The Amateur Adult’s Guide to Grief (Part II)

So back in Part I, I realized I had a problem. I wish I could say that I immediately realized it, and snapped out of it. I wish, I wish. 

Instead, I was in a state of shock and suspended reality for a couple of days. I knew I had to change, but it seemed that everything had gotten out of control, and I didn’t know where to start. And then the people I had turned to when things went south, well, turns out they weren’t nearly as friendly as they appeared. So I went on a cleanse. I gave up several social media platforms, I stopped immersing myself in the same things and I started making lists. 

At some point, I’ll post about the long lost art form of the list, but suffice it to say that lists are my happy place. 

Y’all. I’m not kidding around.
First up on the list was a doctor’s appointment. I scheduled one ASAP and went to talk to her about my depression and my bouts of anxiety. After some discussion, she referred me to an excellent family counselor, and recommended that if things didn’t change that I come back and see her about a prescription. 

I added making an appointment with the counselor to my list. Spoiler alert: if you think the moral to this story is ‘A has her shit together and she’s in therapy,’ you’ve come to the wrong place. There’s a reason this is called *amateur* adulthood. If I was good at this, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. That item is still on my list. I haven’t called the counselor, nor have I revisited my doctor. I know. I know. 

However, I did do the next several things on my list. 

First, I started calling my parents regularly. This can be hard for me, because my parents and I don’t always see eye to eye (re: election anxiety), and also because getting information from my mother is like trying to get honey from a beehive. She’s a tough nut. But setting aside time every week to talk to them lessened my guilt and also gave all of us a place to air our lingering feelings that are hard to discuss with people outside the family. 

Second, I started journaling again. I wrote down everything I felt. Dumping it was a relief. I wrote and wrote without impunity. Then a funny thing happened. A couple weeks in to journaling, my husband asked me what I was writing, and I told him. It may not seem like a big deal, but I had been ignoring the fact that I had a life partner to share things with, and once I started trusting myself to share them, he started helping me work through the plethora of things that were constantly running through my head. 

Thirdly, and probably most oddly, I gave myself tasks. Small tasks. Like-unpack the spare bathroom. Or buy two Christmas gifts. And let’s be real, sometimes it was shower and go downstairs. I started actually accomplishing things in my everyday life, instead of burying myself in work and pretending that I was too busy to do the simple stuff. As I started to take time to do those things, I started realizing how much I had been missing. 

I’d like to say the fog has been completely lifted, but as always, some days are better than others. There are still days where I wake up feeling guilty, or anxious, or even sad. But instead of supressing those feelings, I talk about them. I don’t let them dictate my day. I talk to people instead of closing up. While this absolutely won’t work for everyone, it’s working for me. 

So why am I taking the time to write it out on this blog that no one has used in over a year? Well, because my husband reminded me that I had started that 30 for 30 list so long ago. So I revisited the site to look at my list, and I missed this idea. I missed sharing my thoughts publicly.  I missed V. 

2016 wasn’t a great year for me. Some really good things happened, but some truly terrible ones did too. And guess what? That’s probably how 2017 will be as well. But in 2017 I’m choosing to not stop. 

30x30, adulting, goals, Uncategorized, V

30 x 30 (31 months)



A few years ago, at a party, an acquaintance talked to my husband about her experience turning 30 (he was about 6 months away from his 30th birthday).  “It was the worst day of my life.”  That’s all she could say (she had emptied 3 bottles of wine at this point) – so she said it over and over.

He turned 30, and it wasn’t the worst day of his life.

But aging is different for me.  As a dancer, my body is my instrument and my voice.  I know that after 30, my metabolism will take a hit and I’ll start to have the feelings of being too old to dance full-out with my advanced students.  I’ll need to just describe the turning leap landing on the floor instead of showing it.  I’ll have to think about putting away the pointe shoes for good.

Anyway, since 30 is a big deal and can seem overwhelming or depressing, I have my own 30×30 list of things I hope to accomplish by the time I reach that birthday.  Then, instead of focusing on the cons of growing older, I’ll have a new list of goals (40×40?) to tackle.

A and I have a few in common, but I have no desire to go a whole month without buying anything or to play Risk enough times to beat my husband.

  1. Find some system to keep track of important dates for family and friends (anniversaries, birthdays), and consistently mail the cards and gifts so they arrive before that date.
  2. Become a member in a service-oriented group, and volunteer for something I care about regularly.
  3. Buy a respectable, nice car that I can keep for a long time and be proud of.
  4. Visit NYC – maybe for a conference, or just to see shows/take classes/etc – but get to the city for at least one week.
  5. Write regularly (this blog should help!)
  6. Watch and cheer on our favorite college football team in a major bowl game.
  7. Take a two-week vacation to Europe.  No working of any kind while away.
  8. Establish a morning routine.
  9. Start seriously saving for retirement – and set some goals for that retirement with my husband.
  10. Update my wardrobe with quality pieces… and update how I shop – instead of buying whatever I like on clearance at Target, decide what I need, and shop around (at stores other than Target) until I find exactly what I want.
  11. Purchase a real, matching bedroom set.
  12. Grow my own vegetable garden and use what it grows.
  13. Learn how to play Poker.
  14. Do something major for both my in-laws and my parents.  Maybe cover a vacation all together, cover lawn care/snow removal for a year, something big for their house… but something big as a thank-you.
  15. Have regular get-togethers with friends.  I have a few really good friends that work schedules prevent me from seeing regularly.  Fix the work situation and make some regular time with those friends!
  16. Complete the books-I-should-have-read list. (will come later – probably with A’s help)
  17. Same as ^ with movies.
  18. Stop buying clothes from the girl’s section.  In fact, stop even looking for clothes for myself in the girl’s section.
  19. Learn/re-learn to sew enough to repair clothes or make curtains/tablecloths/etc.
  20. Create a system to handle all of the paper that we have to deal with (business and at home) – and the habit of sticking to it.
  21. Revisit the resort we stayed in for our honeymoon.  Stay there for a week-ish, no phones.
  22. Contribute an article or column to a trade magazine/journal/etc in my field.
  23. Develop a kick-ass cocktail that is unique and always have the ingredients on hand to make for guests.
  24. Host an awesome dinner party – complete with decor, 3-5 course meal, and #23’s cocktail.
  25. Systemize my business.  Take the time to write training manuals, detailed curriculum notes, policies, etc.
  26. Develop a scholarship program for a few talented and hard-working kids who need some help to afford dance classes.
  27. Learn how to drive a boat. (I know it isn’t hard, but my family does lake vacations in the summer and I want to feel like a capable driver when we need someone who can pull a skier!)
  28. Have one day off every other week – truly take it OFF.  No email, no planning, nothing.
  29. Learn more about wine (not that I need to get snobby) and collect the appropriate shaped glasses for kinds we have regularly.
  30. Accept that growing older and aging is not a bad thing – and do something unique to celebrate the big 3-0.