So... here goes... my BEST of 2016.
I had some really bad runs this year. My knee fought me for 13.1 at the Star Wars Half, it rained all through the ECSNY 10k, I didn't even get to attempt the run up Cascade Canyon, and I pulled out during MCM with an injured achilles.
Still, I travelled to some really fun places with really good people and still had a great time. Disney World and Star Wars with the other half of the Dream Team was a blast, totally worth the pain. ECSNY at Bear Mountain is one of my favorite races and even in the rain it was a total blast. Summer vacation, even without an attempt at Cascade Canyon and Lake Solitude, was so much fun (more on that later) and being a part of Team Running Strong and getting to participate in all their festivites for Marine Corps was still an amazing experience.
I didn't run great this year, but I had fun, and that's really the most important part.
I love to travel. It's really the only reaason I work at all. If I could just travel for a living I'd totally do that. I took some awesome vacations this year. Disney World 2x, Cocoa Beach, Bear Mountain, Yellowstone, The Tetons, Badlands, the Adirondacks a few times, Washington DC and also some camping closer to home. Plus I travelled with some of my favorite people, including getting to spend several days out west with my immediate family, plus Auntie Em and Uncle Dan. Wyoming is home (I'm missing it something fierce right now) and hanging out in Yellowstone with them was a total highlight!
I also finally got my complete ENO hammock set all pulled together so I can sleep outside in all weather. My highlight on hammock sleeping was probably in the Adrondacks, about 4am, something came storming passed my hammock, breaking twigs and screaming. I was pretty sure it was bigfoot. It was actually a fox. Things really do sound bigger when you are all alone in the dark!
Anxiety, Depression and the Monster that Haunts Me:
So this one should be a negative. A big fat one. I shouldn't want to reflect on this one... and yet, here we are. I've posted before about my battles with mental illness. (See here, here and here).
I think I've always had anxiety in some form, the depression came on more recently and generally as a fall out from a bad anxiety attack, which this year came way more frequently then in the past. Also, my normal coping mechanisms stopped working. In June I realized that I needed help again. Not everyone understood and that sucked, big time. In September I had probably the worst anxiety attack I can remember, the depression was crippling and I started to wonder if this is what people feel like when they start to consider suicide. How bad does it get before you just want out? So I got help again. More then that, I stopped pretending that I was alright, and the coolest thing happened, most people got it. Not everyone, Not always the people I wanted to get it, but most people understood enough that when I find myself slipping I can stop the attack before it kneecaps me and shuts me down for days.
I'm not cured, because this isn't something that goes away, but I am surviving.
I also got more tattoos, because as I told my Grad class while we discussing reasons people get tattooed- it's my therapy.
Yeah, that's right, I'm putting a TV show down. I've talked about this one before too. Supernatural for me is a whole lot like the whole Twilight thing. Which means it's so much more then a show or a movie. People like to make fun of fangirls, and they like to look down on the people that geek out over stuff, but really, these fandoms, they become family. My TwilightMom's, EFG, Book Club ladies that I "met" online 7 years ago are still some of my closest friends. Now I have a whole new group to bond with and it has been a blast. My SPN girls are funny, love a good (read:dirty) joke and are some of the most accepting and supportive people in the world. There's even a spin- off group that allows us to with mental illnesses to support each other and they have been there every single time I feel myself slipping. They even talked me through making a phone call and walking into a busy tattoo shop one day. Seriously, it shouldn't have been hard, but I was a basketcase and they were there. That's family.
Not to mention the fact that the cast of this show does so many good things. Jared Padalecki and his Aways Keep Fighting campaign, Jensen Ackles and #YANA, Misha Collins and Random Acts which has sponsered my 8th grade Leadership Group's events this year, and of course Rob and Rich who basically just make me laugh and get me through personal training each Tuesday morning with their Kings of Con show.
Sometimes the right things come along at the right time. This is one of those things and I can't wait to hit up the Con later this month.
I think I've said it before. I work in kind of a difficult school district. It's a city and some of my kids have lived through stuff I wouldn't wish on anyone. Our test scores are low and we are at risk of going into recievership. It's stressful and there are days that I just dont think I can give any more then I do. Still... I love my school, I love my kids and I love my co-workers. I especially love that everyone is generally up for anything. This December we decided to expand our week of ugly sweaters into an entire month of nonsense, which included tutu's, ugly sweaters, elf dresses, and casual photo shoots. We found that as 2016 sstarted to wind down people looked forward to our daily posts and we decided that we needed to capitalize on that, so we started taking donations and on the last day of school we drove a box of toys and books to our local Children's Hospital. So we had fun and we paid it forward to some kids who needed it. It was a really good way to end the year.
On top of all of that I can say that in this past year I've come away with the best possible friends and family. I remember reading something somewhere about having anxiety that you spend so much time worrying about what everyone else is thinking about the way you are. Which is totally true. I can't even tell you how much time I've spent replaying conversations or moments in my head, wondering what the other person thought about it. Did they think I was crazy? Were they regretting being my friend? They probably are, so maybe I'll just stop being their friend before they can stop being mine. Why did I say that thing I said or do that thing I did?
Here's the thing I learned this year, and it's a big one (for me at least). None of that matters. It's still in my head driving me nuts, but the bottom line is that people who would dislike me for something that I work really hard to deal with are not people I want in my life anyways. And so I stopped worrying about those people. I still have to work with them, or spend family get togethers with them, and I am polite and cordial, but now I don't apologize when I'm in a rough spot. Instead I just say something along the lines of "I'm on the verge of a panic attack, this is how I deal, you don't have to like it, at a bare minimum either deal with it, or get out of the way" Some people couldn't understand or didn't want to, so we are no longer friends, and that's okay. The best part is that what I am left with are the absolute best group of people around me. Who either get it, or get me enough to be okay with it. Who are up for adventures at a moments notice. Who will hear an idea like "Lets wear ugly sweaters for a whole month" and say "I'm in". Who hear the question "Who wants to do a Tough Mudder in VA?" and respond with "yeah, why not" and sign up to go tackle something none of us are currently prepared for (we will be though!) People who hear me say, again, "Hey, I think I'll go back to school for another degree" and rearrange their lives so I can go. That's the goal right? To make this journey with best possible group aroundd you, so that you can get the most out of it and have the most fun possible.
Bottom line- 2016 was not great, but it didn't take me out of the race either. Here's hoping 2017 brings more adventures and more fun!