Friday, January 1, 2010

Decade in Review

Since it's going around the blogger interwebs, I figured "why not?"

2000 - I don't remember that well.  I had two big breakups.  One was a long term boyfriend I left and the other one, while shorter, hurt just as much since it was because he indicated it was because I didn't want babies. (Oh the irony in hindsight.) 

2001 - I got really skinny (125#) from mostly eating goldfish crackers and M0untain Dew (not recommended) and basically lived in a Yah00 chat room.  Although that's how I met my ex-husband (Mr. Man), I can see how shutting everyone out in real life might have been was a tad extreme.  I started blogging on diary-x and livejournal.  I was probably the most free and happy I'd been in a long time that summer.  I worked nights for a while and then later got an awesome job that paid crap but I loved it.

2002 - I was really happy.  Things were going smoothly.  Then I had a car accident without insurance (oops), gall bladder surgery without insurance (ouch), and filed bankruptcy (sad).  I also lived in a mansion just renting a room for three months and then with my sister for a year.  I did my first ever cross-country road trip.  Mr. Man and I went to AZ to see his family.  I was so in love.

2003 - Moved to AZ to live by myself and my cousin helped to drive just an SUV full of my things.  The rest got left in my sister's basement.  Then there was a flood in her basement about 3 months after I got to AZ, and I lost all my books and everything else I'd been saving for years and years.  Gone. But I was still in love! Mr. Man finally moved in with me for a few months then was back in IL for school and work soon after.  It was hard.  We had a great summer visit in IL though.  I kept busy with my new friends who were all really kind to me.

2004 - I got lazy about my weight and gained about 40 pounds, which probably looked better than 125 did.  I was working and I started college again.  I visited my family and Mr. Man for Christmas & New Years.  I got engaged on Christmas Eve and then married on the day after New Years. I went back to my life in AZ right after the ceremony without my new husband.  I quit my job to go to school full time.  I was not the happiest wife living all alone and it certainly showed.  Mr. Man and I decided to separate for good after only 8 months.  It was a sad end to the year. 

2005 - My mom came for her first visit and I hid that I was separated.  I had hid that Mr. Man and I were not together in AZ from my whole family except for a select few.  I was embarrassed to tell my family and I felt like a huge failure.  I got straight A's in the community college, which was great when I applied for 4-year colleges!  Then Mr. Man showed up unexpectedly in August (as was his M.O.) to get the rest of his things, and we kinda sorta made a baby that day. *Ahem*  No, it was not a joyous, bring-us-back-together moment when I told him.  I dropped out of the college I was so excited about, and moved home to IL to have my baby...alone.  I walked right into single parenthood hoping for a happy ending. Yes, everyone asked if it was his since we lived in IL and AZ respectively and everyone knew we were separated.  Hilarious.

2006 - Our son was born in May & I created this blog not long after I think.  Before the birth I was a temp, lost a real job, and then got evicted two days before Noah was born.  Mr. Man & I were moving boxes into my cousin's basement in the rain and we got rear-ended very gently but still. Noah came the next day, 1 day early, via c-section only 12 hours after my water broke.  I got my tubes tied.  Four days in the hospital and I spent those four days arguing about what to name our child.  I had one 20 minute visit from Mr. Man in the hospital, and my cousin was there in the delivery room.  My dad came and got me after Noah and I got out of the hospital, and he took me to stay in WI.  He had a stroke a week later on Mother's Day.  It was a scary and hectic time.  I eventually found a job babysitting part time overnights so Noah could come with me.  I was broke but not broken.  Having a newborn was easy and I think I surprised everyone that I wasn't always in a panic.  He was easy and I felt calm.  I was just...careful.  Hey, I have a thing about germs & I had grand plans about parenting!  So sue me.  I moved back to my cousin's house in IL around Christmas.

2007 - Mr. Man and I tried to work things out, sort of, or something.  It didn't work.  I got a job I liked, but Noah got sick from the daycare and kept getting sent home, that ended that.  It was hard.  I was stressed out, angry, completely focused on my life, and just not as nice as I could have been.  I was trying to pick up the pieces and nothing was working.  Living with others is not my strong suit, to say the least.  Things happened and I ended up in transitional housing.  So while I was technically homeless from the time my child was born, this was a time when I hit a wall and ran out of other options.  At the same time I needed to move, we found out my mom had pancreatic cancer.  At that time we didn't know if it would be weeks, months, or years.  Usually it's weeks.  We got lucky and her's is slow growing and rare.  Through all that, Mr. Man and I were not being nice to each other, and I filed for divorce.  I really second guessed this decision but I had to do it to stay in the housing program basically.  Over the course of a year I went on 2 or more interviews a week with no results.  It was horrifying and discouraging and incomprehensible.  I went to job seminars on improving my resume and interviewing.  It was the start of the economy crashing, and I couldn't understand why I couldn't get hired when it was never a problem for me before. The worst one was going on a second interview for a large national lab and they lost funding the next day which caused a hiring freeze.  It's the first time I cried in front of other people in years.  My weight went back up to where I was when I gave birth to Noah.   It was the worst year ever. I basically lost everything & alienated most my family.  The only good thing that year was starting my single moms group.  I also learned how to be really resourceful.

2008 - I got my job working from home, transitional housing ended with drama over my working from home, and my toddler tried to take me down with his terrible twos!  Throughout all of the insanity I stayed in school.  My grades fell but I kept going.  The hardest part of my year was dealing with a very active, strong-willed child.  My blog may say differently, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it! LOL 

2009 - I had the horrors of potty training, chasing my child support through the government systems, and almost flunking out of school.  That was it.  Compared to to 2007, I'm happy with that! Everyone else in my family had some personal struggles this year.  I had a few financial bumps but I really felt good in general this year.  I worked 55+ hours a week every week and failed at finding time alone.  I mostly struggled with parenting issues and if that's the worst of my stress, I'm cool. 

2010 - I guess these would be my 'resolutions'.  I'm going to work on being a happier parent, and being healthier so I can enjoy my son to the fullest.  Noah starts preschool this year since potty training is complete (just nighttime).  I also have plans to move in the spring to a somewhat nicer area.  I hope to start seriously dating and we'll see where that goes.  It's a good time for changes that I choose to make, rather than change I have to make due to circumstance.

You know, I look at this and I realized it could have been so completely different.  In 2005, I almost terminated my pregnancy and now would have had my Bachelor's in Computer Science and be working on my Masters.   I could've stayed in AZ and not destroyed my credit by moving back to IL but I wouldn't have my family or even the ex (Mr. Man) around to help me at all.  I also would not have my job working from home, which even on the worst days isn't as bad as commuting in the snow early in the morning.  This also was one of those moments were I remembered everything happens for a reason.  Had I not lost my job/apartment when I had NOah, I wouldn't have been in WI for my dad & stepmom after his stroke.

Even though there's been SO many struggles to get to where I am now, we made it out okay.  I'm content, and my child is happy and just wonderful.  I often remind myself how lucky I am to be where I am now.  I see people walking in the frigid cold and snow and I am grateful for having a running vehicle, warm clothes, my apartment, and food to eat.  My family completes that picture.  Through everything it always comes back to family.  Nothing else matters.


eatmisery said...

Wow! You really put it all out there, didn't you? Amazingly enough, all the hardships have not broken your spirit. You're a real trooper and I admire that.

I hope 2010 is a great year for you and for Noah! You deserve it!

Jennifer said...

Thanks. I vowed that in 2010 I will be more open about my life, and it does make me a little uncomfortable having some of that out there. It's not all pretty sunshine or venting some injustice, which is what I usually do. Or the famous "I'm here just busy." placeholder!

I also didn't want it to seem like we've only had negative things happen. Everyday things like going to the zoo and my single parent group and my book swap group were fun times. I forgot about getting my Associates in 2007. Reconnecting to my extended family has been positive. Even our first family Christmas tree (that I got from Freecycle) made things seem not so bad.

My hope is that someone who might be struggling now may read this and it helps them. Isn't that really why a lot of us blog publicly?

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