I spent the morning at the motor vehicle office with my wife, trying to complete step two of our name change before the new year is set to begin. We’d hoped for a day like yesterday at the social security office, exciting and easy, but this was entirely the opposite. We both encountered troubling issues and only one of us walked away with the name change applied. My wife will have to go back Friday and hope everything is cleared up by then.

Afterward, we set about the business of marking the last day of the year. Weeks ago we talked about going out tonight but our group of friends are in a delicate state right now and the world hasn’t felt very safe in general these past few days. It’s going to be bitter cold, we’re both over 30 and not as quick to recover as we once were, and to be honest not many events felt worth the expense so we’re staying in.

So instead we bought copious amounts of indulgent and delicious foods. We have a large spread of snacks, andouille sausage, crab legs, corn and potatoes for dinner, a bottle of white wine, some syrupy amaretto to sip, and two perfect little cakes for dessert.

I had thought I would spend the day reflecting on the past year, but I’ve done so much of that in the last 30 days that there is nothing else left to go over. This day feels outside of the calendar entirely now, not a part of 2019 but not yet 2020 either. Today is a day for waiting, a single breath taken before the beginning of a new journey. I’m ready to let go.

I only hope I can make it to midnight to kiss my wife and tell her I love her for the 18th New Year’s Day in a row.

Currently // December 2019: Warmth for the Body and the Soul

“It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready.”  ― Sarah Kay December for many is dull, dreary, and depressing. For others, it is the exact opposite, a time of brightness, warmth, happy memories and memory making. For me December typically falls into the former description. I’ve never liked the bitter temperatures or the… Continue reading Currently // December 2019: Warmth for the Body and the Soul

So, I overdid it today just like I told myself not to. I couldn’t help it though. I was feeling so good and happy and the sun was shining and I just wanted to feel normal for a while. I don’t regret one minute of it.

I woke up early to get to the Social Security office first thing. It’s only around the corner from us but the place was very busy and I think we may have waited over an hour for our numbers to be called. The wait was hard. There were no seats left, and the room was small. There were two security officers and more than a couple people making us nervous in the place. I worried over what might happen if we reached code capacity.

Once our tickets were called though all my anxiety melted into pure excitement. The procedure itself was painless and I now have 2—unhyphenated thank you very much!—last names. We are finally a family unit.

Afterward we tried a new brunch place near our house that I always thought from the looks of the outside was nothing more than a knock-off Starbucks but it turns out is actually a legit establishment with an extensive and delicious menu. I ordered the corn beef hash and was not disappointed. Even the drip coffee had flavor!

Then we went around to a few near-by thrift stores hoping to find something to house the new air plants. I didn’t find what I was looking for but came home with new camping plates, Moscow mule mugs, drinking glasses, wall decor, a vase, and no less than 10 new books.

Since being home I’ve worked out, done laundry, ate a most delicious gyro, and had a glass of amaretto straight up. The night is turning late and there’s no more good I can squeeze out of the day. I think it’s time to head to bed. Tomorrow will be another big day and I need the rest. We’re heading to the dreaded Motor Vehicle office for step two.

Goals // Week 01

This week is the second week of winter break and I’m only planning to go into work the last two days just to schedule the next week and complete some small tasks. With all those extra hours at home—outside of a few small errands, time I plan to spend with my wife, and the New… Continue reading Goals // Week 01

I’m feeling quite the opposite from last night. Much more productive and positive. I’ve been in the “creativity room” for hours now, writing little blog posts and working on my resume. I’m proud to announce it’s nearly finished now and all I have left is to draft a cover letter.

I’ve never had a resume before. I’ve worked at my current job since I was in my early 20s and since then I just haven’t needed one. I’ve taken on more responsibilities, been given more hours and perks, and the opportunity to learn a lot of neat things but none of them required a title change until now.

I was worried when I started it that there would be nothing to put on it but it turns out I have done and still do quite a lot, and I even left some out! I needed to see it all laid out like that to see just how hard-working and driven I am even with walls erected all around me I still find room to grow.

The day passed slowly and then suddenly, in just this moment, I feel like it’s just about over. There was so much more I wanted to do. Most days are like that I suppose. I think there is so much more time than there is and so much more energy and focus in me than is probably possible. Still, I feel good and for the rest of the evening, even if I do nothing else at all productive I have this small moment of pride. That’s more than most have on most days.

I got up later than I wanted to but after a late night back home and a restless night of sleep I can’t really be too hard on myself over it.

The goal is to spend the day taking care of myself so I can recover and get back to the schedule I have worked so hard to cultivate these last weeks. So, it’s a lazy Saturday. I’m happy about it but there is a grain of guilt irritating underneath it. I think I should be doing more around the house but none of those projects are what I really want to do. What I want to do is read and write and spend time I know I won’t have again for months and months in my “creativity room”.

And as I always do when I’m caught between doing what I want to do and feeling guilty for not doing what I think I ought to do, I opt for the worst possible choice, to do nothing at all instead. By now my willpower is non-existent and I’m wasting the evening watching movies and playing games on my phone. I know I should get up by my body won’t move without a satisfactory answer to why and “because we should” isn’t at all good enough.

“And,” my body reminds me, “we need the rest. We deserve to tune out and here we have cuddly pets and a loving wife willing to waste the night with you. It isn’t so bad or useless and you say. Life is lived here too, and it is a worthy life. Allow yourself to enjoy it.”

This morning started out slow. I didn’t get the best night’s sleep last night and part of me tried to negotiate me out of going into work but I knew if I just fought through it, faked it until I made it, and focused on how good I would feel after going in, doing what need to be done, and then starting the weekend guilt free, I would be just fine.

Since then I have alternated work with writing, stayed hydrated, kept moving, and consumed copious amounts of coffee. I’m feeling good at the moment and savoring every second.

The good feeling didn’t last long. I crashed hard as the caffeine wore off and after lunch my poor body could take no more. I slept for over an hour on the couch. I needed it though and now I feel rested and ready again to venture back out into the world.

Tonight is date night. We have movie gift cards to spend from the holidays and I have been waiting a long time to see the Uncut Gems. I’ve loved every movie I have seen from A24 and from the trailer it looks like Adam Sandler plays the hell out of this lead role.

The temperatures have plummeted outside and I can see fog forming around us under the streetlights. It will start snowing soon but no one seems to mind. The streets are still packed and the first restaurant we tried had a line too long for us to wait. It’s ok though. One of our favorite restaurants moved even closer to the movie theater, just a block’s worth of walking away.

We’re having bar bites and wine for dinner and for dessert we’re looking at the holiday cocktail menu and an order of churros to share. It’s going to be a frigid walk back the car in a few hours but for now, winter is nice.

I’m back at work bright and early this morning. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it since my body was slow to cope and cooperate. I was up some overnight dealing with pain and discomfort but after such a heavy meal last night and a lower dose of steroids I really thought I’d be much, much worse off.

I’m learning to consider it a good thing when my body wakes me up so early these days. I’m learning to listen when my body says it needs more time to move more slowly in. Since accepting this I’ve had a much easier time of things.

I wanted to take the day off, or better yet the entire two weeks, the same as everyone else, but I have work and money to make up so here I am. At least the work is easy and for the most part I’m being left alone. I can make time for my own personal pursuits in between tasks and since I have even less scheduled to get done tomorrow, the option is open to start the weekend early if I choose to.

I was up before the sun again but my wife joined me shortly after so we could Facetime the nieces and nephews and watch them open their gifts together and then head to brunch at my mother’s house to open gifts with our in town family.

As much as I love my family and enjoy giving and sharing joy with them, I’m looking forward to a quiet Christmas dinner just the two of us. We’re cooking together, our new holiday tradition. On the menu is lamb again, like on Thanksgiving, but this time with a new recipe, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, lots of wine, and a raspberry mousse cake for dessert. I’m very excited.

But until then I’ll have to feign the holiday spirit. I’m not feeling well still and Christmas day has always been a holiday tinged with some anxiety and sadness for me. Coming from a broken home and a dysfunctional family meant missing the family that couldn’t be there and fighting with the family that was. Coming from poverty meant feeling guilt for whatever gifts you got and shame for your angry over what you didn’t.

Of course, life it different now, but our childhood selves never leave and they never grow and we carry their pain with us too. To that little girl in me: I’m sorry. It gets better. I’m here and this Christmas will be better than one you ever knew with love and warmth and safety. Merry Christmas. I love you.

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I’ve gotten up before the sunrise without an alarm or threat of a work every morning since last Friday now. I miss the feeling of luxury that comes with sleeping in but having the house to myself and a few extra hours to create in have been really nice too.

It’s Christmas Eve today and even though I was able to muster up the holiday spirit just in time, holding on to it is proving difficult. I’m just so tired and still dealing with the pain and frustration of chronic illness. At least I will get some time to rest before our celebrations begin later. I’m hoping that through enough medication, napping, and caffeine I’ll be able to hold on to all that cheer through the next couple of days.

My wife made a nice breakfast with homemade biscuits, eggs, and bacon. We watched a few Christmas movies and around midmorning fell asleep together with the dog and the cat on the couch. It’s been a long time since I’ve napped so peacefully. Another luxury.

We spent the evening with my in-laws eating too much Italian food and drinking too much wine. I broke my promise to myself and over did everything. My stomach has been protesting for hours. It was a good time though and I don’t regret a thing. I loved our gifts and I think our gifts for others were well liked and appreciated. I’m almost sad that the holiday is nearly over, almost. There was so much more I wanted to do and give, that’s all, though I supposed the time for doing and giving doesn’t have to end with Christmas, does it?