Personal Inventory

Yes, I’m one of those annoying assholes who does an end of the year “taking stock” kind of post most years. Hell, I may even set resolutions for the new year. Can you believe that actually bothers some people? Like it’s any skin off your nose what I choose to do with my little corner of the interwebs. haha.

Let me move on before I get any more snarky.

The themes of today’s post are (in no particular order): upheaval, heartbreak, unemployment, remodeling, moving, and travel.

In April, a 7 year relationship ended. I reeled for a long time afterwards. If I can offer some advice:

  1. If you have to move out of a home you shared with a significant other, make the move ASAP. I physically left right away, but it took me a long time to get my belongings out of the house. Truth be told, I have stuff left to get, still. And my cat. My cat is still there. Leaving things linger for any amount of time only delays healing.
  2. If you have any self-preservation instincts whatsoever, do NOT sleep with your ex. Nine out of ten times, this is not a sign of them wanting to work things out with you, and you will only end up feeling bad about yourself. 99.9% of the time, you are not that one time that will get a different outcome. This is just a BAD IDEA.

I quit a job that I loved, that paid well, and where I worked with people I love. Why did I leave? Because it was killing my soul. I’m still trying to figure out how this reconciles, me loving the job while having my soul killed. I think it was the process. I enjoyed the process, but when it got down to how specific people were affected, that was the part I couldn’t handle. I knew something was up when I had to open an FMLA case for anxiety. So… I left. In doing that, I gave up a LOT. In doing that, I am hoping I have saved my sanity. I do know that my job is not the reason I’ve sat around for hours crying without being able to stop. But I miss those people every day. Every day I have to come to a place that is devoid of joy and spirit.

I moved to Cleveland. I’ve always wanted to live in a major city, ideally, Cleveland. I’m helping friends renovate their rental house in exchange for a place to live. We’ve built a whole new bathroom and kitchen. Trust and believe we have a lot more to do, but we will get there.

Kitchen, as viewed from the dining room.

I adopted a dog. A silver/blue Pit Bull I named Daisy-Lou. She is completely awesome.

I got a new job. I don’t make enough money. I do, however, have awesome benefits. Oh, and I don’t have to feel like my soul is being pulled out through my nostrils when I’m doing this job.

I took a lot of mini-vacations this summer. I spent quite a bit of time on Lake Erie. Water always calms me. When I got my passport in preparation for taking a long vacation in Iceland, I was so excited that I just had to break it in. I went to Canada for a few days with a friend of mine. While we were there, we did the zip-line excursion near the falls. It was pretty damn cool. The best part was talking my friend into doing it. She’s the last person I ever thought I’d see dangling from a line over a canyon or whatever they call it. Mad props to my HLM, Mary.

I went to Iceland for roughly 2 weeks. It was amazing, and I didn’t want to come back. I already told you about snorkeling along the Silfra Rift in another blog, so let me share a snapshot of me on an Icelandic horse (they get offended if you call them “ponies”).

His name is Garpur, and he is amazeballs.

and here we are.

Goals for 2020:

  1. Do more of what makes me feel good and less of what makes me feel bad. This applies literally and figuratively.
  2. Launch the podcast that Barb and I keep talking about.
  3. Learn something new every day.
  4. Make real progress on my dream of writing a book.

Happy New Year, folks.

A Broad Abroad

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Iceland with some friends. This would be the first time I was ever off the North American continent. Hell, it’s almost the only time I’ve been outside of the USA. I have been to Canada a few times, but only to Niagara Falls, and that almost doesn’t count.

My favorite thing about Iceland was … well … everything. I was always an Earth Science/Geology buff in school, and Iceland is a live-action science class.

Prior to our trip, we were searching out adventures, and one of our friends found an excursion where we could actually snorkel along the divergent boundaries of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. When I heard about that, I knew I had to do it.

You know, even though I’d never snorkeled before and can barely stay afloat.

Seriously… I prefer a pool where there’s an edge nearby. I can save myself, but if something happens to you? You’re out of luck. I probably had no business even trying, but why would I let that stop me?

North America on the left, Europe on the right… or vice versa. They really should put up signs. Anyhow, this is the Silfra Rift in Pingvellir National Park

Look at that? Who wouldn’t want to see THAT?

After 2 or 3 days in Iceland, it was finally time for us to go snorkeling. I went with two of our travelling companions, Danny and Cindy, who both had been snorkeling before. They had initially planned on diving in wet suits, but it was a super chilly day (I mean, come on, it was Iceland…), so they decided to do the dry suit like me.

After about sixteen years* of being fitted for suits, snorkels, goggles, flippers, and being instructed on the logistics of our journey, we walked over to where they have you get in the water.

Terrified is not even an adequate word to describe what I was feeling. I am, however, too lazy to google a more acceptable word, so we will stick with terrified. I was terrified.

What if I fell down into the rift and got shot out of a volcanic eruption on the other side of the island, or even the other side of the world?

I know they said I wouldn’t, but what if I accidentally lose the group and end up out to sea with narwhals and shit like that? Oh, wait, it was in a lake. Never mind. But still…

Doing my best to front that all was hunky-dory, I walked down the metal staircase into the coldest water I had ever encountered.

JFC this water is fucking COLD!! But this is me learning the damn thing.

I mean, it is glacial run-off, after all. What did I expect?

A couple things struck me right out of the gate:

  1. Holy shit this water is super clear. (Clear to a degree that was almost disorienting)
  2. I am seeing something that is, to me, one of the wonders of the world.
  3. I have no fucking clue what I’m doing
  4. I am going to die.

Honestly? I had a rough time with it, at first. In fact, I tried to tell the guide that I wanted to stop. He was so patient. I mean, I’d probably have bitch-slapped me, but he really was there for me and patiently helped, and when I finally got the hang of it, with the Silfra Rift in the background, turned around and gave me two thumbs up. Not one… TWO, dammit.

It will take some doing to top that view.

It was amazingly beautiful down there. Tangible evidence of all the things you learn about in Earth Science class about how our Earth is formed. My only wish is that I had a little more scuba experience prior to going. Then Silfra could have had 100% of my attention and not just 75% while I tried to remember how to breathe.

This is me touching a thing. A thing that is steaming, very warm, and very well could erupt.

Iceland is, by far, the best place I have ever been on my very short list of the adventures I have taken. I think it will remain this way even as I accumulate more stories and experiences.

It was very hard to get me to return to the States. They had to tie me up and throw me in a suitcase. Customs raised an eyebrow, but they didn’t want any illegals hanging around Iceland, so they let me on through. That’s a joke, but I’d totally have stayed if the circumstances were right.

I wonder what I’ll see next.

to be continued…

*I like to exaggerate sometimes. Get used to it.