2018

2018……

It’s a new year…

Everyone’s making new year’s resolutions, or I guess have by now. Everyone’s positive that the year 2018 will bring them happiness, prosperity or the simple fact that it’ll be better than the last year. I was wishing the same in December. I had big goals, dreams, hopes, desires….yet, 6 days in and they’ve all but one fallen by the wayside.

I’ve yet to jump on Angus, ride my trainer while the below zero temps chill the air outside.

I’ve yet to kick one bad habit completely.

I’ve yet to get back to eating regularly, healthily, and naturally. Thankfully still 100% vegan though.

I’ve yet to get a grip on my financial issues.

I’ve yet to feel positive and super pumped that 2018 is the year, MY YEAR!

What the hell is wrong with me?

Last year my fitness and cycling went way down. Lack of time, money, sleep, and effort with a massive increase in stress and demands took it’s toll. Left me feeling…not myself. Left me hoping that 2017 would be my crap year and 2018 would be my good year. It has to be right? I mean how much crap does one have to endure in one year or in a matter of months until they catch a break. Heck I don’t even want a break I want a little motivation, positivity, good luck, whatever you call it, I need it.

My back started acting up again late summer. I pushed it to the side because I already have enough medial bills to make life difficult enough as it is. It got better, then got worse. Finally bit the bullet, went to the orthopedic doctor and got an MRI showing there’s a small bulge at my fusion. (Note: How is this even possible when there’s not a disk there anymore. It’s fused. Bone on bone). Doctors say its inoperable and they’ve prescribed anti-inflammatory meds and nerve meds. Nerve meds make me drowsy and anti-inflammatory pills don’t work. 50% of the time it may not even bother me. I can go a whole day before it starts acting up. Then the other 50% of the time it’s there constantly. Pain in my low back, radiating to my knees, right side then left side, then hips then ankles….but nothing can be done. As much as I’ve dealt with back pain I should be used to it by now right? HAH! It’s left me more nervous than ever to run or bike. If it gets worse after doing so will that just be another kick to the stomach or will I finally be able to get something done about it?

Then there’s been the sleep issues. For the past year I’ve struggled getting enough sleep. Working 3rd shift, then going to my day job, taking a 3 hour nap and back to work at 10pm, really kicked my ass. But I got over it, quit the 3rd shift job and went full time at Goodwill. (Note: Goodwill has been an amazing opportunity and I love my job). Then came the excessive sleepiness, particularly and inconveniently while driving. While living in Williamsburg I’d find it took all my being to stay awake driving to work. Even then I’d slowly close my eyes, fully aware they were closing and unable to open them, all while driving. Once I moved back to Iowa City (Note: I absolutely love where I live now, couldn’t be happier, well I could if the barn in my back yard was a barn full of rescue animals, but that’s for another day) the sleepy driving continued. Again I bit the bullet and went to the doctor who sent me to a pulmonary/sleep specialist. Doctor chalked it up to pain disturbing my sleep and restless legs. Set me up for a sleep study which should have taken place last week but again, too many medical bills and too scared of having more debt that I can’t pay. Luckily the narcoleptic episodes have subsided, for now.

So medical issues aside, there’s the money issues. How the hell do you all do it? How do you live within your means and still have something left over at the end of the day for cushion? I earn to much to get any government aide which in all honesty is okay by me because there’s people out there that need it more than I do. However, I can’t buy groceries because the food I eat is too expensive (vegan remember). Veggies cost more than canned, boxed, overly processed crap and I refuse to eat that. It’s 2018 after all folks. I have the lowest cost bills I can have, no cable, $9.99/month Netflix’s because I should be able to afford at least something for the tv when Erica’s here, plus I just got caught up on Grey’s Anatomy and can now watch the new Peaky Blinders (simple pleasures are allowed for $10/month right?) I have internet, super cheap. My rent’s twice what I paid in Williamsburg but should balance with less gas. I keep the house cold, 64 degrees in an old farm house with bedrooms upstairs means lots and lots of blankets at night. This is okay, I can deal with this. I don’t spend money on anything, no junk or extras, few or no meals out (every once in awhile I’m a lazy parent and get food out when I have Erica). But still, I struggle to make ends meet. I’m back to donating plasma which is $70 in my pocket every week IF I can successfully donate twice per week. My clothes are rubbish I can’t afford new. My car is way over it’s oil change due date and I can’t afford the payments. I really am at a loss for what to do.

I have nothing to sell or what I do have isn’t worth much if anything.

By now you are surely sick of my whining. For certain it’s brought you down as well or changed your opinion of me. Probably thinking to yourself, “damn Jamie, get a grip, quit whining, you have a job, roof over your head, food in your cupboards, so what if it’s not vegan, so what if it’s processed…”! I know. I really do know! Part of me says the same thing. But the other part of me says, I work my ass off and yet here I am just spinning tires. Going no where fast. What’s to show for my hard work? Perseverance? Dreams and goals?

Relationships….oh gawd don’t get me started on relationships. Not only am I useless at them, friends, romantic, or otherwise, I’m awkward as F*** and seem more content being an introvert, wallowing in my day-to-day life and sometimes self pity than putting forth effort towards any sort of relationship. I’m still scarred by a failed marriage that I regret daily. I’m haunted by it when I sleep, when I see pictures, have memories, or just think. The thinking never stops! How can one terrible event of my life weigh so greatly on me nearly 5 years later? And then I wonder, will it always be this way? Will I always have regret and shame? Will I always be awkward and introverted? How do you get past that?

The scars that I carry, the battles that I fight daily never seem to go away. I’m not sure I want them to go away completely but like I said earlier, I just want a break from the intensity of it all.

The things I do have in 2018 are few but so incredibly amazing. I do cling to them to get me through the day, yet sometimes I need more. I think it’s safe to say we all do at times. My daughter is the most amazing little girl a mom could ask for. She’s funny and smart, beautiful and talented, good hearted, and the absolute one thing that brings joy and love to my life every day. Even when she’s not with me I know there’s one person out there that I mean something to and who means beyond this world to me. My critters….I love my silly, hairy, eats and shits a lot critters. I can have the worst day and they are here when I get home to greet me, cuddle with me, warm my heart with their purring and real love and appreciation. Critters do that. Cats can be some pretty selfish creatures but they love endlessly and that is something I adore. I have a very caring landlady who has given me this wonderful opportunity to live in a home, a house that Erica, kitties and I have made into a beautiful home. She’s known me since I was little and actually cares about me as more than a tenant or a rent check. I consider myself very lucky to have reconnected with her after all these years. I have a job that pays well and is meaningful. The lives I get to touch and the difference I get to make daily is beyond rewarding. I’ve made some great friends and connections with some amazing people that I’d never even met had it not been for this job.

But is it enough? Is it enough to be just getting by and not being fully happy? Plugging through live alone, but yet not alone? Am I setting the bar heigh enough or too high? Am I doing enough, too much, or slacking off? These are things I think about daily. My mind is never at rest.

So the purpose of this post, this rant…well I’m not exactly sure. I don’t want pity or anyone to feel badly for me. Nor do I want people to turn their noses up and say, “too bad, your bed, you sleep in it now”. I guess it’s best to get this out in the open, let others ponder it awhile, maybe offer some advice or support emotionally. Or maybe it helps someone else today. Someone, maybe you, read this and see that it’s not always skipping through the daisies for others like it may seem. Everyone is struggling with something whether it be finances, health, motivation, weight, depression, or any of the bazillion other setbacks in life one can encounter. Maybe this post gives you a pebble of hope that you are a fighter and you can get by even if it’s barely getting by. This too is something I remind myself.

I have a tiger tattoo on my rib cage. It was my second tattoo I believe back when I was maybe 18 or 19. I got it because it stood for strength. Those of you who know a little about my childhood know that it wasn’t the greatest at times. But man was I fighter back then. I was determined and I succeeded. The tattoo was a reminder that I wanted to have with me daily that I am strong enough, I am a fighter. Some days I can’t even see the Tigre on my rib cage. Some days it’s not even there. Those are the days I need a friend.

Be someone’s friend. Be someone’s motivation. Be someone’s inspiration. Even if it’s a little gesture…it may mean the world to someone else.

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