The last few months have been completely, and utterly insane. Throughout this period of time, I randomly had a few people message me saying something to the effect of, "girl, it looks like you're living the life!" They were going strictly off of my social media. I found myself wanting to tell each of them (and sometimes doing so) that yes, things are good, but there's plenty of stress and struggle behind that very same Instagram account. As a part of the rebrand of this blog that I did back in August, I mentally vowed to myself that I would be a little more transparent on my blog - even if it meant it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. So, here it goes...
From about the end of October to the new year, my life was a total SHIT SHOW. Below is a list of some of what was on my plate. I might not have the timeframe totally accurate, and some of these are out of order. It was such a blur. I was on survival mode. I have only (very recently) begun to catch my breath.
- At the end of September my mom had to cancel her trip to visit me here in Fort Lauderdale because her father, my Papa, had made an unexpected bad turn in his health. It was weeks before he actually passed. I took some very last minute trips up north to be near family, and then to attend his funeral (he passed away October 20th). The loss of my Papa was devastating for my whole family, but I do feel as though we (especially my cousins) have become closer. However, the post you saw on my Instagram was me apple picking.
- At my Papa's funeral, I learned that my Aunt/Godmother (dad's side) had been moved to hospice due to her lung cancer caused from years of smoking. Another last minute trip up north was made with the intention of "visiting" her... but unexpectedly, that very same visit turned into saying goodbye. It was agony, but I'm glad I got to see her one more time. It was also the first time in five years my immediate family was all together in the same room, which was special despite the circumstances.
- Around the timeframe my Aunt passed away (Dec 7), my Uncle -her husband- was diagnosed with lung cancer. But Uncle is tough as nails, has a ton of support, and is doing his part to beat this thing because he has motorcycle rides he wants to get to.
- Somewhere in the midst of this... my boyfriend, Brett, was talking about a possibility for a job that would require us both to move out of the country, and move quickly. Ultimately, he got the offer and accepted it. This was very exciting, and I was (and am) elated for this opportunity for him, but in came the stress of moving.
- I had to negotiate and fight the terms of my lease. Originally, I was told that I could not go month-to-month because that was against the terms of the lease. That would have meant I either would have had to move my stuff into a storage unit and find a place to live for a couple months (K, I'll forever owe you for even entertaining the idea of letting me crash on your couch), or I would have been asked to pay for an entire year's worth of rent for a unit that I wouldn't be living in for "breaking the terms." Thank God I read the fine print (pro tip, ya'll), and was confident enough to fight back. I was able to get my lease extended, short-term, and in a month-to-month format. I'm pretty sure there was a beach picture on Instagram.
- Knowing that this move was becoming a strong possibility, I knew it would be a lot cheaper/easier for me to sell my furniture and belongings instead of moving them. Cue the rodeo that is Facebook Marketplace. But thank the dear sweet Lord for aligning me with a few people, (one in particular - CS!) that became the new and rightful owners of the possessions that I was parting with. I feel like I could write a book titled "Sisterhood of the Traveling Couch." But using my ironing board, and long board as a dinner table has officially gotten old. lol.
- Let's add job searching/interviewing for a rewarding and remote marketing position I could do in another country while already being more than busy with the actual job I was currently employed at... that was probably a crab legs for dinner Instagram post.
- And then actually giving notice... that was more emotional than I was expecting. Thankfully it ended up working out just fine. I was asked to fly back to Fort Lauderdale after Xmas/New Years to work just one day, which I thought was odd... but it ended up saving me about $175 (despite cost of ticket I paid for) because I didn't have to pay out of pocket for insurance for January anymore, so I shrugged it off and didn't mind it, despite the added hassle. This corresponded with a bestie selfie on Instagram during the flight back to FLL.
- And just to make things a little more interesting, I was coordinating (and arguing with insurance), and then had that well-overdue surgery on my vocal chords on December 22nd, a $2000 procedure (after insurance). Christmas decorations post on Instagram for sure!
- In order to wrap up my work projects in a way that put my boss and coworkers in a good position, and to give me enough time to heal from vocal chord surgery, I had to negotiate my start date for my new job. It was a conversation that started with massive anxiety ("what if I lose this opportunity?!" "what if I can't get my voice fixed!?"), but ended in relief. My new boss could not have been any more understanding and willing to work with me. Brunch pic on Instagram.
Did I mention all this took place during the holidays? The most wonderful time of the year, eh? I had reached a point where I felt like my brain was going to split in half, was mentally and physically exhausted, and suddenly found myself quite empathetic towards Britney Spears' 2007 meltdown. I'm not one to wish time or days away, but by the end of December 2016, I was definitely looking forward to a fresh start with a new year.
Once I got to the first week of January, I felt like I had finally made it over the hump. Yes, my heart still aches intensely when I think about the losses my family has had, but it no longer feels as raw as it did. My Uncle is kicking ass, and putting cancer in its place. I have successfully sold all the big pieces in my apartment, and I'm donating what doesn't fit in my car when I move this weekend. My lease in Fort Lauderdale worked out, Brett found us a place to move into, and we successfully tag teamed to get his condo in Portsmouth rented out. Vocal chord surgery (and recovery) is already a thing of the past. I started my new job, and so far I'm really enjoying both the job and the team. I'm sleeping better (you can literally see the difference on my FitBit), I feel lighter (but am eating more), and no longer have any negative thoughts or stress lurking in the back of my mind. Life is good.
I really hope this post doesn't come across as "woe is me." I truly think my life is freaking AWESOME, and consider myself to be someone with a positive outlook. But when somebody younger than me had reached out to me and said my life seemed "perfect," it made me want to write this post to shed some more light into what was occurring in my life "behind the scenes." To compare your life to someone else's without knowing the whole story is a dangerous game, and I did not want to contribute to that.
Despite what social media profiles project - nobody's life is perfect, certainly not mine. Know there is almost always more to the story.