My alarm started to ring at 4:45am this morning, just like every morning. But unlike every other morning, I felt weighted down as I tried to wake up. Exhausted and wanting to go back to sleep with all the dogs, I pressed the snooze button for the first time in weeks.
The physical weariness I felt, am still feeling right now, is a pertinent comparison to the mental and emotional weariness this year has put me through. I think a lot of people feel the same: that this year drug out the worst in them, or the worst in the situations around them. More so than not, my friends and family seem to be wishing this year a not so fond farewell.
The New Year going in to 2016 started off on the wrong foot, right away. I remember sitting in a church parking lot in Atascadero, crying, upset with a situation I didn’t create but got pulled into the middle of. Things with my best friend were on shaky ground. I was loosing faith in my family. Everything seemed out of control at that moment.
And yet, that was just the beginning. Life continued on and more things began to change.
February 26th, we lost a great friend within our community, Shaina. While her and I did not get the opportunity to connect frequently, I was glad to know her. She was a valued person to the people around her. Her choice to leave us left a hole in a lot of people.
Exactly a week later, March 4th, my bestfriend Josh followed. He mistakenly, unintentionally, took the same path. He was in town for Shaina’s funeral, and I was unbelievably lucky to see him on the 2nd. Begrudgingly, Kelsey and I went to a show in San Luis Obispo, and through the crowd of people, I could see that special, bouncy walk of Josh. He was healthy and full: full of life and gratefulness and friendship and sadness. He missed Shaina. And come Friday morning, we missed him.
Josh L. Reynolds
The weeks to come after those losses were incredibly scary. I can’t put it into proper words. The fear I felt for my friend’s safety and state of mind was almost unbearable. The thought of losing someone else drove me crazy during that time. I just wanted everyone to be all right. There was no telling what was going to happen to our friend group again. It was hard to tell if people were going to be okay ever again after the shock.
But things did start to get better, slowly. People came together for support. People started to get clean. When the tears stopped falling, our eyes cleared in a new way that a lot of us had never experienced.
I felt changed afterwards, internally. This feeling has stayed with me and will forever. I am not the same person that I was when my friends were alive. Their loss effected me on a deeper level than I can communicate.
The places around me stayed the same, but my perspective of them started to shift. The following weeks showed us a lot about the people around us. There was cruelty from some… But there was compassion from many more. New friendships formed, old friendships rekindled and current friendships became stronger.
Josh & Cookie at Meade Canine Rescue
Then, without warning, the unsolicited transformations for me continued.
Mom had moved out and into her own place in April. Shortly afterward, Gooby moved in as our roommate. Things were different but becoming established anew. And then we got the letter to move. Not an eviction letter – but one telling us that the landlord was going to move her family into the house, so we had 60 days to find another home.
Pressure, stress and severe sadness were the theme in the following days. We tried to find a new place on the Coast that would fit all of our desires, but the options were so slim. We needed land for the dogs, for the garden and for the shows. We weren’t going to change our lifestyle just for the box we have to live within.
So just past the halfway point for the year, on July 1st, Dad, Gooby and I headed east for the Sierra Mountains. Over 15 years living on the Central Coast, it was everything I knew and with barely a warning, I was gone.
Everything that has happened since, I have tried to document on this blog. It’s difficult to communicate the intricate feelings inside of me that seem to change as fast as the clouds move. There is so much that dwells within. So much I ponder, day dream and plan out, that words will never suffice.
I thought I was becoming the person I needed to be, wanted to be, while I was on the Coast. I was building a foundation and felt solid standing on it. In comparison to now, I see I was trying to build on sand. I had a great design and with that, many wonderful people in my life to help me build. We helped each other build up and out.
In reflection, the changes that were to come, albeit forced, were absolutely necessary for my growth though. All of what I have written, and so much more, has helped me place my foundation on steadier ground. And I am learning to work alone when I need to. To grow without people by my side.
I miss the late night, long drives and crazy adventures with Kelsey. I miss Zoe randomly showing up at my house so we can spend hours talking and laughing and venting to each other. I miss the frequent trips to Dennys with Chris and Emily. I miss the themed parties and the musical performances that were hosted at the house.
I’m glad for my first friend here in this new place, Rebecca, who quickly made friends with me after starting my new job. And for Nicole, Jessica and Emma who’ve done the same. I’m glad for the ease of how my daily life is now, with little expectations placed on me above work and the dogs. I’m glad for the feelings of peace and wonder inside of me that I’ve been experiencing more and more as I settle here.
2016. You were one hell of a year. Not just in the small intricacies of my individual life. All around the world, people felt the repercussions of uncertainty in our made-up concept of time.
Whether we’re ready for it or not, 2017 is here. Personally, I am excited. I have no resolutions any different than every other day: be a better me than the me I was yesterday & hope for a world filled with love. Like the crack in the clouds, pictured above, there should always be a sliver of hope.
The opportunities that will present themselves for all of us are waiting with the coming of Spring, a refreshed mindset and with the continuation of life.
I wish you all a wonderful new year!