Three days away from stepping out of year 55 and in to year 56 has gotten me reflecting on this incredible pivotal year.
People usually associate year 50 with a big change and maybe that was the case for me but really it was a year of anguish and challenges. Yet I got through it alright and launched in to a new life of shining. Sometimes we gotta go through Hell to get to Heaven.
Just thought I’d do a little retrospective of this year as it was filled with SO much and give it a nod and a bow of gratitude and thanks as 55 really was my year. In all my life, this one was the most remarkable I think.
Spent my birthday last year back at Rancho La Puerta dreaming big once again. I made another prayer arrow and continued to blast in to the Universe my desire for a mate–not any mate of course–MY mate. That was always my wish…for the last 2 decades. Against all odds I kept wishing for it.
I started out 2015 getting engaged. I should be able to remember the exact date and I think it was Jan 9 maybe? My honey put a ring on it and got down on two knees in the middle of nowhere PA on a cold snowy night. He stuck a box in his still decorated Christmas tree and surprised but didn’t surprise me. I returned from that whirlwind trip a woman betrothed (is that the right use of that word? I think so).
Within days of returning from PA, I pivoted again. I closed up my business for a month, closed up my home, serviced and packed my car and drove off alone on a big adventure to the great Northwest where I lived for just shy of a month, writing. I completed 30 chapters of my memoir Middle Child holed up in a gorgeous studio with a fireplace and a view. I knew the moment it was time to put closure on that beginning of the book and put a pause on it. My wonderful fiance met me up there, we had a beautiful Valentine’s Day in Seattle and drove down California together on our first road trip. It was, as everything is with him, filled with fun and laughter and adventure.
I learned on that drive just how much he knows about cars and trains (it’s really kind of crazy).
While in the Northwest we had our first fight (and the only really bad one–gotta know how to argue right?) and make up. And it’s where we started our ritual of drinking champagne. We pop open a bottle of bubbly every time we meet after time apart now. I love a ritual.
I also planned my wedding there–nearly all of it! I found a designer to make my wedding dress, planned our stay/honeymoon in Niagara Falls and it was a welcome respite to the diving in to a homicide investigation/trial, autopsy reports and mental illness. Some days I just devoted to wedding stuff simply out of maintaining my mental balance.
(my friend Kathy Winter threw me THE MOST AMAZING shower in April)
I posted all about that here but remembering that trip brings a big smile as we had just a perfect wedding and trip and I wouldn’t ask for one thing to be different. I can’t wait to go back to Niagara–it is truly a wonder of the world!
Although our cross country marriage is unconventional and curious to some, for us it’s absolutely perfect. We are both loners and introverts (I’m a social outgoing introvert which is totally confusing) and have been alone for a long time. This allows us to ease in to this marriage. He makes his money there and of course has his two adult children and darling 4 year old Lillian nearby. I make my money in AZ and have my dad and brother I need to be close to so this is how it works out for us. We are each other’s respite, at times relief, adventure outlet and safe haven. I love being married to this man and just like this.
I’m sure in maybe the not too distant future we will have a different living arrangement but we decided to play the cards we were dealt and couldn’t be happier with it. It’s a life of movement and adventure and exploration. It’s really like the life I was already living but now with a partner. John understands me, my unique challenges and loves me unconditionally. For the first time in my life I know what it means to fully trust a man on every single level. That in itself is a miracle.
About one month from returning from my wedding/honeymoon, crisis struck. I was hit in a parking lot by an 84 year old drunk driver. I was a pedestrian pushing my grocery cart and was flung head first in to another car at full acceleration as the driver’s foot slipped off the brake and on to the gas.
What I’m left after going through all of that and the following rehab (which I’m still in) is that my life has new meaning now. The fact that I hit head first, unprotected, with such force and didn’t have a massive brain injury, fractured neck or worse surely has gotten my attention. No one working with me in therapy can believe I wasn’t more injured. Especially when they see a picture of my shopping cart, also hit with the same force–so hard that its momentum kicked a parked car out of its position in the parking lot. Amazing.
I have a renewed sense of purpose after that and am looking at my life in an entirely new way. I also learned about true love and support from a man. My husband was amazing taking care of me for an entire month.
My life hasn’t changed all that much in terms of how I spend my time so I may be married but still have lots of individual time with old friends and cultivating new ones. I vowed not to become one of those “now that I’m part of a couple we only do couple things” type of people so I’m not. In fact I’m even more sensitive to my single gal friends making sure I don’t abandon them now that I’m married.
How could I wait so long to mention my darling stepdaughter Lillian? She has been such a bonus addition that came with my beautiful husband! Who would have ever guessed, me, childless and feeling like I really missed out on something important in life, could at 55 meet a man with a 3 year old? Most people our age have grandkids that age. And honestly I could see a lot of women not being so ok with this situation but not me. I may be one of the few women on the planet who is absolutely ecstatic to welcome this darling beautiful little girl in to my life.
We took Lillian in September on her first plane ride to Maine where we stayed for a week on the beach. It was gorgeous and incredible to have my own family like that, finally. Her mother was gracious enough to allow her to be with us on her 4th birthday–amazing. I absolutely adore Lillian and she feels the same for me. I am so in awe of how my life turned in this way and that I get to be involved with a little tiny girl growing up to a woman and all that comes with that. It’s almost hard for me to write about, this is that huge for me . It’s almost hard for me to take it all in sometimes.
John’s two adults kids are great too–Alyssa and David–and we’ve spent quality time with both of them back in PA as well.
I bumped up my writing adventures this year and got several pieces published in an online magazine called Elephant Journal. I picked them to pitch to because I’d been reading them from inception and felt their publication really matched my sensibilities. Good thing they think so too. You can see my six pieces here. It’s honed my writing skills somewhat as I’m getting ready to dive, again, in to finishing my book next February. Again for a month in Edmonds–this time to finish it.
John and I went back there this Fall to the writing conference where all of this writing started. We met a freelance writing coach/editor who both of us will work with. I’ve decided to pitch my book to some big publishing houses so she will help me with that process. My confidence in it really elevated this year so I’m gonna start big and see where I go. Either way, it will get published and I will finish it. It’s been cathartic and healing for me.
I found a home across the parking lot from me for my Dad and brother to move to which also happened this summer/fall. It’s of course challenging having an aging parent and mentally ill brother yet rewarding as well. I was glad to move them out of the 872 square feet they were living with their 2 cats and in to something closer and larger. I helped my brother outfit his room with a beachy theme and am hoping they are settled in there by the end of the year. I learn patience every day with them (or don’t learn it sometimes).
John (Alfonse) is still singing with the chorus and even went on an overnight weekend retreat with them out of town. This is major stuff considering where he’s been. He even got himself there and back all on his own! He’s up and down with symptoms but I always keep a close eye on him no matter where I am.
John (hubby) comes tomorrow for our next adventure to Santa Fe for my birthday–another road trip! He’s been making arrangements and reservations. It’s so wonderful to be married to a giver–I’ve just never experienced anything quite like it. Well worth the wait!
I’m sure there’s much more but that’s what’s flowing out this morning.
55 was an amazing year of new beginnings and transformation and LIFE!
I head in to 56 even more excited to see where it will take me. I’ve decided my theme word for next year is MOVEMENT. So get ready…things are gonna shake up.
Thanks for being along for the ride all….love you all out there reading and caring. 🙂