So Long, 2015!

My Dear “Kindred Spirit,”

Oh, dear. Where to even start?

So I was debating earlier this evening whether I should write this post or not. I kinda started it, then stopped for dinner. Then got bullied into playing games after dinner. For like 3 hours.

And now I’m back. Tired because it’s getting late and brain dead from Chinese Checkers.

The tiredness and brain deadness means that any semblance of a “filter” I may have had is wearing quite thin and God only knows what this post is gonna turn into.

A whiny, woe-is-me rant, most likely. (You’ve been warned. Continue reading at your own risk.)

2015 has been, without a doubt, hands-down, THE WORST year of my life.

It has also been the most incredibly amazing year of my life.

If you’d asked me a year ago (that is, New Year’s Eve, 2014) where I thought I would be today (New Year’s Eve, 2015), I would have said married. Living on my husband’s farm. Maybe playing at a church on the weekends.

Here’s how 2015 ACTUALLY went down, proving once more that (as the good Lord says) “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” (That’s Isaiah 55:8, in case you were wondering).

January started out COLD. And stayed that way. The first few months of 2015 were extremely (like, record breakingly) cold and snowy. We had over a month where the temperature never got above freezing. I found this article which goes into a bit more detail if you’re curious. The city mentioned in the article – Syracuse – is about an hour and a half or two hours west from our home in NY.

But that’s just the weather. Yup, it was brutal. But let me get into the really good (bad) stuff!

We began 2015 with my entire family getting sick. For about two months straight. Bronchitis, ear infections, pink eye… mostly bronchitis, though. I didn’t get AS sick as the rest of the family, I just had a cold or two and was considering myself fortunate to have escaped bronchitis, when my chronic health issues started flaring in mid-February… (just as the rest of the family was finally starting to feel a little better.)

There were several factors involved, stress being a huge one, but long story short, I ended up in the hospital for a few days. During the middle of (yet another) snowstorm. To read more about that, refer to this post.

*Silver lining to this cloud.* I’ve always known I have a pretty awesome family, but that fact became even more apparent as my family members drove through nasty roads during snowstorms to visit me every day I was in the hospital.

I got out of the hospital still feeling miserable and depressed and lousy. And proceeded to spend several hours on the phone getting signed up for healthcare so that I wouldn’t spend the next several years of my life paying off the hospital bills.

I don’t really even remember March. It was cold. And stressful.

The elephant that I’ve been trying to hide in this room is that I was in a difficult relationship at the time. I was engaged. It was not a healthy relationship. But I was too stubborn and scared to put an end to it, and really wouldn’t admit to myself that I even wanted to put an end to it.

There were a lot of different, difficult factors involved (on both sides), but let’s just leave it at that.

Have you ever tried to plan a wedding when in your gut you know you should be calling it off? Not a fun place to be. Trust me.

Mid April, my dad ended up in the hospital for over a week. (Better and better, right?)

My two older brothers and I planned to do a road trip to Alabama the end of April. We’re blessed to be not only siblings but also friends, and it was going to be one last road trip with the three of us. With my dad getting sick, though, my oldest brother had to stay home and so it ended up just me and one brother.

I need to hurry this story along… I’m not even halfway through the year and this post is already substantial!

So Alabama was WARM. They had grass growing and flowers blooming whereas we still had snow on the ground in NY when we left.

Being in AL, a ways away from everything, talking with the Ant (or, rather, having the Ant talk with me), hearing advice from people with a fresh perspective, who were not so “involved” in everything… Well, it confirmed some things for me.

And it gave me the courage to do what I had known in my gut for the past few months that I had to do.

I called off the engagement and wedding. And “officially” broke up a few weeks later.

I knew I couldn’t sit around and mope, doing nothing would drive me crazy, and since I had finally done the thing I was most scared to do, it was almost like I had been freed from some of my other fears as well.

I love road trips, and I’ve always wanted to travel some and do “touristy” things. But I’ve never had the nerve to actually go do them.

I had already quit my church job, and told my piano students that I wouldn’t be teaching over the summer, and maybe not even in the fall, and so I decided to go just a little bit crazy and do something I’d never done before – a road trip all by myself, to a place I’ve always wanted to go to.

I’m a country music fan, and I’d always wanted to visit Nashville and see the Country Music Hall of Fame and other “touristy” spots. So I booked a cheap motel room and off I went.

And proceeded to have THE TIME OF MY LIFE! That weekend in Nashville is, hands down, no doubt about it, the highlight of the year for me.

I also spent more time in AL, went to visit and reconnect with an old friend, then came home via North Carolina to visit more friends.

So by now we’re nearing the end of May, and I’m trying to decide what to do with my life. I no longer have a job. I want to move out of my parents house, but don’t have the finances to do that. I thought my life was going in one direction, and suddenly all that is gone and I really just felt… lost. I also had this strong urge to run and hide from everyone who knew me. I considered buying a plane ticket to somewhere – anywhere – far away and just vanishing. I considered moving to NH and becoming a hermit. I considered locking myself into the girls bedroom and never leaving the house again (but then realized that wouldn’t work since the girl’s bedroom doesn’t have a lock on the door). I also considered just trying out a different area – such as down south – and seeing how I liked it and what opportunities presented themselves. I no longer had any reason to not pursue some of those ideas and dreams.

I expressed some of these thoughts and ideas (including moving south) to the Ant while visiting, and was told that if I decided to come try out the south I could stay with them.

So I did.

Well, first I went to Porcfest with my brothers in June. Can you say AWESOME? Another highlight of the year. (See this post if you’re curious.)

Then I played for my aunt’s wedding the end of June, and the beginning of July I stuffed my vehicle full of stuff and headed south.

It was a good summer. A very good summer. I made a few phone calls and ended up filling in for a church across the border in Lewisburg, Tennessee. They liked me enough to offer me a permanent position. I also interviewed for a position as a music teacher at a studio in Huntsville, AL.

The beginning of September I drove back to NY for a temporary job at my former college in Schenectady. For three weeks I had the time of my life tutoring music theory. I am not kidding – I absolutely LOVE music theory. I do it for fun sometimes when I’m bored. I have hymnals all marked up with the harmonic analysis of the hymns. (Hey, the organist has gotta do something to kill time during the sermon!). I also reconnected with several friends in NY and spent time hanging out with my siblings.

Then I drove back to Alabama. (Are you sensing a theme here? 2015: year of the road trip, huh?)

By now I had accepted both the church job and the job at the music studio. Fall started on a great note. My cousin came back from California and the “twin cousins” were once again reunited! We’re roommates now and spend our time aquiring more books to read, diffusing essential oils, and doing a lot of girl talk about food and health and nutrition and other subjects you really don’t want to hear about.

News from home kept coming in. My dad smashed his thumb open on something and had to go to the ER and get patched up.

The beginning of November, I got sick again. And ended up in the hospital for a few days again. (See this post!) And am still in the process of fighting with insurance companies and the billing office at the hospital.

I wasn’t able to go home for Thanksgiving. I had only been out of the hospital a few days and I was still feeling ill and lousy and depressed. I missed my family desperately (Thanksgiving is *the* holiday at our house) and I spent much of my Thanksgiving crying. Yes, I know. There was still plenty for me to be thankful for. I was and am well aware of that, but I cried anyway.

And that brings us to December. I’m feeling better. Some of my family came to visit me, and that helped with the homesickness. But now I am still faced with other questions to be answered: where do I go from here? What do I do with my life now? I’m enjoying my time in the south, but is this where God wants me longer term, or should I be hightailing it back north at some point?

Honestly, I just still feel lost sometimes. It’s hard to wait for God’s direction in my life. I’m a human, and we humans want answers in our time! I wanna know now what 2016 is gonna bring, what the rest of my life is gonna bring, and, really, what I’m supposed to be doing with my life! (The never ending cry from humanity, right? “But I don’t WANNA wait and trust!”)

Oh, so my family back in NY? They’ve all got the stomach flu this week. Not kidding.

2015. Worst. Year. EVER!

I know, I know… “that’s not true!”

It sure feels true…

I’ve really just touched the tip of the iceberg in this post. You have no idea how much I’ve left out. Dozens of “deep” conversations, several very fast, loud drives down the highway, buckets of tears, and 6 full journals, worth of drama. That’s what I’ve left out.

It’s been a year, that’s for sure. Or, as the Ant would say “lot of life has been lived.”

The word that comes to mind for me – and will probably always come to mind for me – when I think of 2015 is this:

Overwhelming.

That about sums it up.

Love, N.

P.S. Dear 2016, Please be a little more gentle than 2015. I don’t know how much more I can take. Thanks so much. Love, Me.

P.S.#2 Oh, hey! It’s 2016 now! Happy New Year!

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