The Night Is Dark And Full Of Sparkles: Overwhelmed

Tyler Knott Gregson poem

It’s the end of the school year and I’m burnt out, overwhelmed, tired, and emotionally exhausted. This school year has been so hard. When I walked into class on the first day of school, I was excited for my husband to come home, excited to build a life in Ridgway, and excited to learn how to teach. When I walked into class on the second day of school, I was exhausted, sad, heartbroken, confused, and unsure of what would happen next. Being single again, suddenly, was not how I’d expected to start the year.

I hiked my way to sanity in the fall, perhaps at the expense of really learning to teach although I think teaching was the only job that I could have made myself really show up for each day. My students made me laugh when all I wanted to do (if I couldn’t be on the trail) was go home, crawl in bed, cuddle Sprocket and cry.

As winter set in, I didn’t do a very good job of getting outside. I didn’t do a good job of exercising. In fact, a lot of the time, I didn’t do a very good job of feeding myself. It meant long gaps with nothing to blog about because how many times could I tell the story of how I spent my weekend watching bad TV in bed working on a quilt because anything else just sounded like too much. I didn’t want to write about how I fretted about how my one year teaching contract ending and where I was going to be for the 2015-2016 school year.
And ultimately, I was just sad. A lot. I was also angry: a little bit at my ex and a lot at myself.

Sprocket cuddles

I’d written back in January about being so hopeful for 2015, proclaiming #thenightisdarkandfullofsparkles to be my mantra. It’s still true: the night is still continuing a bit, even if the dark of winter is fading (and hopefully the metaphorical dark is fading too). But you know what? It’s still full of sparkles. And I’m ready to start bringing the light.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Plus, in just over two weeks, it’s summer. My calendar is filling up with awesome fun events—many of which involve hiking and being outside. There are lots of things I have planned with just Sprocket and I but a lot where I get to meet up with some awesome people. I’m not going to be in Ridgway next year and that breaks my heart. But. I do have another teaching job lined up here in Western Colorado and I’ll just keep moving forward.

(I wrote this post during lunch. And then I realized there was no time like the present to start bringing the light so I took myself, and Sprocket, out for a hike after school. It was the best.)

The Night Is Dark and Full of Sparkles

I’m not a person who really looks forward to New Year’s Eve. This year I was mostly excited to have a chance to dance the night away with friends here in Ridgway but by mid-morning on the 31st, I had worked myself into a downright melancholy mood. Sometimes I just can’t understand how I’ve ended up here, just me and Sprocket against the world. I can’t understand how I lost a love that meant the world to me. And reflecting on 2014 wasn’t helping.

Sprocket in bed

I’d written about how 2014 was a year with amazing highlights and also a year that completely knocked me on my ass at times but I don’t think I’d really ever considered that 2015 was a new year. While relaxing in my bed with Sprocket, I found a New York Magazine advice column that make me stop and think about things a little differently.

I’ve always found it silly to make resolutions or consider the new year a time to make changes but there I was reading this article and getting excited about what was coming down the pipe for me in 2015. The change from 11:59pm December 31 to 12:00am January 1st was starting to mean something to me.

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The whole thing is amazing so you should run over and read it right now if you didn’t already check it out but it was this paragraph that first grabbed me and pulled me in:

“At times like this, though, it’s important to know WHAT MAKES YOU SO SPECIAL. You can’t just have a vague idea. You have to know exactly who you are and what you believe in. You have to know how you want to live, even if it is all a big nothing. That takes time.”

That’s been my exact journey this fall. I’d forgotten how damn awesome it is to be me. I forgot that I’m a delightfully sassy person who is totally whip-smart and can accomplish anything that I put my mind to. I’d sort of forgotten how it felt to be a good friend and a good family member. I forgot how awesome it was to chase my dreams.

“Make that your work now: Finding sparkles. Suffering opens a direct path to sparkles. That’s what the jingles don’t tell you. Heartbreak and loss bring their own kinds of sparkles. Admitting that it’s all a big nothing brings sparkles. If it’s all a big nothing, what is left?”

So that’s the plan. 2015: you’re the year of the sparkles. As a friend put it New Year’s night: The Night Is Dark And Full of Sparkles. I’m excited to tackle my goals and continue to make forward progress into my future. I’ve got trips in the works and good things are happening. The night might be dark but damn if it’s not full of sparkles.

Heels in the snow

So as I counted down the last seconds of 2014 surrounded by friends, neighbors, and strangers I found myself tearing up. I felt that catch in my throat as I shouted, “3,” and thought a bit as I said, “2,” and laughed as I almost cried at “1,” at “Happy New Year,” however, I made my way into 2015 with kisses, hugs, and laughter.

Cuddled in bed with Sprocket for my first sleep of 2015, ready to embrace the sparkles:

“Here’s to the things we’ve never had a chance to say to each other. Here’s to the things we never tried. Here’s to the sparkles that we didn’t notice. We were surrounded by sparkles this year, but most of the time we couldn’t see them.

We can’t do everything. But let’s find more sparkles next year, okay? Let’s look very closely, and notice them, as much as we can.”

Goodbye 2014

2014.

Wow. You sort of kicked my butt all over in awesome ways and some pretty horrible moments.

January:

Spent sometime in the Yuma area and visited Los Algodones, Mexico. Hiked Signal Peak which wound up being one of my favorite hikes of the year. Competed in Columbia Sportswear’s #omnigamesand won.

Season 4 at Deer Valley Press Conference

February:

February was all about Arizona adventures. We spent some time exploring the Sierra Anchas which definitely a highlight.

Parker Creek Canyon

March:

March included some more exploring of Northern Arizona and New Mexico. We wandered through some beautiful places.

April:

April was all about JORDAN. I mean, how lucky am I?

Beth in Jordan

Photo: M. Going, Columbia

May:

May was a month of upheaval. We started out in California but ended up being in Oregon. Rolling with the punches was the name of the game.

Seed Tree

June:

I got to run in Rainier To Ruston again this time with a three person team instead of our usual four person one! I (sort of) learned to ride a motorcycle. I also was a bridesmaid in Stacia and Andrea’s wedding.

Stacia's Wedding

Amanda Summerlin Photography

July:

I did some hiking in Oregon but most importantly, I got to move back to Ridgway, Colorado.

Colorful Colorado

August:

August started out on such a high of being a new Colorado resident and heading off for lots of fun at Outdoor Retailer. The stoke continued with a fantastic trip back exploring Utah and Colorado with Sprocket. I added to my list of Colorado County Highpoints with Montrose County’s Castle Rock. The month ended with a mix of excitement about my new job and the heartbreak of ending my marriage with Forrest.

Cliffs near Storm King

September:

Although September was a tough month, it was epic enough that it qualified for a wrap-up of its own. I floated the Gunnison with friends and Sprocket. I climbed Wilson Peak (a 14er and San Miguel County Highpoint), Uncomphagre Peak (a 14er, Colorado’s 6th highest mountain, and Hindsale County Highpoint), Mt. Lamborn (Delta County Highpoint), and Leon Peak (Mesa County Highpoint). I bought a lot in Ridgway and celebrated with Sprocket. “I Am #omniten” debuted on YouTube.

Trail selfie

October:

Kristin came to visit and we hiked Courthouse Mountain and visited Telluride. #damselNOTindistress was in full swing. I drove to Joe’s Valley to go bouldering with Josh, Andy, and Steve.

 Courthouse summit selfie

November:

November had a lot more #damselNOTindistress-ing. I finally climbed Precipice Peak. I saw Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell in concert at the Wright Opera House. Had a lovely snowy afternoon walk on Piñon Mesa. I traveled to Connecticut for Lucy and Franz’s wedding.

Late afternoon. Early winter.

December:

I got my first Christmas tree in three years! It was so much fun to make cookies, decorate a bit, and send out Christmas cards.

Bailey's Christmas Bow

Bring it 2015. I’m so excited for my best year yet.

What A Month!

One month ago, I walked into a classroom and stood in front of the room for the first time. I’d had plenty of 1st Days as a student but this was the start of a new career and a new life in Ridgway. That afternoon, I found out I was getting divorced.

According to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, I should be set to have a heart attack any minute since a score of 300+ on their inventory leaves you with a 90% chance of an illness or “blowing up.” I took the inventory and scored over 400…

In contrast to getting sick or blowing up, however, I’ve done my best to readjust, reset, and begin again.

I bought land here in town and began to dream of what my house should have and how it might look. (Perhaps another stressor but I do love dreaming of a new home and scheming how to make it happen.)

DSC_0049

 

I’ve climbed mountains: a 14er and a couple county highpoints plus made dreams and plans for so many more. I’ve hiked with friends and have plans on the calendar for a Joe’s Valley trip and at least one more friend hike in the next month.

I’ve began to settle into my rental and do some work on it in exchange for rent. (Follow my adventures in single gal renovation on Instagram and Twitter at #damselNOTindistress.) I’ve had a friend visit me for a change and there’s another one scheduled to arrive a week from tomorrow.

Ridgway Fall Festival

I’ve caught up with old friends on the phone and found myself active on Twitter and Instagram again. I have had more emails, Tweets, texts, Facebook messages, and phone calls of love and support than I would have ever imagined.

There have been evenings spent with lovely diverse Ridgway friends in their homes, in the park, on the river, and at Colorado Boy.

A film starring me and nine amazing friends debuted on YouTube. (Both the premiere with commentary and a version with just the gorgeous film are online now!)

It’s been hard: moving, a new job, divorce, friend making, and renovating all at the same time. I haven’t had much time to post here but I will get that scheduled in again soon.

But you know what? I’m smiling.

DCIM100GOPRO

Almost 29 and Looking Forward

The last six months has been a whirlwind of working various jobs while moving towards the ultimate goal of permanently being able to call Ridgway home. To make that happen, we took a camp host position in California but when that didn’t meet expectations, we headed for Oregon. In Oregon we spent way too much time commuting or traveling for work.

Being offered a job in Ridgway was a huge relief: I would be learning a new career and we’d be doing the work of establishing ourselves somewhere for good but it was work I looked forward to. The last two years of being semi-nomadic have been really hard on me. From the day my parents brought me home until I left for college I only lived in one house. My family had birthday and holiday traditions that meant the world to me and I looked forward to establishing some in our home—the instability of the road wasn’t conducive to that happening. I missed having friends I could go visit and get some much needed non-relationship support. Pulling into Ridgway with Forrest at the end of July, I was so hopeful.

On the very first day of my new job, my hopes were dashed. Our six year relationship was over. While occasionally tumultuous, I learned a lot about different ways of looking at the world while we were together. This is not what I’d have ever hoped for but I wish Forrest the best as he takes the next stops in his life.

Next Sunday, I turn 29. Instead of spending my last year of my twenties preparing to build a home with my husband, I’ll be relearning to live on my own. I’ll be chasing goals that had become less of an emphasis when I was part of a couple. I’ll be working on building my own life here in Ridgway. I love blogging here at 3Up Adventures and look forward to sharing my journey with you all.