Here we are at the end of another year which seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye. I usually don't read my previous posts because I dash them off and feel they are not well written - but I just went back and read my last one and I was surprised at how good it seemed! I know I have at least one reader who reads this blog to see how I'm doing in my life and I am here to report that things are going really really well! I am euphorically happy once it gets cold out and it has been nice and chilly here lately. I have a really fun job working with elections where I'm really busy and getting lots of socializing in with lots of young people as we drive around in vans all day visiting polling sites and troubleshooting issues they may have. It has been truly rewarding and I have been shown that it is possible to have a rewarding job outside of the Ice. The bottom picture is of me and some girlfriends at a Thanksgiving feast that I've been going to off and on for over 25 years here in Austin. It was a joyous day with hanging out with old friends and feasting on massive amounts of foods. Then I went to my old friend Ellen's sister's house and had fellowship with her family and in the evening went over to my high school friend's house and had a nice meal with him and his husband, followed by riding around on those little crazy scooters. The top photo is one I took of downtown Austin. Our downtown is now a glittering metropolis of high rises, and with 200 people a day still moving here the non-stop high rise and luxury apt building continues at a furied pace.
I spent about a week fretting about whether to renew my apt lease for another year or not. In the end I decided to do it as it felt like the most comfortable option. I still haven't sold my cabin in Oregon so that weighs heavily on me as it's costing me $600/month to sit empty. It will sell eventually, but probably not until springtime as the winter is a slow time on Mt. Hood. I do miss it sometimes, but I have so much more of a life here and unlimited activities per day of fun and enriching stuff to do. I knit and watch movies a lot while not at work, and go out to eat with friends a lot. I have a short trip planned to NYC in January so am thrilled about that. No big trips planned for next year, but I'm sure some stuff will come up as I will need to escape the heat of summer.
Probably the most exciting news is non-news and probably not too interesting to anyone but me, but it is around a topic that has the power to affect my whole psychological being; a subject that inspired the creation of this blog, and the thing, the place, the continent that is the love of my life. I seemed to have gotten to a place where I have accepted that I may or may not go back to the Ice and I am okay with for now not being there. This is huge, because I have been upset about it pretty much every season that I haven't deployed and I want to be bigger than that. I made a decision that I am not going to focus on where I am not but to really mine this place where I am for all of it's goodies. I have two amazing therapists/bodyworkers who I see who work mainly on the central nervous system and trauma, and the work I have done with them has made me so comfortable in my body and my skin, and happier with my life as it is unfolding day to day. For the first time in eights years (since I stopped going to the Ice for Fergus) I seemed to have let go of this big story I created that I cannot be happy if I am not on the Ice. Now for a while that was true. And I continued to go as long as I could until I made the choice of dog over Ice. And for four years I cried every fall (most of the rest of the year as well) that I didn't go and then I went in the fifth year and now I have missed three more deployments but have matured my relationship with myself enough that I don't let myself go down the rathole of pining and FOMO and that my joy is down there and I have to suffer here. I changed the story, and my nervous system went online with the new story - and the new story is I love and miss the Ice with all my heart and soul. I diligently apply for jobs every year and if I don't get a job I allow myself to feel the disappointment and then I immediately turn my thoughts to the life I am currently living and dive into all the good stuff about that. I have to mentally do gratitude lists and I write about all the good things in my paper diary (even though I rarely post here I do write for an hour or two almost every day in an old school diary). The whole process was sort of like a psychological and spiritual exercise on acceptance and letting go - two things which are not easy for me at all, as I feel that everything I've gotten in my life is through dogged determination and a rabid single-minded focus on the goal. I am glad that I have this part of my personality but around the Ice I've had to let it go and I may use it to pursue other goals. The two years I have spent in Austin have helped me fine tune and mature some aspects of my personality...it's happened through a lot of hard work on my part.
Thankfully, I love hard work.
I thought "dog over ice" sounded cool as I saw I had written it above so went ahead and stuck in into the title. I have been thinking about getting another dog lately. I spend a lot of time alone and don't date and don't get any physical touch in my life. A dog supplies a lot of love and oxytocin. But when I think back ( and read back) and how terribly upset I was during the four years I chose to stay with Fergus and not deploy, I'm still not sure it was the right choice. Sure I loved that little guy to death and was very happy to be there with him when his little heart stopped beating, but the tradeoff seemed too high at times (this sounds like literally word for world something I have written here before). Yes I could have given him to a any of the several people who offered to care for him during that period, but I felt committed to sticking it out with him. I never want to be in that position again, so I will wait until I am sure the Ice is a part of my past...but if there is any possibility that I could go back, I would drop everything today and go. I would drop everything and go.
So excited to go out and spend all day running around Austin on this 45F degree day to do fun things!