While we were visiting my brother and new niece last weekend, mom finally got to see my wing ankle tatts. Which, of course, led to me explaining why I’d gotten them and what they meant to me. She’d seen them before via emailed photos, but seeing them in person is always different.
After explaining the impetus – my decision to quit an awful job – I started thinking more about 2015 and what had actually happened that year. Now that we’re well into 2016, I’ve finally been able to look back at 2015 objectively – that is, without the thick fog of anxiety and depression. Before, I thought that quitting was the only big, scary thing I really did, and the only redeeming factor for 2015. But that’s not really true.
I did a lot of big, scary things last year. In fact, 2015 may have been my Year of Big Scary Things. And because of that, despite the tears and the fog and the desperation, it might even be one of my Best Years. Which is kind of weird to consider.
But lining it all up, it’s hard to deny:
I accepted that I needed help with my depression and found and started going to a therapist.
I stopped waiting and returned to Crossfit, swallowing my pride because of how out of shape I was.
I realized that there was something off with my body and found and went to a fertility specialist – and considering how much I wanted to avoid dealing with doctors, this was a really big thing.
I encouraged my wife to go all out and finish her dissertation so she could graduate in the spring.
I visited a foreign country where I didn’t know the language. Very, very scary for me.
I queried a book that I was immensely proud of, and therefore also immensely protective of. Purposefully opening myself up to rejection and critique is always scary.
I talked to my supervisors about my ongoing issues and tried to agree on a plan that would help save my sanity.
I put in my two weeks notice without any job waiting when I realized that was the only way to stay sane.
I applied for jobs I really really wanted but had no chance of getting.
I didn’t apply for jobs that I didn’t want, but I would have gotten.
I got a tattoo.
I put an end date on our TTC attempts.
I went back to the fertility doctor to try IUI with drugs, knowing the drugs would probably make me crazy and the IUIs probably wouldn’t work.
2015 was hard. It was very, very hard. But holy crap, I don’t think I’d given myself credit for just how much I did and how much I survived. I’m not trying to toot my own horn, just trying to revise and rethink what 2015 was for me. It was, by far, the hardest year of my life. But at the same time, I grew so much. I accomplished so much. I saw every fear realized and kept going. I wanted to break down; I did break down. But that wasn’t the end of the world. The world kept going and I did, too.
I have lamented to my therapist that the TTC process changed me and I am no longer the same person I was. That’s definitely still true, but I can see the positive aspects of that change now.
It just took a while.