At the start of 2019, I’d just lost my grandfather, I broke ties with a close friend just before, and honestly, I was a right mess. The holidays were postponed until January and I was as grinchy as it gets. I’d been grinchier in the past (probably) but this was a different kind of inner green dude. I was sad and not just over death, I was sad about where my life was too. I’d been working hard on my health and being a better version of me but I’d learned a lot about what I wanted out of life and where I was at that moment didn’t match. As in traditional Miranda form, if unhappy address it head-on and make a change.
I read many self-help books in 2018 and 2019. Something I’d always scoffed at in the past. I just wanted to know where to give my fucks and how to be the best version of me. If I’m not sorting that on my own, then why not ask for some advice. I wanted to let go of constant fear and embrace truly being happy. Something I was just learning how to do. How to be vulnerable and trusting with those I love. Two somethings that don’t come easy for me.
This long and sometimes painful processes meant saying goodbye to unhealthy relationships. It meant embracing those who I do love and holding them dear. Being thankful for the people in my life who tell it to me straight. Who are honest because I am worthy of honesty and love and kindness. I learned how to put my needs first and to stop making excuses for those who couldn’t meet that base (and what I now consider a simple) expectation. I don’t think I ask for much out of life. I can admit, I might not be that good at asking though. So I set out to learn.
And learn I have.
In March for Birthday, I hosted the best-themed party to date: Harry Potter. We made an entire Honey Dukes corner, there was a Ministry of Magic, and everyone who came was housed properly. We had a house cup competition and as much as it pains me to say, Slytherin won. The Slytherin boys played some pranks on the food and somehow managed to get half the party to put on secret dark marks, which they revealed to me at the end of the day. I cried from being so happy and feeling so utterly loved. In the kitchen hung 100 unique shaped gold keys and kids played catch the golden snitch in the back yard. We even made something like 80 individual chocolate frogs and their boxes. There was an ongoing every flavor bean eating contest too. House points if you swallow all your jellybeans and don’t spit even the grossest ones out.
In April I took my only road trip of 2019 (shocking, I know). I went to California with one of my best friends. We drove down and spent the week at Universal Studios (before my year-long gold pass expired) and visited family. He had to fly home for work and my other best friend flew down for the drive home. I surprised him with a day at Universal Studios for his birthday. I have the best photos ever of him crying in front of the entrance to Hogsmeade. It was basically an epic trip with two of my favorite people. Lots of much-needed laughter and adventure.
The first half of the year was a lot of change. I said goodbye to a writer’s group in which I was one of the founding members. It struggled to maintain leadership and with most of our officers moving out of the area, myself included, it couldn’t progress further. We donated all of our money to the local high school library and helped fund their Battle of the Books program. I was told our donation would fund an entire year of books for this very large high school. If we couldn’t go on then at least we could leave, having made a positive impact.
I knew that living in Oak Harbor was never the long term plan. I moved there as a temporary place holder for what would come next. Only I stayed for family. I don’t regret these choices, but it was like one day I blinked and somehow six years passed. Six years of family, and laughter, and growth. But six years all the same. It was time for something different. In May I started to apply for new jobs in both California and Washington. Change was afoot. I didn’t know where I wanted to be exactly, but I figured that I had family in both Cali and Washington so if I was near family, I would be okay. I applied for all kinds of things and kept doing so until I accepted a job in August. But more on that in a moment.
In the first week of June, I met an amazing man. I’ve been hesitant to write about him on here, sometimes I think it’s out of some weird superstition. But if I’m being honest with myself, I’m happy. This blog is most often used to express my own inner concerns. To work out my mind battles on figurative paper. To connect with someone in the vast void that is the interwebs. It’s been an amazing outlet for these such moments. But the thing is, I don’t have that with him. I don’t worry about what he thinks or if I’m good enough. I know I am and I know he cares deeply for me. I don’t question my own feelings. I don’t worry that I said the wrong thing or that he’s bored with me. I’m more confident in my own skin around him then I have ever been with anyone in the past. He is the math that calms my inner storms.
I have loved in the past. I think most of us have. Loving another person is the most human thing we can do. I don’t think I would have been ready to meet my boyfriend a year ago, or ten, despite sometimes wishing I’d had him in my life longer. That we’d met years ago when we younger. He probably wasn’t ready for my specific brand of crazy either. But it’s okay. Because life has provided me with experiences to which led to this. I’m happy and head over heels for someone who has become one of my best friends. He’s the first person I want to talk to in the morning and the last person I want to talk to before I close my eyes. We’ve moved past that honeymoon stage and into something more real. I don’t know what the world has in store but I know I want to experience all of it with him by my side. Even if I have to drag or worse bribe him to take me to some holiday lights, I still have more fun with him than just about anyone else. Plus, he’s an awesome cook and has embraced cooking with all my crazy allergies like a champ. Basically, he’s had it in the bag since our third date when he cooked gluten-free chicken parmesan. I was like whhhhaaaa??? This man took the time to learn how to make yummy things with me in mind? *Swoon* (If you know me well enough, you know it’s one of those weird little hot buttons of mine. Food allergies suck and people say they care but it’s another to actually take the time. Sounds dumb but let me tell you, reader, a person who takes the time not to kill you on the daily, shouldn’t be impressive, but it is.)
I took a job in August teaching in Seattle. I uprooted my life for a new opportunity. I moved closer to a handful of friends and not too far away from family. Which at the time, felt like the right move. And for all intents and purposes, it was. Still is. Although, admittedly, it has not been what I expected. In fact, in many ways, it’s the very opposite of what I had in mind. I won’t hash the bits and pieces here today. Because I’m not bitching, I’m reflecting. Seattle has been an experience for sure. I’m directionally challenged so I’m getting my miles in on Waze. This aside, there is always something to do or see. It all feels so new. Even if it’s a bit overwhelming at times. I’m still a small-town girl in my heart. Seattle has grown smaller in my mind though. Warping from this huge unfathomable place to a location I now call home.
Home… it’s one of those words I have struggled with in the past. I think I was always looking for a place that felt like home, it hadn’t occurred to me that home is the people we have in our lives. I think that I missed PT for so many years because it was home. It was the place where I formed some of the best (and worst) relationships of my life. I had so many first experiences there that it’s a wonder nothing else quite matched up. But I feel that same sort of inner stirring here. I have always considered myself a small-town girl. But I’d be lying if I said I’d ever given the city a chance. And having now lived in one for a while, it’s grown on me. I don’t know if I’ll stick around forever, but for now, I’m enjoying it.
October I went to my first ever corn maze. The boyfriend took me and it was kind of amazing. For so many reasons. It was another bucket list checkpoint, to say the least. November and December have largely been about family and connecting with friends. At work, I spearheaded Winter Week, our own version of a holiday spirit week. It was exhausting and I don’t know that I’ll ever want to do it again, but I have a lot more appreciation for those who do. We baked something like 1200 cookies plus we sold candy grams and we ran a door decorating contest and a food drive. Never again. I’m actually chuckling as I write this because I feel like winter break was just so I could recover from the last few weeks at work. I’ve had hives on the back of my arm from stress. Which have nearly completely healed as of when I write this. But boy did I wonder for a hot minute there what the hell I was doing.
This year I’ve read 79 books and am actively attempting to finish one more before the night is up. If I do, I’ll hit 80 books for the year, I think that’s something like 25,000 pages read. So many good titles this year I wouldn’t know where to start. Maybe I save all of that for a different post. I’ll tell you about how once upon a time I met Brandon Sanderson and recommended his own books to him (true story) and how I’ve only just read his stuff for the first time this year. You can comment back and tell me what your favorite books are what I need to be reading in 2020.
2020…. A brand new decade is on the horizon. Same me, different year. I don’t know that I have any grand resolutions for the new year. I want to continue down the path to a more physically and mentally healthier Miranda. Maybe play the piano more. Continue taking photos and find the damn beach around here. I want to learn how to manipulate 3D images for printing. I want to create new art this way. I have some ideas, it’s just working out how to breathe life into them. I also… *deep breath* I also dream about opening my own business again. I want to work for myself. I don’t know what that means right now or if it’s even feasible. But I’m starting with saying it out loud. Putting it into the universe. Saying it out loud is the first step to making something a reality. And I want it to be a reality. We’ll see what 2020 brings my way. I am open to everything.
I’m going into this new year happy. Which, I don’t know if I’ve done that a single time this decade. I sure did lock it in this last year. In the final round. In whatever sports ball reference I’m trying to convey.