Year of the Aud-Rat

I was balancing my check book (lawl, what an old fashioned sentence – I did grow up balancing an actual check book. But now it means ‘checking my balance on the app’) when I saw that WordPress auto-charged me for my domain and plan renewal. My first thought (well, second, first was getting annoyed at an annual auto-payment that I always forget about and never set reminders for), was OH yeah, I have a blog. So today, I’m blowing off the dust and posting for the first time since November. In fact, when I pulled up my blog, the first thing I saw was a draft started in early December. Wheeee!

And now back to my regularly scheduled lost blog, which was started in December, before I forgot all about it – 

So why has audpodge fallen to the wayside? What the heck have I been up to? The answer is – a lot. But not all of it is exciting. Here’s a clip show summary of what happened this year:

2019 started off with me making a lot of personal goals and feeling really psyched about them. Things moved slowly, sorta de-railed, but eventually took a turn for the better/productive. It all started Feb/March, when the pieces finally came together in therapy and I had a break through. And then, possibly coincidentally, I broke my writer’s block. Both of these events brought about a surge of empowerment, and I felt different. I had a more positive outlook, and I just… kinda liked myself more. I had a few down periods, but I mostly felt like I was getting dangerously close to the realm of having my shit together. After nearly two months of back and forth, we finally figured out how we could afford to visit the States for my sister’s wedding in March, and my best friend Kristin bought tickets to come see me and the two of us were going to New Zealand in Nov/Dec. I was sticking closer to those goals I made in January than I had in years prior, and things were looking up.

On Thanksgiving (which was only 1 month ago but it may as well be 5 years ago), Kristin and I were in Auckland, NZ. We were eating a Thanks-Curry meal in our Air BnB and pledging to ourselves all the different ways we’d make 2020 the Year We Live Our Best Lives (or Reasonable Proxmity To Our Best Lives). Like, learning to live by a budget, making better health decisions, doing hard work to beat bad habits, etc. I got home a week later and decided, Fuck it, Why wait til 2020? I’m going to live my best life starting now.

You know how it’s always easy to imagine living your best life all the time when you’re on vacation and you’re in that golden limbo of being truly decompressed and distracted and free of 9-5 responsibilities? It’s such a good time to be alive.

I definitely spent the rest of December in a sweat pants wearing, Christmas prepping, re-runs watching black hole. But I used the Christmas break from work as a chance to regroup and really make a plan to get my shit together. Then I learned that 2020 is the Year of the Rat in the Chinese Zodiac, and it was the final sign I needed: I had already made a pledge with Kristin, I decided with every atom of my being that I wanted to make a change, and it was literally my year. I had to get my shit together.

So it was slow going, but by the end of the year, I had thinned out my closet to (mostly) the bare essentials, we had scraped together the most savings we’ve ever had, I had 90 pages written in my book, I had taken a trip with one of my best friends doing things I never thought I’d do, and I could look back and say to myself I did put myself out there more. I wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot. But I closed 2019 feeling really fucking good about myself, and that hasn’t happened in a long time.

And so, January rolled around, and the Year of Aud-Rat was primed and ready to commence. First, I saw my GP and got a referral to the exercise physiologist/physical trainer who works in my clinic. Second, I shared my plan with my therapist so she could hold me accountable. Third, I made plans to get a desk so I could have a dedicated writing space. Fourth, I narrowed my goals down to one primary goal each (personal, financial, health, writing).

flash forward to current day: March 9.

It’s been 10 weeks so far, I’ve been kicking a lot of Rat ass. I’ve been working out at least twice a week (one week I made it to 4 times – I was basically Jane Fonda); I’ve been writing almost every day (having the desk has been a major help); I’ve so far only had one shopping binge (half of it was returned); I’m more encouraging with myself and being more honest; I’ve been eating slightly less like a garbage can*, and I’ve been getting out of the house and doing something social at least once a week.

So (if you’re still with me after all this ego-inflation), this is where I’ve been: trying very hard to get my shit together.

We’re going to the States next week for my sister’s wedding, which means sweater weather, trash foods, mom’s cooking, hugs from friends, and a few days in a cabin in the woods for a mini-holiday within holiday. So provided we don’t get shot or infected with Corona virus**, we should return fat, sassy, and tired. I can’t wait.

 

*One of the smallest changes I’ve made that’s had the biggest impact is instituting a new morning routine. Over the Christmas break, I woke up one morning around 4AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. I decided to sit in the lounge and do some writing. I didn’t want to have coffee without Joel, so I just drank a bottle of cold water instead. Then I ate breakfast. Later when Joel woke up, we had coffee. The next morning, I did the same thing. I noticed when I started the day with cold water, I had a lot more energy throughout the day, my stomach didn’t react violently to coffee, and it made me want to drink more water throughout the day. It became a habit. Now, on most days I wake up early, I drink cold water, eat breakfast, and wait til I get to work to have my first cup of coffee. My stomach is definitely better, I don’t inhale my lunch in 5 seconds, my skin is better, and I don’t feel like a used sponge between 3:30-5:30PM.

So that’s my thing now: drinking water in the morning and eating breakfast. Whoda thunk it. It’s like all those doctors and the surgeon general were right.

**Our grocery store next door has been out of toilet paper, water, eggs, cooking oil, rice, flour, hand sanitizer, and pasta for the past week. Over the weekend someone got a knife pulled on them in the TP aisle over the last package. Seems like an excessive amount of panicking for a country with relatively few confirmed cases and thus far 0 deaths. /shakes head

Learning to Unlearn

“Imagine if you had to re-learn how to sit in a chair every time you walked into a room. Or re-learn how to open a door every time you approached a door handle. You’d go mad.”

I nodded. Continue reading “Learning to Unlearn”

This is Not a Resolutions Post

Naaaaah – as I’ve said before, making a list of resolutions – even if they’re disguised as “goals” “intentions” “declarations” “wishes” “list of things that PLEASE GOD AUDREY JUST DON’T DO THIS ANYMORE” —  is just simply the easiest way for me to make a list of Things I’ll Just Keep Happily Doing In Spite of Literally Everything In My Soul Begging Me to Not Do. Continue reading “This is Not a Resolutions Post”

Catchup.com – uh, November?

Helloooo, blog land! And by that I mean, helloooo Mom (thanks for reading!). I had planned to do Blog-Tober, where I post every day. Then I was all “well, I’ll do Blog-Vember, since I missed Blog-Tober.” And then, I did nothing. Continue reading “Catchup.com – uh, November?”

Catchup.com – September

Sooooo – how about September, huh? It’s like the whole month happened, and I slept through most of it. Today is the end of the month, and since it’s been a bit quiet around this corner of the internet, I thought I’d write a little catch up post. Mostly so I can figure out where the hell the time went. Continue reading “Catchup.com – September”

Don’t be dick to yourself – and other New Year resolutions

On New Year’s Eve, our group started talking about resolutions. My friend Michael asked me about mine. I proudly said, “I resolve not to have any resolutions.” to which he said, “but that is a resolution.” and I was all “Well, shit.”

As I’ve said before, me making a list of resolutions is like me making a list of things I’ll only get worse at/not do. But this doesn’t stop me from thinking about them. And they’re always the same goals/desires:

  • spend more time pursuing dreams, less time worrying about day job
  • eat better so my arteries won’t crap out by the time I’m 50
  • move more so I don’t go into cardiac arrest when I’m climbing stairs; also so pants will stop not fitting
  • take better care of my skin so I won’t look like I’m still in puberty
  • read more so I don’t rot my brain
  • do more so I don’t one day die with regrets (spoiler alert: likely to happen no matter what I do)
  • make a billion dollars so I can stay home and not have to worry about putting on real pants

2016 was, for the most part, an extremely hard year. Going into January, I was super confident. I thought, “this is going to be a good year. I have my new, awesome job where I get to contribute creatively and work with great people, my hair is growing out (this is important), my office is organised, I have a writing plan, and everything will be gravy. I’m happy, I’m content, and I feel like I’m on the right track.”

And then, it hit me. I woke up on the last day of my Christmas holiday with an unshakable sense of impending doom. And on January 4 I woke up in an anxiety attack that didn’t dissolve for almost a week. So I went back to the doctor for a benzo script, after close to two years of not needing xanax. And that sucked.

I thought I was just anxious because we had a big month at work coming up – there was a lot at stake, so I was nervous/excited to be a part of it. But January blurred into February and February blurred into March. March blurred into April. April into May. It never got easier. I wasn’t sleeping without having nightmares. I dreaded every single day. And at some point I came to and realised that all my savings had been burned through, the apartment was constantly a mess, our bills were late, and I found myself paralysed without my phone, jumping at every notification as if someone’s life depended on it. It was easier to count the days that didn’t end in some form of panic. Every weekend included some sort of sobbing breakdown, either to Joel or to my Mom or in text messages to my friends. I just couldn’t control myself.

It was hard to admit to myself that I was back in a shit place. I spent so much of 2015 in denial that I was so homesick it spun me into depression, and there I was, robbed of 6 months because I refused to admit defeat. I mean, I knew I was good at standing in my own way, but it turns out I’m really good at putting myself in harm’s way to prove a point to no one.

After I quit my job and took some time off, I realised my two rough patches were the result of me pushing myself for a career that I knew I wasn’t suited for, but that I felt I needed to be suited for, and thusly wouldn’t let myself quit.  I realised I have to listen to my own red flags – it doesn’t matter how cool your job is, how awesome the people you work with are, if the stress makes you go back on medication and back into therapy, it’s not a good fit.

So this year, I would like to focus on one things only:

do not be a passive aggressive asshole to self

And really, that’s it. I don’t think of this as a resolution, because it’s not like losing 20lbs or drinking less alcohol. It’s the “be kind to yourself” bullshit that’s not actually bullshit but a really important life skill.

Naturally, I want to develop better habits and achieve things, too. But I’m not going to make a giant posted list, because I’ll feel like I have to achieve them all RIGHT NOW or I’ll be a failure. So I’m going to take it one step at a time and you know – not be an asshole to myself about it. I need to get myself to a place of stability and consistency before I can stack myself full of expectations and plans.

I’m taking this year one month at a time. For January, my goal was to find a more interactive writer’s group and a class of some sort. I got the Master Class for Christmas and I’ve already started it, so now all I need to do is find an additional group to join. I don’t know what my goal is for February, because I haven’t gotten there yet. That’s February’s problem.

See? I’m already applying my resolution. (ha)

ALL THAT BEING SAID – here are things that Joel and I plan to make happen and that I’m REALLY EXCITED ABOUT for 2017:

  • ADOPTING A DOG
  • Taking driver’s safety course and getting more experience on the road so that we can
  • Go on non-staycation holiday! (although Joel and I had 4 uninterrupted days together for the first time in 2 years and it was fabulous. I’d rather have the time in the Blue Mountains or on a beach somewhere tho)
  • ADOPTING A DOG
  • Upgrading to a queen size bed
  • ADOPTING A DOG
  • Becoming an Australian resident and finally putting all the visa jibba jabba behind us (fingers crossed this happens around July)
  • ADOPTING A DOG
  • Investing more time in myself
  • ADOPTING A DOG (my biological clock is barking)
  • make a billion dollars so I can stay home and not have to worry about putting on real pants

I mean, not having to put real pants on every day is the dream.

Set the bar high, folks. And be nice to yourself.

Happy 2017!