Monday, December 29, 2014

{2014} A Year In Review

To say that 2014 was a year of learning would be a gross understatement.

I can think of one prominent word that defines the entire year, and that would be CHANGE. My life changed course, in a major way, three times this year. I will dive into those three changes, respectively, as they occur in my chronological recap of the year.

February was really a difficult month. Eric moved out and that was quite the transition for all of us. I had to put Kya down and that was incredibly heartbreaking. I still cringe when the kids ask for a new dog. Maybe 2015 is the year for that, when we finally buy a house. We also filed the divorce paperwork and got that process moving.

March was really centered around two areas of my life - continuing the divorce process and planning for the future, with the former being stressful and the latter being refreshing and exciting.

(NOTE:  I am deciding here and now that I'm done censoring this blog, so I'm going to speak freely, because that's my right and this is my blog.)

With April came the finalization of my divorce and the first real change in direction in my life. My perception of a "family" life for my kids changed. I knew that I would be fine. I'm never worried about ME. But, I wanted to make sure my kids were adjusting well and still having some sense of normalcy in their lives. This also continued many discussions Ryan and I had about our future. For some time, the "plan" had always been to both go through with a divorce (not necessarily at the same time) so that we could finally plan and have this life that we had talked about for so long. There were brainstorming sessions on timelines, where we would live, how we would possibly manage four kids between us, dealing with our exes, assurances that we could make it happen if we just had patience, etc. With that, Ryan and I had a wonderful opportunity to vacation in Roatan, Honduras. It was a trip that I had begun planning the year before, and really started heavily planning right at the beginning of the year. I knew I was going to take the trip regardless of the divorce, and regardless of a travel companion. I didn't beg anyone to go with me. I'm an independent person, everyone knows I was more than willing to travel alone and do some soul searching. At the beginning of January, I asked Ryan if he was interested in a tropical paradise vacation. I knew my divorce would be finalized by that point, so I knew there wouldn't be any issues on my end. We had to be careful due to Ryan's family situation, so many precautions were taken and we successfully planned and enjoyed the trip. I definitely plan to go back and explore more of the island.
May brought another change that I never saw coming. When we were in Roatan, Ryan's wife took it upon herself to gain my flight information (violation of federal law, by the way, according to the Idaho Attorney General to whom I spoke) to confirm that Ryan and I were there together. Shit pretty much hit the fan at that point and Ryan agreed to make a final decision on the status of us. The sneaking around just wasn't cutting it anymore and we needed to make a commitment one way or the other as to the future. I sent Ryan a quote one day, and the quote has really resonated with me:

"Everything you've ever wanted is one step outside your comfort zone."

Ultimately, he fed his wife a shit ton of lies about our relationship (to save his own sorry ass, I'm sure.....problem is, there's the other party who knows the truth) and decided to stay with his family. The second change in course in my life occurred right then because I had spent that last........way too long........listening to promises of the future, assurances that we would finally have our happily ever after, professions of love, trust, and commitment, planning, etc. And then it was gone. One day, he was in my life for what I thought would be forever, and the next, he was gone and the door was shut. Seven plus years, gone.
Just like everything in life, there is a lesson to be learned:
So, Ryan, I bid you goodbye. You are now just a name on a list of other pieces of shit you once told me didn't deserve me. And now, neither do you. I may have lost someone I once considered important, but I gained (back) something beyond measure.
Carter successfully completed kindergarten and his graduation was pretty much the cutest thing I had ever seen.

June brought an opportunity I never saw coming - a new job. I have to say, I found everything I have ever wanted in this firm. I am surrounded by incredible people, and my litigation team is amazing. I am excited every single day to come to work and to be back in a busy trial practice. I live for trial....which is a good thing, considering we have a trial starting in less than a week.

The kids and I spent quite a bit of time out in the open air this summer - at the river, in the mountains, etc. I was fortunate to travel a lot this year - in Idaho (Coeur d'Alene a few times; various mountain trips, fishing trips. In the U.S. (road trip to the Redwoods).  To completely different continents (Roatan, Honduras). Traveling the world, near and far, is extremely high on my life priority list. I climbed mountains and also sat at sea level this year. I plan to continue my exploration and pace of travel in 2015.  
Here are some of my favorite pictures, in no particular order, of our year:
July brought more travel and more importantly, Carter's first Hawk's game! It was such a highlight to sit there with him, chowing down on baseball food, answering his many questions, and rooting for the Hawks. It was a night I will never forget and I hope it was just a memorable for him!
September brought more travel, again. This time, Eric and I headed off on a road trip to the Redwoods. I remember seeing the area as a kid, but haven't been back since. Eric has never been, so I wanted to introduce him to this place and experience it together. The trip really helped us reconnect. I know a ton of people have said this to me throughout the year......we fell in love many years ago for a reason. And it's crazy when you remove a pivotal piece of negative influence from your life, how quickly the simple things fall back into place.
My photography business was incredibly successful again this year. I provided a few pro bono shoots, which I always strive to do every year. My profits exceeded those from last year, which has been a running tradition since I ventured out. I made some massive changes this fall and will start to reap the benefits in 2015.
My braces adventure continued in full swing for 2014. There were lots of changes, and still plenty to come. I have a few months left before they come off, and to say I'm slightly excited would be yet another gross understatement. I can't wait to see the finished product - this has been a long, painful (you have no idea) process.
So, here's goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015! Some goals to keep in mind: