Three Things I Did This Year That Changed My Life…and One Thing I Want to Do Next Year

This isn’t the same as my 2015 financial goals post, which is coming soon — I’ve been hammering those out and I think I’m close to being happy with them, so I’ll probably post them in the next couple of weeks.

But Michelle at the Shop My Closet Project had a great post talking about the three things she did that enabled her to “find Michelle again” in 2014. She wrote:

“I realized that I had lost myself in the crap that I was (and wasn’t) dealing with. It was hardly surprising that I wasn’t moving forward and was stuck. I am so glad that I recognized that I needed to clear the space in my life to focus on what was important to me.”

I’m not quite sure I’m there yet, but I feel like I might be on the way. Here are the three (non-financial) things I did myself in 2014 that might be helping me clear the path towards a future I want to live in:

1) I had a huge emotional crisis. This may seem counter-intuitive, and frankly, it sucked, not just during the week that was really acute but for months afterwards. But it was so bad that it forced me to actually do something, or rather several things, instead of getting along day to day as I’d been doing for quite a while. It forced me to sort out some priorities; since everything is not (yet, anyway) magically aligning in such a way that I can both live in a place I want to be in and have exactly the career I’d wanted to have, I had to make some kind of priority list. And I did.

2) I saw a therapist for about two months (direct result of the huge crisis!) As part of this process, I admitted to myself that while it is not as severe as some people’s, I really do have some kind of anxiety disorder and probably dysthemia (a steady low-grade depression) as well. Admitting that this was me, my brain chemistry, and not just “situational,” was, I hope, a big step towards being happier in the future. I am currently taking a low, steady dose of an anti-anxiety medication and I think it’s helping; so are some of the conversations I had with that therapist and with various friends this spring, about techniques to manage anxiety when it does hit.

3) I became a little bit less of a hermit. I went on two dates — one of them, I didn’t like the guy, and the other, the guy didn’t like me enough to follow up — but hey, at least I went on them. I re-committed to keeping in good touch with friends, both online and off, and I don’t just mean calling them every six months — I’ve been having good long talks on a fairly regular basis with a variety of people. I also found two religious communities in my new city, one church that I like and one more volunteer-ish group, that I really vibe with, which means twice a week at a minimum I do something that is not work or hanging out by myself at home. This may not sound like much, but I’ve been a total stick in the mud for years, which is probably on the “top 10 reasons why I’m not married” list, and making the effort to connect with real human beings who care about the things I care about, at least twice a week, has been helping me to heal some spots in my soul that have been pretty dry for a pretty long time.

And here is one thing I want to do next year: take an “energy inventory,” like Michelle suggested. What is causing me to regularly lose energy in my life? How can I address these things? I may put some thought into that over the Christmas break and have a post about it around New Year’s. It seems like a really good idea.

4 thoughts on “Three Things I Did This Year That Changed My Life…and One Thing I Want to Do Next Year

  1. CheapMom says:

    I’m sorry that you had to go through all this this year, but I’m glad that you’ve got help and are working to making your life better. Twice a week out with people actually sounds like a big commitment and a lot of interaction to me and I think you’re doing a great job of getting yourself out there.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thanks! I’m working pretty hard at the mental health stuff, which I ignored for a long time until it blew up in my face (naturally.) I’m doing a lot better than I was in the spring, for sure.

  2. That’s a jam-packed year of emotional stuff. It sounds like I am very similar to you, and while I didn’t have the huge emotional crisis, I am a home body who has some brain chemistry issues myself (who is engaged to someone with a few himself). It hurts to go through, but it’s astounding how those events can change your life.

    As for Michelle’s suggestion regarding the energy inventory – I love that idea. I’m totally into it, and will likely write a post about it at some point because I think it’s a brilliant self-reflection.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Isn’t it a cool idea? I jumped the gun by identifying one thing — I had too many things in my closet that didn’t fit properly, and it was driving me crazy to see them every day, so I weeded this weekend. Just a stack of 15 or so items for Goodwill, but it’s already making a difference.

      Brain chemistry is so difficult! I grew up knowing a lot of people who had serious problems and I always dismissed my own because of that; they’re so comparatively mild, and I’ve always managed the basics of my life. But it was definitely time to get help, because I wasn’t living an emotionally healthy life in many ways, even as I continued to “manage.”

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