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Adventurer's 10th Anniversary Mini!


Sylvaa

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So while I haven't been around since the beginning of NerdFitness (I've only been here 5 years now), I do think 10 years is an amazing celebration of time dedicated to yourself. We haven't had a dedicated mini for awhile and I've started to change that for next challenge, but why not take this zero week to look back. Where has your 10 year journey taken you? 

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To start, I introduce you to 2010 Sylvaa:

 

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Featured here with my cousin. 

 

This Sylvaa was not in a good place. I was either in the process of leaving or had just left a relationship that, while healthy from a mental standpoint, wasn't healthy in other ways. There was a lot of drinking and smoking, to the point where I was pretty close to being considered an alcoholic. I was really struggling with paying bills and trying to finish college and being a good mother to my kids. By the end of 2010, I moved out of a place I was renting and back in with my parents as I just couldn't afford to do everything on my own. 

 

The Sylvaa today has a lot more things together. 

70646765_2679886765363321_85321632317146 

This is with my husband.

 

I haven't smoked in like forever (I guess 10 years or so now). I can run and climb and be active without feeling like I'm dying. I own a house and am obviously married. While I still have bills to pay, I don't worry about something happening and not having the money to take care of them. I've not only got my bachelors, but a masters. 

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Okay, I'll play.

 

TL;DR: I used to be clingy and depressed, seeking validation from others, and now I'm a little more confident and self-assured.

 

This is me 10 years ago:

d3c9252dd4a9b2ea8723e585f38c403c-full.pn 

 

This is during my theater phase when I had appeared in several community theater productions. This pic is actually a "headshot" that I asked my director to take so I could send it to a local marketing agency that produced commercials. I never got a call back, but oh well. At home, things were not great. I was still wrestling with some residual depression and anxiety issues that followed me from my worst teaching position to a less toxic (but perhaps more stressful) teaching position. I struggled with mood swings, some bad habits and addictions, I gained weight, lost weight, and the time I spent away at theater rehearsals made things worse with my marriage because my wife and daughters were not interested in theater, so it was mostly "my thing." In retrospect, I realize I used theater as an escape and in an attempt to re-boost my self-confidence. I sought the acceptance of my cast mates as well as from an audience of nameless faces. During this time, there were excuses and lies and justifications that I'm not proud of, even though they never escalated to anything serious. At that point, I wanted to be at the theater on that stage more than I wanted to be at home.

 

It was a lie. I was acting. I was pretending. I missed my wife and daughters. My wife has always been intuitive to my struggles, and she finally asked me what I felt was more important: theater or spending time with her and our kids. It was clear that I couldn't have both. I searched my soul and was reminded that I have always considered myself a family man, proud to be a husband and a father, willing to sacrifice anything to maintain that persona. That's not acting; that is for real.

 

So, I backed away from the theater scene. I focused on using my acting skills in the classroom, even staging small productions with my students. This scratched the theater love itch and not at the expense of my family, and it gave me an opportunity to combine two things I do really well: teaching and acting.

 

Fast forward 10 years:

 

9051d547e8f259dffe99de8dff4c8318-full.pn 

 

We are happier now than we have ever been as a couple. We will celebrate our 20th anniversary this summer. Our love and trust for one another continues to grow. There are days when I just look at her and think, "Wow, she's the love of my life. How did I get so lucky?" We are reaching a point in our marriage where we are both a couple bonded by our love for each other and yet also separate people with our own hobbies and interests. And this is a really good thing. I read a quote on Brain Pickings by Khalil Gibran: "Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls." 

 

As a manifestation of and as a way to maintain this happier place in our relationship, I started taking better care of myself emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically. For a while, she did not share this motivation, and there were some concerns about her health and weight. But I did not push. Now, though, she is working through her own personal wellness journey, and I am by her side for support. She still rolls her eyes at me when I come back from a run, sweaty and sometimes muddy (I like to run on trails), but she supports me on my journey, as well.

 

Ten years ago, I was clingy and needy and moody, and I sought validation from her. When I didn't get it from her, I sought in through theater. Ten years later, I realize that validation comes from within; if I'm not happy with me, I can't expect others to "make" me feel happy with me.

 

In less than a month, my wife and daughters and my mother are taking a cruise to The Caiman Islands and Cozumel Mexico without me. It is their spring break, but I still have to work. When she first brought this up, I could feel the clingy and selfish part of me trying to rise up. Ten years ago, I would have complained and whined that it's not fair and would have agonized over why she would be okay with leaving me alone for more than a week. Now, though, I thought about how great of an opportunity this is for them and about the experiences they would have together, so I agreed it would be amazing. Then she asked how I felt about taking a cruise for our anniversary, just the two of us. Of course I agreed.

 

I equate my maturity and the growth of our marriage to the choice to take better care of myself. I love her and trust her, and I recognize how strong she is as a woman and as a person. She is both mine and not mine, free to be herself but also welcome to be my wife. Ten years ago, I would have felt entitled to being heard and being validated and would have made her feel guilty when that didn't happen. Now, though, we are happier and stronger as a couple because we feel secure and confident in the love we have for each other.

 

Sorry this is so long, but anytime I'm asked to "look back" I get really pensive and introspective.

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Who am I? -- My NF Character

Current Challenge: WolfDreamer Embraces His Wild Poet

Past Challenges: 

Spoiler

Winter is ComingWolfen Strengthens His Heart, Body, Mind, and Spirit, Wolfen Becomes One of the PeopleWolfen Strengthens His ChakrasWolfen Welcomes Summer and Gets Primal, Soulcon and Spartan, Wolfen Develops Mental ToughnessWolfen Joins the Wander SocietySoulcon, Spartan, School, and Stranger ThingsWolfen Becomes a Warrior EliteWolfen Goes Here and There and Back AgainWolfen Becomes a Soulcon Warrior EliteWolfen Returns to His RootsWolfen Wanders in Soul, Spirit, and BodyWolfen Owns the DayWolfen Searches for His Wild Heart, Wolfen Runs for His LifeWolfen Hits the TrailsWolfen Becomes an Explorer and Joins the ResistanceWolfen Goes Back to the SourceWolfen Begins the Hero's JourneyWolfDreamer Returns to the People,  WolfDreamer Pushes BackWolfDreamer PrioritizesBurpees, Books, and BrainworkBurpees, Books, Brainwork, and BodyworkWolfDreamer Masters the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Continues to Master the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Returns to SpartaWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Continues His Middle Earth AdventureWolfDreamer and the FallWolfDreamer Forges His Own PathWolfDreamer Has HopeWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Reads Harder, Breathes Harder, and Journals More

I'd rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet.” -- Jack London

“I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.” -- Leo Tolstoy

"I feel love rising in my chest again
Rising like a burning sun into the day..." -- Gungor, "Hurricane"

"...wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17b

 

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me.jpg

 

 

Me in 2013

 

Emotionally, I was still recovering from being in an incredibly abusive work environment. I was also working really hard to learn Photoshop, and find my voice in the children's literature world. I wanted to be ready, and at this time I was hoarding books and educational materials. I didn't really like who I was at all. I look at this photo and realize my eyes are looking somewhere within and guarding against any wrong doers. At this point I wanted to meet someone, get married, have a family because I wasn't really sure what I WANTED and those steps just made sense to me. I realized I loved children and thought having my own would make me happy. 

 

 

Flash forward to 2019, and I'm so much happier and confident. I'm fatter, and I've developed callouses in my eyes. I have more  scars.  But I'm also strong. I chop wood with a single blow! I can lift heavy things, and I hike. I learned photoshop, and dropped it when adobe doubled the price of their subscription. Now I use procreate and I'm back to square one learning Clip Studio Paint. I don't feel bad about it. I feel smart, creative.  This was the decade I took care of my mental health, healed a lot of old wounds, and discovered I like the person I am today.  I realize I'm happy single and I've opened up to my family, and I've made genuine friendships that mean a lot to me. Marriage and kids isn't for everyone, and I think at this point in my life, I LOVE being an Auntie and supporting the amazing parents that my friends and family are.  I can love everyone else's children and then go home and enjoy the quiet.  Now it's time to take care of my strong body, because my joints hurt, and I get out of breath too easily, and I just want my physical body to feel as good as my insides. 

 

Me in 2019

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Your stories are amazing! 🤩

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The Wolverine - Level 5 // BER  6.5 // HEA  4 // STR  4.4 // STA  3 // DEX  4 // CON  4 // WIS  4.75 // CHA  1

He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.

Adventures don't start until you get into the forest.

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3 hours ago, zenLara said:

Your stories are amazing! 🤩

 

Thank you. Would you like to share yours?

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Who am I? -- My NF Character

Current Challenge: WolfDreamer Embraces His Wild Poet

Past Challenges: 

Spoiler

Winter is ComingWolfen Strengthens His Heart, Body, Mind, and Spirit, Wolfen Becomes One of the PeopleWolfen Strengthens His ChakrasWolfen Welcomes Summer and Gets Primal, Soulcon and Spartan, Wolfen Develops Mental ToughnessWolfen Joins the Wander SocietySoulcon, Spartan, School, and Stranger ThingsWolfen Becomes a Warrior EliteWolfen Goes Here and There and Back AgainWolfen Becomes a Soulcon Warrior EliteWolfen Returns to His RootsWolfen Wanders in Soul, Spirit, and BodyWolfen Owns the DayWolfen Searches for His Wild Heart, Wolfen Runs for His LifeWolfen Hits the TrailsWolfen Becomes an Explorer and Joins the ResistanceWolfen Goes Back to the SourceWolfen Begins the Hero's JourneyWolfDreamer Returns to the People,  WolfDreamer Pushes BackWolfDreamer PrioritizesBurpees, Books, and BrainworkBurpees, Books, Brainwork, and BodyworkWolfDreamer Masters the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Continues to Master the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Returns to SpartaWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Continues His Middle Earth AdventureWolfDreamer and the FallWolfDreamer Forges His Own PathWolfDreamer Has HopeWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Reads Harder, Breathes Harder, and Journals More

I'd rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet.” -- Jack London

“I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.” -- Leo Tolstoy

"I feel love rising in my chest again
Rising like a burning sun into the day..." -- Gungor, "Hurricane"

"...wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17b

 

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32 minutes ago, WolfDreamer said:

 

Thank you. Would you like to share yours?

Mine wouldn't look that interesting. To be honest, my life is more or less the same that when I joined NF. I'm slightly stronger and better at mobility, but I haven't gone through major changes.

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The Wolverine - Level 5 // BER  6.5 // HEA  4 // STR  4.4 // STA  3 // DEX  4 // CON  4 // WIS  4.75 // CHA  1

He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.

Adventures don't start until you get into the forest.

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6 minutes ago, zenLara said:

Mine wouldn't look that interesting. To be honest, my life is more or less the same that when I joined NF. I'm slightly stronger and better at mobility, but I haven't gone through major changes.

 

That's okay. We also celebrate the little changes because even small changes make a big difference. But it's also okay if you don't want to share. 😁

  • Like 1

Who am I? -- My NF Character

Current Challenge: WolfDreamer Embraces His Wild Poet

Past Challenges: 

Spoiler

Winter is ComingWolfen Strengthens His Heart, Body, Mind, and Spirit, Wolfen Becomes One of the PeopleWolfen Strengthens His ChakrasWolfen Welcomes Summer and Gets Primal, Soulcon and Spartan, Wolfen Develops Mental ToughnessWolfen Joins the Wander SocietySoulcon, Spartan, School, and Stranger ThingsWolfen Becomes a Warrior EliteWolfen Goes Here and There and Back AgainWolfen Becomes a Soulcon Warrior EliteWolfen Returns to His RootsWolfen Wanders in Soul, Spirit, and BodyWolfen Owns the DayWolfen Searches for His Wild Heart, Wolfen Runs for His LifeWolfen Hits the TrailsWolfen Becomes an Explorer and Joins the ResistanceWolfen Goes Back to the SourceWolfen Begins the Hero's JourneyWolfDreamer Returns to the People,  WolfDreamer Pushes BackWolfDreamer PrioritizesBurpees, Books, and BrainworkBurpees, Books, Brainwork, and BodyworkWolfDreamer Masters the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Continues to Master the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Returns to SpartaWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Continues His Middle Earth AdventureWolfDreamer and the FallWolfDreamer Forges His Own PathWolfDreamer Has HopeWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Reads Harder, Breathes Harder, and Journals More

I'd rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet.” -- Jack London

“I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.” -- Leo Tolstoy

"I feel love rising in my chest again
Rising like a burning sun into the day..." -- Gungor, "Hurricane"

"...wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17b

 

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9 minutes ago, WolfDreamer said:

We also celebrate the little changes because even small changes make a big difference

Small changes are good and do make a difference, but they don't really make for great stories 🙃

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The Wolverine - Level 5 // BER  6.5 // HEA  4 // STR  4.4 // STA  3 // DEX  4 // CON  4 // WIS  4.75 // CHA  1

He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.

Adventures don't start until you get into the forest.

Link to post
50 minutes ago, zenLara said:

they don't really make for great stories 🙃

 

I disagree, even though I see your point. I guess the poetic side of me would be intrigued by the story of how one snowflake, one drop of rain, or one grain of sand makes a difference in the bigger scheme of a snowstorm, the ocean, or the desert. 😊

Who am I? -- My NF Character

Current Challenge: WolfDreamer Embraces His Wild Poet

Past Challenges: 

Spoiler

Winter is ComingWolfen Strengthens His Heart, Body, Mind, and Spirit, Wolfen Becomes One of the PeopleWolfen Strengthens His ChakrasWolfen Welcomes Summer and Gets Primal, Soulcon and Spartan, Wolfen Develops Mental ToughnessWolfen Joins the Wander SocietySoulcon, Spartan, School, and Stranger ThingsWolfen Becomes a Warrior EliteWolfen Goes Here and There and Back AgainWolfen Becomes a Soulcon Warrior EliteWolfen Returns to His RootsWolfen Wanders in Soul, Spirit, and BodyWolfen Owns the DayWolfen Searches for His Wild Heart, Wolfen Runs for His LifeWolfen Hits the TrailsWolfen Becomes an Explorer and Joins the ResistanceWolfen Goes Back to the SourceWolfen Begins the Hero's JourneyWolfDreamer Returns to the People,  WolfDreamer Pushes BackWolfDreamer PrioritizesBurpees, Books, and BrainworkBurpees, Books, Brainwork, and BodyworkWolfDreamer Masters the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Continues to Master the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Returns to SpartaWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Continues His Middle Earth AdventureWolfDreamer and the FallWolfDreamer Forges His Own PathWolfDreamer Has HopeWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Reads Harder, Breathes Harder, and Journals More

I'd rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet.” -- Jack London

“I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.” -- Leo Tolstoy

"I feel love rising in my chest again
Rising like a burning sun into the day..." -- Gungor, "Hurricane"

"...wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17b

 

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5 hours ago, zenLara said:

Small changes are good and do make a difference, but they don't really make for great stories 🙃

Small changes make excellent stories. BUT, I think WolfDreamer needs to pay up in some form of currency for your stories. (rubs palms together) A secret for a story, perhaps? MUIWHAHAHAHAHAHA

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On 2/9/2020 at 6:12 PM, Sylvaa said:

Where has your 10 year journey taken you?

 

Well, [BLEEP]. Valid, valuable question. Unfortunately, answering it is going to require me to get brave enough to dive into some unpleasantness and be honest about what I find there.

 

I have to admit I don't much want to do this. I know exactly how it's going to go, and it just seems like a bunch of pain for no purpose -- but I committed to doing it in my thread, because, fear notwithstanding, I do think it's a worthwhile exercise. (I also want to encourage and support others in doing it, just as the raw honesty of many other people here has served as encouragement for me, even if all I do is lurk. There are people here and in other guilds whose threads have significantly helped me, whom I feel like I know and to whom I feel deep gratitude, but because I'm too shy or embarrassed to post they have no idea who I am. Lesson: don't underestimate the effect your challenge ramblings can have on other people.) So I'm going to suck it up and do it anyway.

 

<takes deep breath>

 

In March of 2010 I was...hmm... <checks Gmail archive> ...in the middle of an intensive Pashto language course before my first deployment to Afghanistan.

 

2010.thumb.jpg.035d83389b8b967d9ac9d0dbcc68829d.jpg

 

<sighs>

 

Spoiler because it's a long story, probably a little pathetic, and anyone who doesn't want to wade through a bunch of overwritten paragraphs of me feeling sorry for myself should skip it. The reflections following are the point of this post, not the unfocused ramblings necessary for me to get to them.

 

Spoiler

 

2010 me was a badass. She was a legit Ranger/Monk hybrid; she was a martial arts instructor, she fought SCA heavies regularly, she did high-end functional fitness workouts with her Marines, she was well-respected in her field, she had the energy and motivation to save the world. She ended up getting pulled from her billet as a Civil Affairs planner to be the senior military assistant to the first Marine Corps 2-star general in history to command a coalition force in combat. Seriously, she was an amazing person.

 

I miss her. A lot. 


I wish I knew how to get her to come back.


Over the next few years, I deployed to Afghanistan, spent a few months in Germany working with the British army to train up the next set of coalition staff, and then deployed to Afghanistan again. It was an intense time. I was very good at what I did, and operating at a high level of constant activation certainly has its attractions -- but a person can only sustain that for so long, and I wasn't getting any younger. When I washed up back home in the spring of 2013, I was forty years old, exhausted and frustrated, and thoroughly sick of the Marine Corps and its bullshit. 

 

I had been thinking about going to grad school for quite a long time. In fact, I had intended to start in 2010. An old mentor from Iraq called in a favor, though, and I agreed to put it off a year and go to Afghanistan. That year turned into four, of course. That's how it goes.

 

I was DONE. I said [BLEEP] it, I'm doing something for myself, and used my GI Bill benefits to start a five-year PhD program in mythology.

 

In September 2014 I joined the Rebellion. I don't remember exactly how I encountered the idea; going by the concepts I discussed in my first post in the Level 1 forum, it was probably some sort of random internet search on a myth-and-identity topic, but honestly I'm not quite sure.

 

When I read over those posts, when I listen to 2014 me lamenting everything she has lost, 2020 me wants to shake her hard, slap her upside the head, and tell her she doesn't know how good she has it.

 

I got through two barely-successful challenges (one in the Level 1 forums, one with the Assassins) and then the maelstrom of my grad school life enveloped me for a while. A little more than three years later, in March 2018, I respawned back into the Level 1 Forums. I do know what prompted that, because I put it in my challenge: I stumbled over Level Up Your Life on my Kindle and read it instead of doing my work, which gave me enough of a kick in the ass to try again. At that point, I had completed my classwork and was working on my dissertation. I did one sojourn with the Druids before finally deciding that my true home lay with the Adventurers. I have now more or less mythically embraced everything about the #adventurerlife :)  Since then I've been fairly solid with putting up challenges; I've missed one or two here and there, but I always come back.

 

Somewhere in there I also got promoted, which led to my career as a Reserve officer more or less fading away into insignificance. Technically I'm still a member of the Individual Ready Reserve, but I'm not drilling or anything, and it's definitely starting to look like I probably won't get back into it in any real way.

 

My original plan to refill my savings coffers, utterly drained by six years of grad school, had been to go on another deployment after finishing my dissertation. That plan got cancelled quite abruptly when General Mattis resigned.

 

(Political digression: as I was considering possible billets, I was already asking myself how much I trusted Gen Mattis. I firmly believe that those with whom I disagree politically can still be good people, so please do not read this as passing judgment in any way on what someone else might have chosen in the same situation. For me and me only, I wasn't comfortable putting myself in a position to be involved in American foreign policy when there was a danger that American foreign policy might become something I didn't want to be a part of. End political digression.) 


I did find a loophole in the system that let me keep earning enough Reserve retirement points for three full years after I was promoted. This means that, when I do finally request to retire, I can do so at my current rank. The third year of that long waiting period ends this May, and unless anything significantly unforeseen happens, I will probably drop my letter this summer sometime. But, since I'm a Reservist and can't start drawing my pension for another twelve years or so, I'm afraid that retirement is only going to exacerbate my problems.

 

So, here I am, in 2020. I'm physically sicker and weaker than I've ever been, my home environment is about the most chaotic it's ever been, I've been submitting academic job applications for a solid four months with absolutely zero results, I'm selling off dwindling retirement assets to pay the mortgage on a house that's falling down around me, and mentally I'm in one of the worst places I can remember.

 

Looking over my challenges, while the problems are pretty consistent, I really don't see very much at all in the way of actual, you know, progress. It's always the same thing. Lost strength, moan moan. Life stress and house chaos, complain complain. Hey, why don't I plan another trip? I can write anywhere, right? I have friends in cool places and can travel for cheap! I'm an Adventurer™️! Whee, travel, fun! Wait, why am I so tired? Oh, look, things at home have deteriorated even further! Imagine that. Moan, complain.


It's just all so stupid.

 

In pretty much every one of my challenges you can see the same four major efforts: I want to regain the disciplined physicality I once enjoyed, I want to get my interior life together, I want to get my house clean and livable, and I want to do well on my graduate school journey.

 

Thus far I have accomplished only the last one, and I'm beginning to wonder if that even matters.

 

Right now it's becoming clear how unlikely I am ever to land an academic job. I'm just not competitive -- I'm too old, or too military, or too obscurely interdisciplinary, or the job market is too brutal, or some combination of all four. This means that, after I stubbornly finish the last few applications on my list for this hiring season, I need to do some serious soul-searching to determine what my next steps should be. I'm trained as a communicator and an engineer -- do I go back to the technical networking world (which I left because I hated)? Last Christmas I received an offer to go into the financial sector -- do I take it, thereby changing fields into something else I fear I will hate? I have about sixteen years of Civil Affairs experience -- do I start considering taking lower-level jobs for which I'm way overqualified, just to break in to the UN or the development or nonprofit sector? I'm quite a good writer, both academically and creatively -- do I take a chance on being able to function well enough to explore a career as a freelancer? The last feels most true to who I am, but the utter misery of the last few years as I struggled to write my dissertation serves as a significant argument against the wisdom of trusting that feeling. 


I have some fairly final surgery scheduled near the end of this challenge.  I don't know how much my current state of mental health is being affected by the physical issues I've been having, but once I recover from that surgery, I think perhaps I should explore some therapy. Typing out long rambling emotional dumps into the NF forums does seem to help me, I have to say ^_^ But since I don't appear to be making any headway, I think it might be worthwhile to actually seek out some professional help. It would sure be nice for me to be able to get my mind straightened out so I can move forward, or at the very least figure out what moving forward might look like.

 

 

Anyway. That's enough of that. Let's get on to the reflections.

 

REFLECTION 1: Although reading over my old NF history has (as expected) been more than a little depressing, I do know that things are nowhere near as bad as I think they are. My challenges have often included some form of gratitude journaling, usually via Instagram, and the small moments of delight chronicled there are every bit as real and important as the overwhelming-feeling problems. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT POINT and I need to give it more respect and energy. Here's 2020 me in period dress enjoying a truly delightful night of Victorian-era dancing a few weeks ago:

 

84951747_10220035830513477_6399520379349499904_n.thumb.jpg.2b8dd6d810da1c0e271276ee2ee8d547.jpg

 

Seriously, how can any life that includes nights like that be all bad? It can't. Life is as good as it is bad and I need to remember that.


REFLECTION 2: I also believe that my NF challenges have slowed my descent. I would be much worse off, I think, if I hadn't been struggling hard as I have been to gain some control over my life. Even if it feels like all my desperate efforts are doing nothing but keeping my head above water, that is still better than sinking. THIS IS ANOTHER IMPORTANT POINT. A rearguard action is still fighting, and it is arguably both more difficult and more important to keep fighting at that point than it is to keep pushing when things are going well. 

 

These forums have been a part of my life, on and off, for a solid six years now. I have to say I am a better person for it. That in itself is more than enough reason to keep going. 

 

In opening my very first challenge I said this: "I'm struck by the power of this simple concept; the act of publicly and specifically defining oneself is one of the most powerful steps a person can take, and the fact that a community exists to encourage people to do this is amazing. Part of me knows perfectly well that we create our own worlds with the stories we tell ourselves."

 

Still true. Still powerful.

 

Here's wishing everyone ten more years of stories and worlds. Thank you all for being a part of my crazy journey!

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hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 ]

[ Current: Misty Mountains ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]   ~   [ Books ]  

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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16 hours ago, Snarkyfishguts said:

A secret for a story, perhaps?

 

What sort of secret? How's this:

 

I really like hip-hop. Like sometimes I rap in my car like Michael Bolton from Office Space.

 

giphy.gif 

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Who am I? -- My NF Character

Current Challenge: WolfDreamer Embraces His Wild Poet

Past Challenges: 

Spoiler

Winter is ComingWolfen Strengthens His Heart, Body, Mind, and Spirit, Wolfen Becomes One of the PeopleWolfen Strengthens His ChakrasWolfen Welcomes Summer and Gets Primal, Soulcon and Spartan, Wolfen Develops Mental ToughnessWolfen Joins the Wander SocietySoulcon, Spartan, School, and Stranger ThingsWolfen Becomes a Warrior EliteWolfen Goes Here and There and Back AgainWolfen Becomes a Soulcon Warrior EliteWolfen Returns to His RootsWolfen Wanders in Soul, Spirit, and BodyWolfen Owns the DayWolfen Searches for His Wild Heart, Wolfen Runs for His LifeWolfen Hits the TrailsWolfen Becomes an Explorer and Joins the ResistanceWolfen Goes Back to the SourceWolfen Begins the Hero's JourneyWolfDreamer Returns to the People,  WolfDreamer Pushes BackWolfDreamer PrioritizesBurpees, Books, and BrainworkBurpees, Books, Brainwork, and BodyworkWolfDreamer Masters the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Continues to Master the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Returns to SpartaWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Continues His Middle Earth AdventureWolfDreamer and the FallWolfDreamer Forges His Own PathWolfDreamer Has HopeWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Reads Harder, Breathes Harder, and Journals More

I'd rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet.” -- Jack London

“I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.” -- Leo Tolstoy

"I feel love rising in my chest again
Rising like a burning sun into the day..." -- Gungor, "Hurricane"

"...wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17b

 

Link to post
48 minutes ago, oromendur said:

Thank you all for being a part of my crazy journey!

 

@oromendur, that entire post is one of the best damn things I have ever read. I am proud of you for being so vulnerable with us, even if you feel like it was just rambling or feeling sorry for yourself. You are welcome to leave long rambling emotional dumps in my inbox or on my challenge thread anytime, but I do recommend therapy. It has helped me process grief and some issues that have troubled me since childhood.

 

You are loved here, and you are safe here. Your words matter to us, and we appreciate your presence, as well.

  • Like 2

Who am I? -- My NF Character

Current Challenge: WolfDreamer Embraces His Wild Poet

Past Challenges: 

Spoiler

Winter is ComingWolfen Strengthens His Heart, Body, Mind, and Spirit, Wolfen Becomes One of the PeopleWolfen Strengthens His ChakrasWolfen Welcomes Summer and Gets Primal, Soulcon and Spartan, Wolfen Develops Mental ToughnessWolfen Joins the Wander SocietySoulcon, Spartan, School, and Stranger ThingsWolfen Becomes a Warrior EliteWolfen Goes Here and There and Back AgainWolfen Becomes a Soulcon Warrior EliteWolfen Returns to His RootsWolfen Wanders in Soul, Spirit, and BodyWolfen Owns the DayWolfen Searches for His Wild Heart, Wolfen Runs for His LifeWolfen Hits the TrailsWolfen Becomes an Explorer and Joins the ResistanceWolfen Goes Back to the SourceWolfen Begins the Hero's JourneyWolfDreamer Returns to the People,  WolfDreamer Pushes BackWolfDreamer PrioritizesBurpees, Books, and BrainworkBurpees, Books, Brainwork, and BodyworkWolfDreamer Masters the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Continues to Master the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Returns to SpartaWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Continues His Middle Earth AdventureWolfDreamer and the FallWolfDreamer Forges His Own PathWolfDreamer Has HopeWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Reads Harder, Breathes Harder, and Journals More

I'd rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet.” -- Jack London

“I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.” -- Leo Tolstoy

"I feel love rising in my chest again
Rising like a burning sun into the day..." -- Gungor, "Hurricane"

"...wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17b

 

Link to post
1 hour ago, oromendur said:

These forums have been a part of my life, on and off, for a solid six years now. I have to say I am a better person for it. That in itself is more than enough reason to keep going

 

 

Thanks for opening up to us!  

 

I used to work in higher education. You would be hired in a heartbeat. With an advanced degree and your military experience, any university would love to have you on their payroll. You've been through the really hard stuff.  

 

But it sounds like you're really figuring out what you really want. And that's really cool!

 

We're here for you!

 

 

  • Like 3
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7 hours ago, Snarkyfishguts said:

I used to work in higher education. You would be hired in a heartbeat. With an advanced degree and your military experience, any university would love to have you on their payroll. You've been through the really hard stuff.  

That's my opinion too.

 

@oromendur, thanks for sharing. Amazing story.

  • Like 3

The Wolverine - Level 5 // BER  6.5 // HEA  4 // STR  4.4 // STA  3 // DEX  4 // CON  4 // WIS  4.75 // CHA  1

He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.

Adventures don't start until you get into the forest.

Link to post
3 hours ago, annyshay said:

@oromendur Thank you for sharing! *hugs*

 

I was very wary of therapy, and I'm in a very weird season with it currently, but I can highly recommend it!

I've been in therapy and it's been helpful both times. Once I had a therapist who was a great listener and really helped me with effective strategies, and another time I had one that interrupted me and made assumptions, and that was really good for me too in regards to standing up for myself and voicing my true feelings and thoughts. And of course ending our professional relationship and finding the therapist who was helpful and a good listener! :D 

  • Like 3
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14 hours ago, oromendur said:

Seriously, she was an amazing person.

 

I miss her. A lot. 


I wish I knew how to get her to come back.

 

I don’t know if you want advice, but hey, I’m an advice machine. 

 

You can’t get back that person. That was 10 years ago, a different set of details, a different set of circumstances. But you can take the core concepts of that person—powerful, a sense of control, a sense of accomplishment in what she’s doing*—and say “okay, how do I gain the qualities I admired in that person in this life I have now?”

 

(*Or whatever it is she meant to you.)

 

And it’s possible you can’t land the academic job, but you can land something else that will pay the bills, and explore your obscure interdisciplinary knowledge self in other ways—writing freelance on the side, starting your own blog, etc. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and maybe the latter take a larger share of your life as you establish it. 

 

I’m so glad you’re here ❤️ 

  • Like 1

Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

Current Storyline: Tales of Owlshire | 0 | 1

Previous  Storyline: The Entwife’s Heart | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Link to post

So, I want to do one of these looking back 10 years posts. It turns out 10 years is roughly the amount of time that I've been doing clinical medicine, starting with my third year of medical school and taking me (finally!) to being an attending in infectious diseases. It is also the amount of time that I have spent with a certain Dragon...

 

babydragon2.jpg.3a448de98f48806ca3b66e2af9ebcb44.jpg

 

Ok, now that we got the adorableness out of the way, let's get down to business here. 

 

Winter2010Shannon.jpg.ab2840bcbf82b04c212ddfd93cb5a0bc.jpg

 

I wasn't on the nerd fitness forums yet, but I was working hard to diet and exercise. I think that's the biggest thing about it. It was so much hard work. I was struggling against my body. I was trying to control it.

 

In the years since that time...

I did four whole30s, lots of months of paleo, a few months vegetarian, and then came around to intuitive eating and giving up diets forever.

I learned to swing dance, backpacked the presidentials, hiked all over the place, injured my foot, picked up yoga, and have slowly been rehabbing my tendons.

Traveled all over the globe... the UK, Honduras, Uganda, Chile, Antarctica, the Bahamas...

I learned to cook and meditate and journal. I've started therapy three different times. I'm digging deeper into healing from childhood trauma.

I went to Camp Nerd Fitness and met Amy Clover, who has been guiding me for the past few years.

I've been with the Rangers, Assassins, Druids, and Adventurers. I've made good friends from most of the continents on the planet which boggles my mind. Some of them have even gotten phone calls from my trouble making kitten. ;)

I've moved to different towns three times and different apartments more often than that. Across the country twice. 

I've been a hobbit, Link, Batman, Wonder Woman, Hermione, a Gryffindarling, and a part of the Gaang.

I discovered 4 the words and became a writer again. I've written a book and a half!!!

 

I'm a badass, and I'm finally comfortable in my body. My body happens to be the biggest it's ever been. Seems counter-intuitive for a fitness site, but that's my story. I'm slowly learning to take up more space in this world and be comfortable with who I am.

 

Halloween2019Shannon.jpg.c83b1bccb724fbea6c12496d1e05f2ef.jpg

 

Oh, and Dragon's grown too!

 

DragonTongue.jpeg.8580be9d0097ca30c13d0cde6a8be16a.jpeg

 

Thanks for enjoying the ride with me, Rebels!

  • Like 10

Love as thou wilt.

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On 2/14/2020 at 5:05 PM, WolfDreamer said:

@oromendur, that entire post is one of the best damn things I have ever read. I am proud of you for being so vulnerable with us, even if you feel like it was just rambling or feeling sorry for yourself.

 

Thank you, Guild Leader. Your own example was one of those foremost in my mind when I was considering how vulnerable I would have to be in order to do this properly.

 

On 2/14/2020 at 6:17 PM, Snarkyfishguts said:

I used to work in higher education. You would be hired in a heartbeat. With an advanced degree and your military experience, any university would love to have you on their payroll. You've been through the really hard stuff.  

 

On 2/15/2020 at 1:26 AM, zenLara said:

That's my opinion too.

 

See, I thought this too. Despite all the dire warnings of the absolute impossibility of the academic job market in the humanities and all the overwhelming evidence supporting those warnings, I of course thought it would be different for me. I mean, I've totally got that military thing going for me, right? Surely that will mean something, right? (sigh)

 

The self-confident part of me (who is secure in the knowledge that I'm competent -- even good -- at whatever I decide I want to do) still believes it, and I'm positive that were I ever to get an interview, I'd kill it. But the truth is that institutions are getting FIVE HUNDRED applications for every open position. My CV can't compete with people who have, you know, actual publications and teaching experience, never mind degrees in recognizable fields from prestigious universities :) Couple that with my age and the fact that I have to carefully stretch my work to fit the requirements of every position, and perhaps add a dash of some of the questionable attitudes about military service at some of these institutions, I just think that my application is too easily eliminated in their desperate desire to reduce the slush pile to manageable levels. (shrug) It's not like I didn't know it would be like this. I just thought I would be an exception. It's turning out that, well, I'm not. 

 

On 2/14/2020 at 6:17 PM, Snarkyfishguts said:

But it sounds like you're really figuring out what you really want. And that's really cool!

 

Here's hoping. I'm trying hard to have an open attitude, to believe that everything works out exactly the way it's supposed to if I just let the universe do its thing without getting in the way. It's hard, though, and getting harder.

 

On 2/14/2020 at 5:05 PM, WolfDreamer said:

I do recommend therapy.

 

On 2/15/2020 at 2:49 AM, annyshay said:

I was very wary of therapy, and I'm in a very weird season with it currently, but I can highly recommend it!

 

On 2/15/2020 at 6:28 AM, Snarkyfishguts said:

I've been in therapy and it's been helpful both times.

 

The VA (where I get my healthcare -- what do other unemployed people do? ugh) is quite good about providing therapy services these days. I'm a little concerned that I don't meet their typical target audience, though -- I don't really think PTSD is my issue (at least not my main one), so I'm sure it's going to take me a few tries to find the right person. It's all too daunting a project for me to face right now, so it's just going to have to wait. After surgery.

 

On 2/15/2020 at 7:06 AM, Ann of Vries said:

I don’t know if you want advice, but hey, I’m an advice machine. 

 

I will always give ear to your wisdom!

 

On 2/15/2020 at 7:06 AM, Ann of Vries said:

You can’t get back that person. That was 10 years ago, a different set of details, a different set of circumstances. But you can take the core concepts of that person—powerful, a sense of control, a sense of accomplishment in what she’s doing*—and say “okay, how do I gain the qualities I admired in that person in this life I have now?”

 

Hm. I feel like I can't access those concepts. That's the problem. That girl would totally be "of course I can be a successful writer" and charge off to make it happen. In fact, that's exactly what she did; in my personal statement to get into the myth program I specifically referenced my desire to use the degree to establish a writing career. But I sort of feel like I burned wastefully through the spiritual energy needed to sustain her in order to get through the dissertation process, and so she just went away. Maybe all of my flailing about here over the last six years or so can be seen as attempts to sniff out new sources of that energy so she can come back.

 

On 2/15/2020 at 7:06 AM, Ann of Vries said:

And it’s possible you can’t land the academic job, but you can land something else that will pay the bills, and explore your obscure interdisciplinary knowledge self in other ways—writing freelance on the side, starting your own blog, etc. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and maybe the latter take a larger share of your life as you establish it. 

 

This is a good point, and one that others have made. And the truth is, I don't need a full career. I need to pay my bills for a bit more than a decade until my retirement kicks in. I really need to consider this carefully. But life is so SHORT and I so detest the idea of spending precious time doing something I hate...

 

On 2/14/2020 at 5:05 PM, WolfDreamer said:

You are loved here, and you are safe here. Your words matter to us, and we appreciate your presence, as well.

 

On 2/14/2020 at 6:17 PM, Snarkyfishguts said:

We're here for you!

 

On 2/15/2020 at 1:26 AM, zenLara said:

thanks for sharing. Amazing story.

 

On 2/15/2020 at 2:49 AM, annyshay said:

Thank you for sharing! *hugs*

 

On 2/15/2020 at 7:06 AM, Ann of Vries said:

I’m so glad you’re here ❤️ 

 

Thank you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for plowing through my overwrought prose, thank you for commenting so kindly, thank you for being a safe enough group that all of us can be vulnerable. I am so very grateful for your presence in my life. Even if I never post in your threads, please know I read every one of them ❤️ 

  • Like 5

hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 ]

[ Current: Misty Mountains ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]   ~   [ Books ]  

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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Hmmm, do I want to do this? Not really...but here goes nothing.

 

I have been going back and forth as to whether or not I wanted to participate in this part of the mini challenge. I could easily paint the last ten years as a glow up, where the sad, unimpressive teenager morphs into a less sad, somewhat successful adult...but, well, like is always a lot more complicated than that. I can't give an accurate representation of the last ten years without digging into reality - the stuff that lies just beneath the surface, that I like to pretend isn't there. In 2020, I am really trying to be more open about myself and my past, so I am going to drawn on inspiration from @oromendur's vulnerability, and look at where the last ten years has really taken me.

 

Me_2010.jpg.2e0d982520a1bc30e1d24d44148a731a.jpg

 

Meet 2010 Aquarii - she was 16. The smile was a mask, she was quite miserable.

 

Spoiler for length - Trigger Warning: mention of self-harm, disordered eating, depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

Spoiler

 

In the last ten years I have:

 

Healthy Eating

- Developed extremely disordered eating (never diagnosed, so I won't call it an ED, but it probably was) - first starving myself to the point of being underweight, losing my period, wrecking the health of my hair and skin, becoming anemic, wrecking my digestion, blacking out half the time when I stood up, being cold no matter what time of year it was...and more. And then switched to a binge/starve cycle where I found my way back up into a healthy weight and gaining fast - but felt sick, miserable, and guilt all the time.

- Found NF while I was still caught in the cycle, about 3.5 years ago. I did not post on the forums till I had finally broken out of it (started posting about 2.5 years ago).

- Made lots of progress with facing fear foods, eating "normally", and generally doing well again - then developed sensitivities to dairy and gluten which resulted in some rapid weight-loss while I was figuring it out and triggered a relapse in fearing food. 

- Over the last year I have really been working hard on this area and have intentionally gained weight for the first time in my life, which has been so hard, but so healthy for me. 

- Though my relationship with food is still strained sometimes, I am in a better place with it than I have been in a decade.

 

Mental Health

- Had my first anxiety attack around age 1.5 or 2ish, and had no idea what was wrong with me till I took a psych class when I was 18.

- Developed mild depression symptoms around age 11, which became much worse around age 14 - which escalated into self-destructive behavior and ultimately into suicidal ideation.

- Began self-harming about 11 years ago - was at its worst 10 years ago and 3.5 years ago.

- Quit self-harm about 3 years ago (5 months before I started posting on the forums).

- Struggled with binge drinking for about a year (not an alcoholic, just an unhealthy coping mechanism). 

- For the last 3 years, I have been working towards trying to find healthier ways of coping with depression and anxiety. I am still pretty bad at it, but at the very least I have been much better about avoiding extremely unhealthy ways of coping.

 

Fitness

- Due to not eating enough for years, I lost a significant amount of muscle. I have been on and off active for the last five years - sometimes taking a dance class, sometimes doing some weight training, sometimes cardio. It has not been consistent, so I still am not as strong as I was pre-2011.

- Until last year, exercise was mostly just about losing weight for me. Over the last year I have built a far more healthy relationship with working out, where I now do it hoping to build muscle and strength and for the way it makes me feel (stronger, more energized).

- I am still really bad at consistently working out - I think it has been about a month since I was last in the gym

 

Life 

- Graduated high school

- Performed an hour-long solo voice performance with music in four language (English, German, Italian, French)

- Graduated college with a bachelor's in Vocal Performance and minor in German Language

- Went to Germany for two months as an au pair

- Got married

- Started my first full time job (retail)

- Started my second full-time job (copywriting and research for a software company)

- Adopted a kitten my mom found on the side of the road

- bought a keyboard piano/synth ❤️ 

- have rediscovered my passion for music, which I lost sight of while in college (and didn't touch for over a year after graduation, despite getting a degree in music)

 

 

IMG_1251.jpg.05b4c8c0e4145f4fffe688d8a7456f92.jpg

 

2020 Aquarii - still struggling, but moving forward - occasionally a badass XD

 

The past few years have been a crazy roller-coaster, and a firm reminder that recovery is NOT linear, that learning how to manage mental health issues is also NOT LINEAR, and lets just add another NOT LINEAR for effect. There have been some very dark moments, some of the worst days, weeks, months, and even years of my life, but there have also been some of the most rewarding and beautiful moments of my life so far. Here's to ten years of learning the hard way, haha.

  • Like 8

Chaotic-Neutral, Elven Bladesinger (Apprentice)

Current Stats: STR 11 || DEX 11 || CON 11 || INT 15 || WIS 16 || CHA 12

Goal Stats: STR 14 || DEX 17+ || CON 14 || INT 18+ || WIS 18+ || CHA 14

"To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily; to not dare is to lose one's self". - Søren Kierkegaard

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My mini challenge—an expanded version of the one I posted on my own thread. This gets long, because the last 10 years has been incredibly eventful O_O 

 

March 2010 found me 29/30, immersed in an MMO during all my waking, non-working hours, unhappy an unhealthy work situation (harassment, being passed over for promotions after working my arse off, etc.), and occasionally forcing myself to plan a fancy wedding that would happen later that year I didn’t really want to have but my partner did. I was in a depressive funk, but I was too deep into the fog to see that it wasn’t whole world, and I could find a way out. While I had extreme repetitive stress injuries from all the time I spent in front of computers, I just didn’t care enough to do anything about it. I just gritted my teeth through the pain and carried on.

 

(I don’t seem to have any photos of myself from this time, that’s okay.)

 

By the time 2011 rolled around my MMO guild drama had exploded beyond my tolerance (and I had a lot of tolerance) and finally I’d quit playing. Suddenly, I had all this time on my hands and I didn’t know what to do with it. My then-partner sent me Steve Kamb’s viral article about traveling the world on a $400 plane ticket, which led me to the NF forums. I didn’t really want to do the digital nomad thing (although my partner was intrigued), but I like the community.

 

I styled myself as the “urban druid” and set lots of ambitious walking goals around my city. This was fine, but actually it’s easier to sit in front of a computer for 5 hours after work every night than try to get out and walk 2 hours. I fell off on tracking pretty fast, although I did still frequently go for walks. (Just not 2 hour long ones.) 

 

The next time found me in... maybe 2013? Things were looking up, it seemed. I had started my own textile arts business, quit my day job when it took off, and I’d taken my partner’s desire for home ownership as a way to get a small-holding (a very different ambition than being a digital nomad) and spring was coming and I had a goal about being out in the garden with my chickens and growing food (practical exercise) and writing stories. (Otherwise, I’d spend all my time knitting and spinning in the basement in front of the TV.) In many ways, I thought I finally had the life I wanted. But my partner was discontent, and as time passed it became clear there was little I could do to make (and keep) him happy without giving up everything I wanted to have, too. I don’t want to paint him in a bad light. I think we were both lost and confused and our unhealthy relationship was based on having someone else to cling to, but as we figured out what we wanted, we were discovering that our goals weren’t compatible.

 

The next couple of years were... ugh. In late 2014, I inevitably left my partner, and I gave up the small-holding in the process and caused a lot of disappointment in both my family and his (and many of our mutual friends). I started a serious relationship with my previously-friend that you now know as Mr. I found NF again in early 2015, and went back to my walking goals, transforming into goals of running a 5k, then a 10k. Then my former partner died in a car accident as we were trying to get our divorce finalized. I’d already given up the small holding, but under the strain of everything going on legally and emotionally I had to also give up on my art and it would be years before I could face it again. 

 

I fell off NF again at that point, but by the end of the year I had actually done two 10ks! I even ran all of the second one. Mr and I went on several trips together—San Francisco, Vancouver BC, a whirlwind tour of the UK, and the National Parks in southern Utah and Colorado, and more. Then things got rough again, when Mr’s work visa didn’t get renewed, and we had to make decisions about our future much sooner than I was comfortable with. We had a lot of the discussions one really should have before making such a commitment and in the end, I decided this really was the person I had been looking to share my life with, and I accepted his proposal and we made plans to move to his homeland, the UK a couple of months later. In some ways, I had lost everything I’d wanted, but I knew our relationship was building stronger and stable foundations to do it again.

 

(I consider 2015 to be one of the best—but also definitely the worst—year of my life.)

 

By early 2016, I had moved to London, married Mr, and re-joined NF to make more walking goals to explore the area. I was the heaviest I’d been in my adult life—not hugely so, but it wasn’t a trend I wanted to continue. I was trying to get a self-publishing fiction business going because I wasn’t yet ready to face textile arts again (PS: that didn’t pan out). But as usual, it wasn’t the walking that got me down—it was the tracking and updating!

 

***

 

In 2018 or so, early 30-something weeks pregnant with my first child, I came back to NF. I just had little goals to get myself moving after a rough early pregnancy and to keep myself from turning into a couch potato in late pregnancy and hopefully build habits that withstand the nuclear blast of new parenthood. (Ha, ha.) NF was good for me. I was still rubbish at tracking, but each time I set goals I did better than if I didn’t set goals. The Adventurers (and the sojourns I spent in the Rangers and Druids) have alway been supportive through my early motherhood while I tried to get myself back together. I got myself out of the house with my Enting in the carrier, and by his first birthday, I was slightly below my pre-pregnancy weight, and stronger than I’d ever been. (Someone here called having a baby “progressive weight training” and she was so right!) I still struggle with the RSI (neck and shoulder pain), but it gets better or worse depending on how active I am. I’m getting back into textile arts, although not yet professionally. I can carry my 13kg son around in arms or a carrier. While currently city-living, I’m hoping to have another small-holding in the near future with my also-keen partner. A lot of events from around 2015 still haunt me, but I’m getting better.

 

The last 10 years have been full of incredible ups and horrific downs, but in typing this all out I can see how far I’ve really come. I’ve grown up a lot, had a lot of new experiences, found my soul mate, and shown that I can deal with seemingly unthinkable situations and survive. (Although some experiences I really could have done without.) I’ve began to fully embrace and have the confidence to be who I am. I’ve learned that onerous metrics don’t work for me, but setting goals and keeping to the spirit of the goal makes me a better person and I set my challenges around that. I also know that making plans for 5 weeks is akin to tempting Fate, and I’m still working on navigating that. (I guess I could do battle logs instead of the challenges, but the people are here.)

 

I’m 40 now. Here’s a photo from yesterday.

 

E0F5166B-E963-4D6F-BCB8-670543452974.thumb.jpeg.06dfaf0c08701293b567a2808f67b72f.jpeg

 

Here’s to many more years of leveling up my life with NF! 

 

  •  
  • Like 8

Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

Current Storyline: Tales of Owlshire | 0 | 1

Previous  Storyline: The Entwife’s Heart | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Link to post
On 2/10/2020 at 7:11 AM, Sylvaa said:

The Sylvaa today has a lot more things together. 

 

On 2/11/2020 at 7:34 AM, WolfDreamer said:

We are happier now than we have ever been

 

On 2/11/2020 at 8:11 AM, Snarkyfishguts said:

I'm so much happier and confident.

 

On 2/15/2020 at 8:33 AM, annyshay said:

I'm a badass, and I'm finally comfortable in my body.

 

14 hours ago, Aquarii said:

some of the most rewarding and beautiful moments of my life so far

 

3 hours ago, Ann of Vries said:

I can see how far I’ve really come.

 

What an inspiring set of stories! Thank you all for sharing your journeys. You are amazing. It seems like Adventuring makes for a very interesting collection of contradictions, but we all seem pretty good at finding joy in life no matter what :) You all make me so proud to be part of this group.

 

14 hours ago, Aquarii said:

I am going to drawn on inspiration from @oromendur's vulnerability, and look at where the last ten years has really taken me.

 

Your post validated for me that the painful effort was worthwhile. Thank you for your story. You are indeed a badass, and more than occasionally :) 

  • Like 3

hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 ]

[ Current: Misty Mountains ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]   ~   [ Books ]  

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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