Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Years ago today

Do you ever stop whatever you're doing to think about how you ended up where you are?

I had one of those moments this morning. On my way to work I was letting my mind wander while I pedalled my bike though the park. Suddenly I found myself almost not moving my legs at all at the same time as I was completely focused on the stream I was following. I was looking at the water and hearing its rippling sound. And the sight and sound had my eyes filling up with tears.

Yes, I'm sick and tired of grey days and this shitty season of the year. I'm kind of blah about a lot of projects at work. My hip and shifted upper body is still bothering me. I don't sleep all too well. A lot of the time I feel inadequate and I have to struggle with my priorities.

But I'm happy. I love the set up of my life at the moment. I love having a home with boyfriend that's ours. I love inviting friends and family over and not feeling ashamed of how I live. I love being able to bike through a park to get to work in less than ten minutes. I love walking around in our residential area and seeing how the neighbours live. I even love the fact that our neighbour across the street always waves at me when I come and go.

So, sitting there on my bike this morning with tears in my eyes, I couldn't help thinking about the last couple of years. The last seven years.

Seven years ago today I was in Canada. Having one of the best years of my life, meeting some of the people that are the most special to me today, trying out new things and routines for my life (grocery shopping on Saturdays, ice cream and basketball on tv for breakfast on Sundays, Survivor with friends in a University bar/coffee shop, working on assignments at the library or in my "home building" 'til late at night, having Cinnabons at the mall, phone calls with my family in Sweden almost every Saturday, hours and hours of chatting and emailing, discussions on ethics, moral, culture and religion with my room mates while eating ice cream - I looooved that year).

Six years ago today I was back in Sweden. Feeling lost in my city and among my friends. It was so much harder getting back into life in Sweden again than it was starting a new one in another country. I wasn't prepared. I didn't think I'd have to be. In 2002 I started working on a master's project while trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Ggetting more and more anxious about things. Not feeling comfortable in myself and things and people that had shaped me into what I was.

Five years ago today I was still struggling with that master's project. Now in a paralyzing panic mode. I was so freaked out about the project, about the future, about money and about myself that I couldn't produce anything. I was running out of financial funding and had to get a job. Even though I hadn't finished my master's. I spent the nights crying in my apartment. Some nights I fell asleep on the living room floor exhausted after hours and hours of crying and hyperventilating. Too exhausted to even being able to get into bed. Felt lonely. In a very hurtful way. And I questioned everything about myself. Thoughts about what and who I had became occupied my mind all the time. I was disgusted with myself.

Four years ago today I was feeling much better. I had had an emotional breakdown in May the year before. I had started taking antidepressants. I had spent the summer living with my parents and sister as I was terrified to be on my own. I had gotten to see a therapist who had me working on many of the issues that I had non-resolved. Started to let go of my father and I started to like myself again. Bought Skorpan and JumJum. So in January 2004, things were much better. I had gotten off the antidepressants (or was just phasing out - I can't remember). Still had my temporary employment to support myself.

Three years ago today I was feeling even better. I had gotten myself a job in the field I was trained for and I was enjoying the fact that I was "growing up". For the first time in years and years, I knew where I'd be for the next two years, geographically and financially. I was happy about the special connection I had made with one of my colleagues. Can't remember that I had many crying nights around this time. Felt more stable. More grounded. More secure.

Two years ago today I was living with a man!!! In his house. In the middle of nowhere surrounded by trees and fields. I think this is the most shocking thing to ever happen to me. In my entire life. That I actually chose to move in with a man. For one (or two or many) reasons I never thought I'd be a person wanting to spend my every day life with someone. For as long as I can remember I've always said that I'd refer to stay in a relationship where both parties had their own living arrnagements, their own lives, their own spaces. And that you'd get together for quality time now and then. Suddenly I wanted to be with him. Even in the mornings when he's at his worst.

One year ago today we had moved into the city. We had decided to rent an apartment as circumstances forced us to live somewhere easily reachable by train or bus and we hadn't been able to find a house to buy that both of us were willing to pay for. The previous year had had some ups and downs. Some days I was certain I'd move back to my old apartment and some days I couldn't even think about living away from boyfriend without getting all teary and upset. In the end we both decided that we were committed to our decision about living together and we both made compromises. In January last year I was enjoying the easy access to shops and restaurants. I was enjoying our biking distance to work. I was looking forward to joining a gym. I was looking forward to being more mobile and flexible with buses and trains within a couple of minutes of walking.

And today I'm in our house. And feeling more comfortable, more secure, more stable than ever before. I'm happy. And even though I'd never want to go back to where I was a couple of years ago, I'm glad I have the experience. I've been there at the bottom looking up. I got out of it. And decided to listen more to what my heart was telling me. Listen to my intuition more often.

If anyone had asked me five years ago if I thought I'd own a house with a man in 2008, I would have laughed real hard and asked them if they were on drugs or something. Couldn't have imagined that to be in my cards. Or something I'd do voluntarily. If they had asked me if I thought I would get teary by biking along a little stream on a January morning in 2008, I would've giggled and asked them if they were nuts.

But here I am. In my little house that looks exactly like 500 other houses in a city I never thought I'd live in. And I'm happy as ever.

Do you ever stop whatever you're doing to think about how you ended up where you are?


Geek Knitter said...

My goodness Anna, what a journey. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Do you ever stop whatever you're doing to think about how you ended up where you are?
Oh yes, I most certainly do. And I also realize that I couldn't have imagined that I'd be here. :bighugs:

Anna said...

Thank you for reading it, Geeky. :kram: And thanks for answering my question. I hope more people do just that. :)

essjay said...

That is quite a journey and look at how much you have grown over those years and the fabulos things that have happened after the bad moments! You are truly blessed and I'm so glad that you are so happy!

I too think about how I ended up here, in Iowa, freezing my butt off. 7 years ago I was only 23....a "kid". I'd already changed career paths at the age of 22 but I was still so young and even now, 7 years later, I don't know if I know who that person was but I know she is still part of me. I don't know how I got here, but the important thing is that I'm happy that I *am* here, right where I should be.

Anonymous said...

...a very important question indeed. The answer is not always black and white, but it makes me realize how even negative situations can grow into positive ones.

Kate said...

Wow, Anna...thank you so much for sharing your journey with all of us! I often think about how I ended up where I am. I think about how I was very close to going to a different university than I did. I wonder what my life would be like if I'd chosen the other one. (Not that I'm unhappy with my choice--I met my husband at the one I picked!) :) But still, curiosity.

However, if you had told me even two years ago that I would have knitting friends all over the WORLD, I'd never have believed you.

Thanks again for sharing!!

Anna said...

Thank you all for commenting on this post.

EssJay: I think we were "kids" seven years ago but I also remember feeling very grown up. Dealing with "grown up"-things and paying my own bills. You in Iowa is maybe as miraculous as me in a house with a man? :) :kram:

Shelley: That's something your not-so-flaky-sister can agree with you on. Miss you! :kram:

Kate: I know exactly what you mean about how different choices shape your life. I was very close to starting school a year too early but my mother decided to hold me back there so I could play for another year and be a kid. If I had started earlier, I wouldn't have had the friends I had, I would've probably spent a year in Australia in high school and maybe never gone to Canada...