had pneumonia, H1N1 is the closest thing to death I've ever experienced. There were a few times when I stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated. It was scary. I'd rather not do that again.

Also, there's a good chance that my left hip is dying. I was told that whatever caused my right hip to die was not something I needed to worry about, but I'm having similar symptoms on the left. I'll be seeing a doctor this month to determine what needs to happen next. I'm hoping for a verdict of more weight loss and physical therapy.

But this is a new year. I begin each new year with a list of pieces I want to learn. I haven't had time to compile one yet, but Beethoven figures prominently. I've been spending time with Mozart and I'm ready for a change. I also have an insanely difficult Prokofiev Toccata that I've been wanting to finish. Between those two, that might be my complete list for 2018, and if I finish them, it will definitely be enough.

Other things I would like to do this year:
1. Hike more places. I need to do this in June before the heat hits. Hoping my hip cooperates.
2. Read more books (Duh! Always!).
3. Write more in this blog-- but positive, or maybe even creative stuff. I'm finished whining. 
4. Start cooking again. Real cooking. And maybe I'll document it in my cooking blog. My kids have been asking for recipes which I'm bad at creating, but I could make the attempt.
5. Redirect my PTSD. I need to stop being overwhelmed by it. It's impossible to live with anything approaching joy when I'm preoccupied with painful symptoms that distract and detract from the things that make me happy. 
6. Decide what to do with people. I know that sounds weird, but it's become very difficult for me to talk about what I need from people which, in turn, makes it difficult for me to support them or even just spend time with them. I suppose the time has come for me to figure out how to meaningfully have people in my life, or stop going through the motions altogether. I need to take some time to think about what both of those scenarios look like. Therapist says I don't get to make decisions about this on my own. But, honestly, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who cares about it. Everyone else seems fairly comfortable with the status quo and I'm not sure I want to upset that. Also not sure I'm strong enough to deal with rejection or rebuff from people I love right now. It's sort of an ugly place to be, but I'm bent on being more positive about everything. 
7. Let things go. I've been hanging onto some events, thoughts, dreams, and relationships for far too long. It's time to move on.
8. Face failures and redirect myself. There are a number of things that have been pure failures. Usually, when that happens, I look at the data, figure out what went wrong, and decide if I want to try again or move on to something else. Lately, I've just been allowing the failures to sit and eat at me. It's time to deal with those, as well.
9. Sing. Not at school or in my job, but when I'm alone and I want to. It's been awhile since I've sung simply for the joy of it. It's time.
10. Dance. Because I need to. Because it's good for me. Because. 

And now it's two hours into the new year and I need to sleep. Happy New Year. May your 2018 be everything you wish. Consider yourself kissed for luck. 

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