Tuesday, December 18, 2012

a year in the life.

In the spirit of holiday cards...here is my version:

I never dreamed 2012 would bring so much change to my life, but it has and I feel great about it. So much has happened, in fact, that I utilized my ever-handy Facebook timeline to assist me in remembering this momentous year. Let's just start with:

January: So apparently I started the year with my heart full of love for my live-in boyfriend and my recently destructive dog (Cato), a lot of thoughts on NFL playoffs and a lingering homesickness for Texas and my family. These were my New Year's Resolutions. [And for the record, I am only lacking four. Three of which, I will let remain a mystery. And I will never stop liking the Kardashians.] January was all together uneventful, just as it should be.

February: There's no way to explain February without an inevitable over-share, so if that makes you uncomfortable, skip to March. Or just all the way to 2013. [Like I said, this year's been a roller coaster.] February was the beginning of the end of my relationship. We realized now, more than ever, the differences in our life goals and interests. This resulted in the overcompensation and exhaustion that often comes with trying to 'make it work'. We did a lot of fun activities, but I can't say that I really had much fun in February. Also Green Bay didn't make it to the Super Bowl. Anticlimactic. 

March: What to say about March. The final fleeting attempts at making a relationship work. Many sleepless nights. Reconnecting with old friends to feel some connection. 'Draw Something' app addiction. Cato finally becomes less destructive after a long winter of his favorite activity: playing in the snow.

April: My four-year relationship saga comes to an end...on April Fool's Day. Irony? I don't know. April certainly hurt, but despite the pain, the most notable part of April [and possibly my entire year] was the friendship that came from this breakup. I turned twenty-four and was thrown the most incredible birthday party. It wasn't fancy or flashy, but the turnout was overwhelming. I didn't know that my social web in Denver had grown so quickly. I had only lived here ten months, but I would say April 14th was the day Denver went from my city to my home.

May: Started the month snuggling with my now panic-stricken dog and watching 'He's Just Not That Into You' just about every night. But I made the most of my new friendship bonds and finally, I emerged from my sad, single hole into the glorious dating world people here refer to as, 'Menver'. Now let me point out that I had never been single in my adult life, at least for any great length of time, so this is when things got interesting. First dates are the worst.

June: Summer! Every weekend was the same, spent tossing the frisbee in the park and rarely going indoors. I celebrated one year living in Denver. I could not believe the changes that had occurred, but was excited to spend my first month in my new basement apartment. What a fun story that turned out to be. I guess I didn't spend much time in said apartment. I traveled to Austin, Vail and spent the majority of warm summer nights out exploring Denver.

July: I finally discovered my affliction for hiking. Along with afflictions for free epic concerts, not coming home to an unholy dog disaster nightly and barely getting any sleep. I spent a lot of time in Boulder and a lot of time up past 2am. [Usually cleaning up something that had been destroyed, eaten or pooped on.] You can tell I'm really getting in over my head with dog problems right about now. I wish I could write more about June, but those nights awake past 2am tend to escape the memory. Summer 2012, you were too much fun.

August: This is about the time I started to get the feeling my basement apartment was not as incredible as it seemed. It was guarded by three vicious dogs that took to biting me as I walked in and out daily. My social life was suffering as I was afraid to leave my apartment for anything other than work. And my friends surely weren't coming to my house. Hence the short summary.

September: September was magical. My entire extended family visited Denver for a wedding and the world never felt so aligned. At least since the last time my family had all been in one place at one time.  If there is one thing that reminds you how much you value your family, it's moving away from them. I ended September raising money for and walking in my second annual Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk. I was flooded with the happiest memories of my grandad and felt incredibly blessed by the support we received that night.

October: This is where my heart breaks for the second time in the year. After endless attempts at making Cato's life more consistent I finally realized that there was something missing dynamically and the fit between us was not right. I made the relentlessly painful decision to find a new home for Cato. I can still feel the heaviness in my chest that I felt that day every time I see a picture of him or say his name, but I know I made the right decision for both of us. Oh yeah, also I moved out of that dungeonous basement and started totally fresh in a park-side high-rise. So yes, I've lived at three addresses this year.

November: I think it would be fair to say after such a tumultuous year, November gave me more clarity about who I am and what I want than I've had in my life at any point prior. I've got an incredibly vast network of friends, I'm having success in my career, I'm defining my goals for the future and even on rough days, I'm able to find beauty and give thanks. 

December: As the year is coming to an end, I am looking forward to taking a week off in Texas with my parents, brothers and dogs, to relax and plan for the new year. I am lucky to start the year with new-found clarity, yet I am looking forward to all of the unknown that 2013 will bring. I feel like if there's one quality I've strengthened this year, it's my adaptability, and I'm endlessly thankful to those who have supported me through all of this change.

Until next time-

Happy Holidays from the Mountains

Monday, December 10, 2012

the driving force.

Nothing gets my %#$& together quite like frustration. 

I've noticed something about myself, and that is, I'm a bottler. Don't get me wrong, I'll vent your ear right off your head. But regardless of who knows what it is I'm mad about, it is not going to get better until I physically release the anger from my body.

This may sound like a flaw [and it probably is] but what I've noticed is that I get more things accomplished through anger than I ever do when I'm feeling great. I clean, I exercise and generally put the undone pieces of my life back in place.

I'm well aware that I have an aversion to bad feelings. I don't function if the world isn't harmonious. But when I can't control the feelings of those around me, I tend to take control in any sense that I can. It would be fair to say that anger is the driving force to a healthy, orderly lifestyle for me.

So next time you're thinking about using me as your punching bag, just know that I'm going to come away from it energized, fitting into my skinny jeans, and not tripping over anything in my room.

Monday, November 26, 2012

in the gap.

For my moose, don't fear the gap.

It is no secret that music is my favorite form of expression. I recently noticed a line in a song that I had listened to dozens of times, but never really heard. It's been ringing in my brain ever since.

"Maybe I'm in the black,
Maybe I'm on my knees,
Maybe I'm in the gap between the two trapezes."
- Coldplay, Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall

Life moves fast. Sometimes your feet won't touch the ground, your hands can't grip the sides and reality makes you dizzy. You want to run, and stop, and reach out, and be alone. But buckle your seatbelt, friend, this is when it counts the most.

Humans have an innate aversion to feeling out of control [along with feeling awkward, vulnerable, inconsistent and everything else that doesn't feel good]. But why? Because for so long we've assigned a negative feeling with these normal reactions to life.  Acceptance wouldn't be a virtue if it was easy. 

My best advice?

You grow in times of chaos, so reassign the feelings and recognize the beauty of being unsure. You'll learn more from being tossed around than you'll learn from stagnation. And pick a spot on the wall, it will help with the dizziness. 
The past is depressing, the future is anxiety-provoking. Own the gap. Live for today only. You'll catch the bar as soon as you stop trying.
Let yourself be out of control, let yourself be young and make mistakes
This is how we grow and learn and evolve.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

give thanks.

On being thankful for parking tickets, plane delays and sheer exhaustion.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving week, I've decided to take some solid advice I was given by a sixth grade bus driver and "turn a negative into a positive, and have a great day!" I hope that man knows what a profound difference he made in my life by starting each morning with such a simple phrase.

Here is me, giving thanks to some of my severe annoyances:

My Parking Ticket:
I am thankful for my parking ticket, because it reminds me that I have a functioning car with which I can park illegally. And if I couldn't park illegally, I likely would not be living in the heart of the city that I love. So thank you parking ticket, I will pay you, on-time, with an abundance of joy in my heart.

The Skinny Jeans I Can't Currently Fit Into:
Skinny jeans, I bet you thought I'd never acknowledge you during a period of not being able to wear you, but here it goes: You are the direct result of me having access to food, drink and occasional libations, without which I could not sustain life. I am thankful and I will be seeing you soon. (See Below)

The Slow Elevator In My Building [that often does not account for the number of times I hit the snooze button]:
Slow elevator, thank you for partnering with skinny jeans to remind me that I have the physical capability of conquering five flights of stairs, and I may even gain energy and access to skinny jeans from the use of said stairs. In all seriousness, I am infinitely grateful for having an able body and need to start treating it with more respect. The New Year will be here soon, stay tuned for resolutions.

Plane Delays:
I know what you're thinking, NO ONE is thankful for a plane delay, unless they have snoozed the alarm five times and live in a building with a slow elevator. Not only do I fit into that category, BUT the specific delays to which I am referring allowed me the opportunity to catch up with a college friend who I don't get to see enough, AND spend an extra small amount of time on Texas soil. Plane delays, you can be such a beautiful monster sometimes, just don't present yourself at Christmas, and we'll be fine.

My Dayplanner:
Thank you and your infinite disorganization for helping me to recognize what an incredibly solid network of friends and family I have. While having plans 20/7 may exhaust me, I wouldn't have my life any other way.

My Exhausting [Rewarding, yet Exhausting] Job:
Because not only does said job allow me to provide for myself and experience various luxuries, but I get to come home daily knowing I've improved the quality of someone else's life. It's a tough market and I'm lucky to be a part of the work force. Sub-thanks to my morning voicemails and emails, you serve as a constant reminder that I have been given the gift of hearing and sight. Exhausting job, you are invaluable and I don't tell you enough how appreciative I am for you.

Readers, remember to give thanks, not just this week - but always. [in the comment box below]

aj

Monday, November 19, 2012

intro.

For you, Grandma.
For the belief that all the trouble I seem to get into could serve as entertainment for the masses.

I am a twenty-four year old, single female, living the dream in beautiful Colorado. Displaced from Texas, I'm a social worker by trade, a Red Raider by accident, an intentional Green Bay Packers fan and above all, an adventurer.

In this blog you will find stories, lessons and non-sequitur run-on sentences of a life lived with little-to-no reservations.