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Mountaintop selfie: the view up here is good.

Mountaintop selfie: the view up here is good.

Earlier this week, I blogged about “taking my life back.” Sometimes you have to high-five yourself, be your own best friend. Rather than dwell on the events that precipitated this…yeah, rebirth seems like the right word…I feel like making a list of things I’m doing or have done in the past year to start over.

I’m a list-loving kind of woman.

I know this list is gonna sound a little Oprah, a little “be your best self,” but I lost my sense of self for a while. This is my welcome-back. This list is full of old and new favorite things that have helped me remember and grow who I am, one for every month of the last year:

  1. I started writing nonfiction.
  2. I started making time to read again—voraciously, daily, the way I like to read.
  3. I learned how to shoot a pistol and a shotgun, and I’m better at it than I ever imagined I would be.
  4. I went to the dentist. I’m terrified of the dentist, didn’t have dental insurance or the time or energy to take care of myself in ways an adult should, for a long time. I neglected self-care in avoiding doctor visits, the way a lot of people do when they’re turbo-stressed. Before last summer, I could barely eat or sleep half the time, so screwing up my courage to get my teeth cleaned and get a referral to finally have my wisdom teeth extracted seemed beyond the scope of possibility. Not anymore. Going to the dentist—the simplest, most routine thing. Check. And it only hurt a little.
  5. I’ve climbed at least five mountains and found a new favorite spot at Raystown Lake.
  6. I did preventative maintenance on my car, and felt so good and adult about it that I scheduled more. (My car saved my life. My car is my baby. It’s nothing special, a silver 2001 Honda CR-V. But it climbs mountains, too. It’s reliable and tough; I named it Buffy. When you name your car after the vampire slayer, what’s the most ironic thing that can happen? A stick punctured one of my brand new all-season tires. Buffy got staked. And lived.)
  7. I rode a motorcycle for the first time.
  8. I (and Jax) rode a horse for the first time.
  9. I had a good birthday, the first good birthday I’ve had in years. I got some amazing dark chocolate and a dozen white blush roses, drank Chimay with friends, and the bartender put on Pearl Jam’s XM radio station for me. Win.
  10. I started teaching writing courses online, and I love it. I even designed my own course.
  11. I started a blog, and wonder of all wonders, I’m posting regularly, and you’re reading it.
  12. I’ve gone out to lunch alone. I’ve gone out for a drink alone. Once in a while I take a long drive alone through old-growth forests, windows down and guitars turned up. I’ve sat in my yard alone at night, looking for meteors. I’ve stood alone in the rain. I don’t do these things often; I enjoy the company of some very special people, some of whom have been in my life longer than they haven’t (I live 15 mins from my best friend of 19 years) and some of whom I’ve reconnected with since moving home. But being alone by choice is a lot better than feeling alone while there are people around.

Thanks to all who read and comment on my blog (especially these two most recent posts) as I’ve been navigating this new life. It, like me, is a work-in-progress. This week, it was about heavy stuff, but I’m not always a downer. Next week: posts on toddler temper tantrums, muffin tin quiches, and maybe a share of one of my daily June free writes. See, fun! Thanks again.