On the flip side, year 36 was a year of getting myself (a little more) settled. After the passing of my beloved Cinn a year ago, and a couple of months of mourning, I realized being dog-less simply wasn't for me, and I adopted Gracie. She's my wacky, funny, cuddly, overly enthusiastic three-year old pup that, despite not even having for a year, I can't imagine not living with. Our relationship is very different than mine and Cinn, but that's to be expected - if it were the same, she'd always be living in Cinn's shadow. But she's so different, so unique - hairy elbows and all - that I can't even possibly compare them. And she's full of youth and excitement that keeps me on my toes and challenges me, which can be difficult, but also helps me from ever becoming complacent.
Last December, I went on a first date with a man that I had known a little, but not super well, in high school. We'd not kept in touch, but reconnected via a mutual friend on Facebook, and it has changed my life. In him, I have found the most understanding, loving, patient partner and best friend. Life with a mental health condition is not easy, and yet he knew all about it going in. He'd read much of my blog before he'd even asked me on date. The fact that he has not run away screaming, that we are actually planning a future together, to me is not much short of a miracle.
Shortly before Christmas last year, I bought a condo in Philly and I moved in at the beginning of April. After almost 10 years of renting, being a home owner again is a big change. My walled thinks so too. But in all seriousness, it's nice to feel that it's mine. It feels settled, and when you have a brain that is decidedly not, having grounding, settled pieces in your life is a huge help.
So I approach this birthday with a mix of emotions. Mostly though, I feel lucky. I battle a good amount of crap with my brain, but I also have watched friends and loved ones battle much more. I have a loving family, partner, dog. I have a home, and a job (two, actually). And while I'm not one of those people tout positive thoughts and gratefulness as the cure-all, because they often aren't particularly possible when depression and anxiety rear their ugly heads, I am feeling thankful as I write this. I hope that in year 37, I can take this feeling of settling down (not settling, there's a big difference), stabilizing my life as much as I can, and continue to move forward with it. To all who have been with me through this incredibly topsy turvey ride of a year, thank you. I don't think I would have made it without you.
|The only "family photo" we have to date.|