Today marks one day to the year that I started this blog. I still remember sitting on my loveseat in my studio apartment on East Sixth in Austin last summer, setting this up so that my friends and family could keep tabs on what I was doing on my summer away.
I never expected that, one year later, I'd be living in Austin full-time and still blogging. I never expected that I wouldn't return to my life as an insurance lawyer in Des Moines, that I'd be taking real estate classes and contemplating graduate school instead. I never expected a lot of things to turn out as they did, but that shouldn't surprise me. I didn't expect my husband to die suddenly either. When will I learn to stop expecting anything?
It's interesting to go back and re-visit where I was emotionally a year ago, and the things that were going on in my life. You can look at last May's posts at:
Last May, I indicated that I started this blog, in part, to share my feelings and progress with those who cared about me. I was honest about the fact that it's easier to write about my feelings than to talk about them. I still think that's true, but I'm getting better. The blog has helped break down those walls, and so have some of my family members and friends.
When I started this blog, I wrote about how I was taking a few months to not have or follow a "plan" for my life and career. I'm only now starting to formulate a new plan, though I'm much more fluid in my approach -- I don't think I'll ever again pretend to plan things years in advance as though I could know what lies ahead. A year ago, my plan was still to go back to the life I'd made -- or, more accurately, what was left for me of the life Brian and I had made -- in Des Moines. I didn't realize how I would fall in love with this city and just how right it would feel for me to live here. So much for that plan.
A year ago, I wrote about discovering the Congress Avenue bridge -- and the bats that call it home -- while out for a run around Lady Bird Lake. Now, that bridge is a short walk or run from my place; I run under, walk over, and drive over that bridge several times each week. I had just started running for the spring season. Since then, I've done two half-marathons and several shorter road races -- a major milestone for someone who was used to having her husband waiting at the finish line every time. I likened grieving to marathon training or a long run. I know that, one year later, I'm much further along in my journey, but I'm still running that course.
Last May, I helped some of my Boka relatives move into a new house. I wrote about how it was bittersweet, how Brian and I had planned to buy a bigger and better home in 2011. I thought about how it was going to be us moving, if life had gone according to plan (there I go with plans again...). I wouldn't have imagined that I would, in fact, move a thousand miles away; I had no inkling that it would be my dad and me driving a rented moving truck full of furniture and kitchen stuff all the way down I-35 in mid-December.
Last summer, I was obsessed with Austin and all it had to offer. This May, I'm happy to say that I still am! Two of the places mentioned in my posts from a year ago -- Guero's and Jo's (where I took a picture of one of the actors from Friday Night Lights) are actually now just a quick walk from my apartment.
Then, I mentioned some of the new friends I had made in Austin -- Bonnie, Clint, and Kristen. I am still great friends with all of them, I'm happy to say. I have plans to see all of them in the next 48 hours, in fact. Kristen and Bonnie have both been lucky enough to cat-sit for me when I've been out of town (Clint is out of town more than anyone I know, so I wouldn't even think of asking him). One of my good friends, Hart -- who was Brian's best friend for 25 years -- had met Kristen in Las Vegas 5 years ago, which is part of how we got to know each other. Hart recently visited me in Austin and had a great time re-connecting with her. I also wrote about my friends Erin & Chad -- a couple from Des Moines who were about to move to Austin. They have settled in Austin nicely and I still see them on a regular basis as well and they have further expanded my social circle in Austin. I'm so thankful to have them as a part of my new life down here!
Last May, I mentioned going to a club called Antone's to see the band Cowboy Mouth. That was last May 13. This year, on May 13, I'll be going to Antone's to see...you guessed it, Cowboy Mouth! (Incidentally, it was at this show last year that I first met "Antonio," aka Sheldon, who is now my boyfriend -- also something I would not have predicted!)
Last May, I wrote about my housewarming party, to which I invited all the people in my building. I'm still friends with some of those people. In fact, I recently ran a 10k with the guy who was my upstairs neighbor last year, and he brought me a lovely potted plant for a housewarming gift when I had my housewarming party this February at my apartment. To be honest, a year ago, I could barely keep a plant alive -- now I have a total of seven healthy plants in my apartment!
Nearly a year ago, I wrote a post about how I was adjusting to life without Brian. It was still pretty new for me at the time. I'm more used to that now, I guess, so it isn't as difficult. Last May, I was still struggling to even accept that he was gone. It still hadn't soaked in. Now, I accept it. I still don't understand why, and I am working on that -- but the reality of the situation has certainly made itself clearer. As I predicted, I am not "over" Brian's death -- and I don't believe I ever will be -- but I am more used to living without him. Of course, that doesn't mean I don't miss him. Today, in fact, I cried a lot thinking about him and missing him and the life we had. However, days like that are much fewer and farther between than they were a year ago. A year ago, my bad days outnumbered my good ones. Now, the good outnumber the bad by a long shot.
Here's hoping tomorrow is a good day...and I think it will be.