Here we are several days into a new year, a new you (yeah, right! If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from therapy over the years, is that change in yourself is hard to come by and compelling someone else to change is even more unlikely), and a new decade! To honor the last, I will try to outline some of the last 10-year highlights…
2010 – I became a wife (I am still contemplating the wisdom of this decision, some days significantly more than others) and mom (I relish in the joy of parenting, except when my 9 year-old has 10 friends spend the night; none sleep more than three hours, and one vomits all about our living room at 4:30 am, all of which occurred last night and is irresistibly fresh in memory to not lament over).
2011 – I separated from a highly toxic employer – Brownstein, Rask, et al. It was a law firm couched in 1970s culture, furniture, and fixtures. From the moment I walked through the front, faux wood paneled double doors (in October 2007), I sensed doom but also was attracted to the challenge (what disturbing thing does that say about me?). Why I stood for four years of sexual harassment, intellectual insult, and good ol’ boys entering my office unannounced asking me to retrieve dated caselaw on my “magic box,” I am have no justification. All I can point to is paralysis by way of student loan debt and debilitating personal weakness.
2012 – I largely played stay-at-home mom (with all the guilt, shame, and general malaise of a highly educated feminist seeking a sense of personal and professional achievement) while wracking up to the tune of $20k credit card debt. Half way into the year, I replied to a Craigslist ad (probably my 200th since being unemployed) seeking a maverick of all things real estate, family law, and office management – the compensation was a whopping $19/hour. The boss was a mad scientist (licensed as both a dentist and electrical engineer, really) turned slum lord, and I negotiated a 20-hour work week in a window-less shipping container turned to office abutting a junkyard. It provided a little work-life-balance and a lot of property management, small business craziness.
2013 – I successfully took-on the challenge of coaching and managing Madison High School’s swim team. I connected with dozens of eager, wide-eyed, hard-working student-athletes and their families. (My faith in humanity was largely restored, and I continue to believe whole-heartedly in the power of youthful optimism).
2014 – I was awarded coach of the year for growing an impressive swimming program at Madison – it more than doubled during my tenure at the helm. I found a relatively comfortable balance between motherhood, community involvement, and professional work as I joined the Bonneville Power Administration as a Contractor specializing in privacy law.
2015 – I made a concerted effort to use my new employment opportunity to pay down debt, and I began investing in stocks for the first time. Motherhood and community involvement persisted too.
2016 – Neve and I joined several family members (while Cary stayed back in Portland for gigs) for an unforgettable trip to the Big Island of Hawaii – think long days at the beach, swimming with turtles, daily hill runs, more sun than any doctor could, in good conscience, recommend, mai tais at a traditional luau, and an almost endless stream of bud light.
2017 – We bought a house in SE Portland! We also started capitalizing on home ownership by Airbnb’ing a guest space every time we went out of town. My financial future began looking up – perhaps for the first time since graduating from law school with more than $135k in student loan debt 12 years earlier.
2018 – Cary suffered his first death. After his knee replacement surgery, his sodium dropped precipitously and the resulting brain swelling caused a massive seizure. I alerted 9-1-1, and his heart flat-lined for 7 minutes in the ambulance directly outside of our home. He spent the next two weeks in intensive/acute care at OHSU. He was released on Dec. 17, the day before Neve’s 8th birthday and we returned to the hospital to share Christmas carols on Dec. 25th with patients and staff in the two units where Cary stayed.
2019 – I marked my 5th anniversary in my current role at BPA. Cary continued to recover, and we continued to make improvements to our home. We traveled to Ireland (my first time on the island!) with Neve and my parents – the weather was awfully kind to us throughout our 10-day adventure. I saw countless live-music gigs performed by Cary and others (Storm Large, Winifred Horan, Kathryn Claire, etc.), and we rounded out the year with an unforgettable 40th birthday bash for yours truly.
All in all, this is a high-level overview but I feel blessed for progress in the past decade and I look forward to more momentum in the 10 years to come.
To honor my “new years resolutions” (I don’t really subscribe to self deprivation or unattainable goals), namely more napping and more sipping (other than light beer), I napped this afternoon and I mixed a simple cocktail inspired by leftover ingredients from Neve’s birthday – a raspberry-lemonade, vodka, spritzer. Voila! It’s sweet, refreshing, festive, and definitely a repeatable concoction. I plan to mix one new cocktail per week this calendar year – 1 down, 51 to go!
Happy New Year, all!! Looking forward to connecting with you in 2020! Mwah!