Monday, December 31, 2012

Year in Review

Its that time again...time to look back at what has been and look ahead at what will be.  Every year on New Year's Eve, Trevor and I go out to dinner and have our year in review.  We talk about our favorite parts of the year, least favorite parts, what we look forward to next year.

Every year I make goals for the coming year.  I have been looking back at my list for 2012 and I can proudly say that I achieved just about NONE of them.  Here's the list:

1. Drink Less Coffee and more Tea - NOPE
2.  Eat Less Sugar - Why did I even bother with that one?
3. Establish a nonprofit animal rescue - didn't do this but did so much more instead
4. Budget - I actually did pretty good with this one.

Then the fitness related goals:
1. Improve my swim - I would have had to swim to do that
2. sub 2 hour half marathon - I don' think I even did a half marathon
3. sub 4 hour marathon, I did a marathon, but not under 4 hours
4. sub 6 hour half ironman - we did NO triathlons this year. I disappointed that I went just about 0 for 8.  Not one bit.  This year turned out way different than I had expected, so much happened that was not on my radar, not planned for and turned out to be WAY better than anything I could have thought I wanted.

In January, I got a call from Rev3, a triathlon company out of Virginia that was looking for a volunteer coordinator for their local Portland event in July.  Trevor and I had been planning to participate in it, but the opportunity to work it seemed much better!  This one call would change the entire direction of our year....we just didn't know it yet.

The first half of the year was really a blur for me.   I was in denial about how much time and energy Asha was going to continue to take from me.  We spent January, February and March dialing in her medication.  This post called Trial and Error details just some of that.  It was a really tough time on all of us.  We were getting no sleep, we were stressed, tired and I was angry....all the time.

In April, we started going to see Dr Hope Valentine who practices Chinese Medicine.  She put Asha on some herbs and gave her some acupuncture treatments.  This was when things really started to improve, the combination of traditional medicine and "alternative" medicine was really helping Asha. Meeting Dr Valentine was a turning point for us.

In May, we were able to take a fabulous trip to Maui for my friend Diane's wedding.  We were only gone four days, but it was well worth it.  It was so relaxing and we got some good night sleeps, something that didn't exist at home for us anymore.

Later in May, we started food therapy for Asha.  We changed her food and continued on with the acupuncture and herbs.  We had THREE nights where she slept all night.  But that hasn't happened since.

Around this time, I was at my lowest point.  I felt like my life was totally out of control,  things were getting better, but it was still chaos and mayhem and I wasn't really seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  The idea that this was my life for the next 10 years or so (Asha's lifespan) was so overwhelming. I missed my old life. I wanted to sleep.  I wanted quiet.  And I wanted to stop feeling like a failure.

I remember one evening, Trevor was still at work, I layed on the guest room bed and cried....I thought about where I would go if I were to leave.  It kept coming back to this....if I left, I needed to take everyone with me.  It was the chaos I wanted to leave, not the ones causing the chaos.  But that didn't make me feel any better.

The next morning, we were laying in bed with the cats and Trevor said to Roxie, our grey kitty "Baby (we call her Baby), is mommy going to take you with her when she leaves?"  I said "you think I am going to leave?" and he said "I don't know what you are going to do, but I know you are not happy".

I went on to tell Trevor all the things I was feeling.  But it came down to this....I felt like a failure because of Asha. I felt like she was showing me everything I hated about myself - especially my lack of patience and how selfish I was.  I didn't like who I was and I wasn't sure I could keep going like this.  Trevor pointed out just how patient I was and the fact that Asha was still alive and happy was actually a huge success....we weren't failing her.  He suggested I started thinking about things differently and stop thinking of the person who I always thought I was.

I had this same conversation with Dr Valentine a couple days later - how far we had come and the things we had done for Asha.  This was really when things changed for me.  I started to look at what we had accomplished instead of what we weren't able to do.  I was working hard on letting go of what I had wanted and accepting what I had, which was pretty amazing....if I could just see it. 

From that point forward, I was much less angry about things. I was more accepting of myself, more forgiving and life got easier to manage.  I needed a swift kick in the ass to stop feeling sorry for myself.  I mean, really, if this was as bad as things got for us, we were doing pretty good, right?

I also felt less resentful of Asha.  I mean, I loved her with all my heart, but there were times when I was really angry for what she had done to our lives.  I had an email exchange with my friend Alaina around this time.  She has a son with special needs and they have overcome so much more than anyone knows.  She told me that we were lucky - that the Universe had chosen us to take care of these special ones.  I wrote about that here  Once I started looking at things a different way, my heart grew exponentially and I just had more to give to everything in my life.  I started to go easier on myself.  That helped too.

With no sleep and lots of stress, training for much of anything wasn't happening!  And deciding to work the one event we had hoped to do made it even more difficult.  We did complete the Vancouver USA Marathon in June.  I was proud to finish, it was a tough day!

In June, we entered Asha into the Oregon Humane Society's Top Dog Contest and she won Fan Favorite.  This was a great night for Asha and her team.  Here is that story.

Trevor had this third Mixed Martial Arts fight in June. He had planned to continue fighting this year, but our schedules just didn't allow for the amount of training that has to happen to do something like this.  You can run a marathon unprepared, but you shouldn't go into the ring unprepared.

July was a busy month for us.  We adopted two new cats, celebrated one year with Asha and worked the Rev3 Portland triathlon. 
LJ and me

August was the month of change...I don't really remember much of the year before August.  This was when we decided to start fostering.  Since then we have had 9 cats and 7 dogs come through our home.  We have loved them all as our own - one has even become our own.  I cried when each was adopted. I was broken hearted when we had to say goodbye to our Jenny.  We had hoped she would find a great home, instead, she was too far gone and so we let her go with dignity and will never forget her.
 It started with Farrah and Lola

 Meow Ser


Romeo - we decided to keep this guy and made it official in November after two failed adoptions

 Panthro and Tygro



 Lucey and Shilo (Shilo is still with us and available for adoption)
Mrs Miniver (still with us and available for adoption)
Sweet Jenny.  She was with us for 10 days and then we had to say goodbye.  She's forever a member of our family.

In August we sold one of our stores. I remember thinking "I will have so much free time, what will I do?".  Well....I got hired at LA Fitness to teach cycling.  A week later, I was hired as the part time volunteer services manager at the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society - you can read about that here

About a week after I started at the shelter, I got a call from Rev3 asking if Trevor and I could come to Maine to help with a triathlon.  We said yes and hit the road.  Over the next three months we traveled to Maine, Ohio, South Carolina and Florida to work for Rev3. I met the most amazing people, both the staff for Rev3 and the locals in each town. I was the volunteer coordinator and worked the info booth. I have never worked as hard as I did these weekends, with these people.  Here is how that all went.

In September, we traveled to New Jersey for my 20 year high school reunion.  Trevor worked a triathlon in New York that weekend and came down for my reunion.  What am amazing time.  This was one of the highlights of the year for me.  Its been a long time since I have felt so comfortable with myself.  I wasn't self conscience about anything - not about how I looked or what I was doing with  my life or who I was talking to. I felt more like myself than I have in a long time.  It was comforting to go back to where it all began to see the people who it began with.

Next thing I knew, it was the holidays.  And now its the end of the year.  This has been the toughest, most rewarding year of my life.  I have learned so much about myself. I have found my place in the world, figured out what I believe in, what I stand for and who I am.  I know it will all change over time, but for now...I am at peace with things.  Its been a long time since I have had that. I have met so many new people and reconnected with so many old friends.  And so 2012 has been nothing like I expected or planned and that's okay.  I am looking forward to 2013 and what surprises it has in store for all of us.  Happy New Year.

1 comment:

alaina said...

Happy New Year- love you.