It’s been almost two years since my last blog post. I’ve had plenty of travel, experiences, and reflections but I didn’t publish anything. I could make excuses - I was so busy, work had really taken off, there wasn’t anything to write about - but the truth is that in life when things are going really well, they can also be going really poorly at the same time. These last two years have been a testament to that. Along with happiness, excitement, gratitude, and joy, I’ve been experiencing sadness, loss, grief, shame, disappointment, anger, and so SO much loneliness.
Marc and I separated when we got back to the US. There are many reasons for it, and out of our mutual love and respect for one another I will not detail or elaborate on this. In January 2017, soon after our return, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer - she thought it was gas. She became frenzied in her own efforts to beat it holistically but unfortunately by May we were gathered around her, in Vienna of all places and on short notice, saying goodbye. She left the world gracefully, like a sunset, and thinking about this helps me when pangs of grief mug me without warning, or when I feel the loss of her smile, warmth, charisma, and love. She was a mysterious, strong, energetic, ageless soul, and if I become even half the woman she was, I’ll be happy.
Following the return from Vienna, I had no more days allotted to me by my job, so grieving had to be done on my own time. This mostly manifested itself in my eating habits, or lack thereof, and for several months I “enjoyed” being at my goal weight of 115lbs, something I’d strived for since I was 18. While I looked fantastic, I REALLY don’t think it was the healthiest way to get there.
Amid the loss, it was good to be distracted by work and the daily care responsibilities for Stella, and my performance remained strong on the job. My sales territory grew to include San Antonio as well as Houston, and soon I was making the 3.5 hour drive between the two cities every other week. I never enjoyed living in Houston (sorry, H-Town), but San Antonio was great - THAT is a city I could love. Arid, warm, with an earthly desert-like quality and a laid back tempo, I wouldn’t have minded spending a few years there. Houston wasn’t all bad, don’t get me wrong, it’s where I reintegrated into the US (easier said than done), it’s where I restarted my professional life, and its where I did a whole lot of important self-work, but the humidity, the heat, the landscape, and the newness of the city was something I knew wouldn’t be a permanent feature in my life. My inner affirmations turned out to be true and just when I had achieved a significant amount of resolution in the issues I had been grappling with, I caught a break. Someone in New Jersey quit unexpectedly in February this year and I was given a pass to transfer. It was at my own expense but I didn’t care. I took it as a calling and left Texas without looking back for a second, exhausting all my paid time off as Marc, Stella, and I road-tripped in a U-Haul across the country. I didn’t believe in “signs” or my own “intuition” but I think I’m coming around to the idea.
The curve was steep in New Jersey. I worked hard in my territory, then applied for and received a promotion into a home office role in training at my company, something I had been working toward for years, even before India. The feeling of personal achievement, knowing I did it on my own was amazing, and if I told you my sordid story about starting from zero, I’m pretty sure you’d share my excitement :-) that will be for another day, a long time from now!
Moving into the home office has meant a lot of change. For one, I had to turn my company vehicle back in, so got my own car for the first time in a decade, which was fun and intimidating at the same time. I hadn’t had to think about car insurance, paying for fuel, or lease payments for a loooong time so it was like learning a second language all over again! I also had to move again or be stuck with a commute that was one hour going to work and an hour and a half coming back home every day. It cost us a small fortune but the peace of mind I get knowing it won’t take me an hour and a half to get home in case of an emergency or to feed Stella is totally worth it. Unintentionally, I found out rather quickly over a few months that working in an office means sitting on my ass all day. So that svelte, undernourished, 115lb bod of mine I used to have now appears more like a chubby little trash panda, gobbling up office candy and snacks while I happily type away at my greasy keyboard and take notes in my chocolate-smudged notebook. I now have boxes in my new place labeled "Clothes, <130 lbs.”
So here I am. My professional life is right where I want it and I’m happily back in NJ where Stella and I are enjoying the four seasons and the first licks of a northeastern US winter. I spent the Christmas holidays with my nephews and parents, am seeing old friends again, took a great trip to Iceland with Marc in July, and have made some fab new friends. Of course as life often goes, there’s always something, isn’t there? I’m uncomfortable with my body, spiritually a bit lost, my marriage is unpredictable, tenuous, and fragile, like an exposed, frayed live wire, and both Marc and I have done a fair bit of isolating ourselves from our “couples friends” (if you are still out there, please forgive us during this uncomfortable phase, we love you, we need your support, we’re REALLLL awkward right now). I have to be gentle and remind myself that we are only humans, we are not perfect, and life is not a highlight reel. Sometimes we have to be ok with “good enough” while we’re working out the kinks, right?
The other thing I will say with confidence is that 2019 is going to be a good year. Here’s what I’ve got in store:
I think that's the perfect place to end this long, but thorough update. I hope your 2019 glows, I wish you a very, VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR, and am excited to see where this years takes us.