Good Riddance 2016: Year in Review

buhbye-2016

I’m not sad to see 2016 end.

If I could push it off a cliff I would.  I’m just so ready for 2016 to die.

But, while I’m waiting, I may as well share my year in review.

My intentions for 2016 to be a great year were solid!  Until January 2nd…

January – April

After returning from an inspiring holiday trip to Virginia to spend time with my amazing and beautiful friend for the holiday season (check out her awesome blog here) I returned home to Florida with my big girl panties pulled up and ready to kick ass.  It was a short lived effort.  I couldn’t duck from the hits coming.  I was miserable where I was living, working at a job that I didn’t like, not making enough money, unable to keep up with and pay my bills, repair my constantly breaking car or eat healthy.  Every decision I made blew up in my face.  I sunk deeper in to despair and darkness.

I turned away from my faith, my God and my church.  If I wasn’t working, I was sleeping.  I stopped working out.  Shut out my friends and family one by one.  Until finally, I decided I was going to end my life.

For a month I researched what seemed to be effective ways to kill myself that would be as painless as possible with little to no mess.  I planned it right down to a specific date.  I was ready to close my eyes and go to sleep permanently.

But there was an Angel.

And dontcha know, she just wouldn’t quit.

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(Me and Shirley, June 2016, at JP Boot Camp, Georgia)

She would constantly send me text messages containing passages from the Bible.  Or an “I love you”.  Sometimes a song.  She was always asking me to come to church with her.  This woman, she fought for me when I gave up on myself.

The week that I was planning to end my life (the same week of Easter), my Angel messaged me.  She asked me if I would join her at church for Easter service.  I told her yes; even though I knew that if everything went as planned, I wouldn’t be making that date.  I could not see what was coming or be remotely prepared for it, but it was monumental, and I’m pretty sure, calculated by the Big Guy, to occur at  very specific moment.

It was life changing.

I can’t share it just yet, but I promise I will…it’s a really good story!

So, here I am, just a couple of days before Easter and I’m realizing that I can’t go through with my plan now.  I owe it to myself to see where this new information will take me.  And now, I had a date to honor.  I was going to Church with my friend on one of the holiest days of the year, Easter, and hope that God would forgive me and take me back in to his fold.

As we stood side by side during services my Angel raised her hand behind me and prayed over me.  I could hear the faintest of whispers coming from her lips, and while I knew she was praying for me, I couldn’t make out her pleas.  I may not have heard her words, but I sure could feel the energy and love emitting from her body, surrounding me and I began to sob as I silently asked God to forgive me.  To take me back.  To make he his.  I asked to be saved from the pain and the burden that weighed me down.  That was the moment that I knew I had to leave Bradenton.  Take one more chance.  Another risk.

Start over.  One last time.

At the end of March, I packed my things and moved to Jacksonville.  No place to live.  No job.

Scary.  As.  Shit.

April – October

I landed in Jacksonville on a Saturday afternoon and for a month stayed with a friend.  Two days after arriving I went to a job fair and landed an interview with a company I was familiar with.  It was hard, manual labor in a warehouse, but I didn’t care.  I just needed a job where I didn’t have to think.  Ironically, I interviewed on my birthday and was hired on the spot.

Now, living in Florida and working in a warehouse…yeah, it’s hotter then Hades.  I didn’t care.  It was physical and mindless.  I liked that.  At the end of the day, I clocked out and left it all behind.  I made some great friends there and I still see them regularly.

Now, my Angel wouldn’t have me living in a huge city where I didn’t know someone, so she connected me to her nephews wife, Melissa.  She is an awesome person and we hit it off right away.  We joke about the first time we met; how we were set up on a “blind friend date”!  Best ever!  She teaches me how to nurture my crafty side and encourages me to have fun with it and make her do kettle bell swings, burpees and push ups.  We both love a lot of the same things and she keeps me grounded.  I smile when I think of her, she’s another Angel ❤

I digress…

With a little help from my favorite Aunt, I rented a room in the city of Jacksonville.  I was super excited because I felt like I was finally getting back on my feet.  Making a little bit of money.  Getting my bills paid.  Renting a space of my own.  A stepping stone to eventually moving in to my own place.  I really liked the lady who was renting the room too.

I rented some bedroom furniture and moved in with her in the middle of May.  Things would be great…for about a hot minute.

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(Tippy on the steps of the “crazy” house)

A couple weeks after moving in to the “crazy” house I took a new job at the double the salary.  No more hot warehouse and 12 hours of standing on my feet packing boxes.  I would be back in my old niche as an Office Manager able to bring Tippy to work every day.  Bonus.  However, the sense of stability wouldn’t last long because it turns out that the Owner can’t keep an Office Manager longer then two months because he thinks it perfectly acceptable to threaten their job when he doesn’t get his way.  I think he was colluding with land lady!

About the same time I switched jobs the lady of the house started showing that she wasn’t as nice as she portrayed herself to be prior to my moving in.  The situation was so bad and so unwelcoming, that I was spending weekends at Melissa’s and eventually had to hire an attorney to get out of my lease early.  Best money I’ve spent in long time.

I found a beautiful town home in the Mandarin neighborhood of Jacksonville, signed the lease and was ready to take occupancy in August.  I moved in to a 2/2.5, 1200+ square foot home with just a couple of things, but I didn’t care.  I was going to make it work.  Figure it out.  It was a long time coming to finally arrive in a place to call home and establish roots.

October – December

I left a superbly crappy living situation, an equally shitty job and began to settle in to my new home and a new (temporary) job with the local school district.  I loved being with the kids, but the pay wasn’t there, nor was the job.  As I began searching, yet again, for a job with better pay, we were about to get our asses kicked by Hurricane Matthew.  I’m sure you’ve heard about it?  Big, giant hurricane, killed a bunch of people from Haiti all the way up the coast to the Carolinas?  Yeah, that little thing.

I’ve seen shows about hurricanes, or watched the news from New York when they were happening in Florida, but this would be my first exposure to one and it I was legit, scared out of my mind.  I decided to evacuate to Lake Mary and be with my framily.  While I was there I started to think about all the jobs that would come available to help with the aftermath of the disaster.  I knew I wanted to help those affected by the hurricane so I started searching right away.

When I returned home three days post Matthew, I was so sad to see my community just completely beat up from the storm.  I can’t explain how dreary it all looked.  The magnitude of loss people were facing.

And as God always provides just when the time is right, I landed in my current job working for an all female owned and operated restoration and reconstruction company.

Although I’m in the office most days, I have been able to help, console and counsel people who have suffered significant loss because of the Hurricane.  Not to mention, that I love the ladies I work with and our pets come to work every day.  That’s three chiwahwahs and a super cool cat that I swear was once a human.  It’s good.  Really good.

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(Tippy and Sherlock, working hard)

For Thanksgiving, I got to celebrate with my amazing friend, Tamaria, in Virginia.  I love this girl.  She’s the salt of the earth.  We talked.  Did a 5k on Thanksgiving morning (she wrote about it here) and then enjoyed a super yummy and healthy dinner.  After, she tried to educate me on Black Friday.  I still don’t get it, but I had a great time!  And I got to make her laugh, which is always a bonus.  I miss her terribly, but she’s a short flight away and we will see each other very soon.  We gots mad plans for 2017!

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(Me and the Amazing Tamaria just before the Prince William Turkey Trot 5k)

After returning from Thanksgiving I would be facing a big challenge.  Running my first Half Marathon.  A goal that’s been on my list for two years now.

Did I have enough training?  Hell no.  That got interrupted by that pesky Matthew and long  7 day work weeks.

But I was determined to lace up my Brooks and get that bitch done!

It wasn’t pretty, but I accomplished my goal and I am damn proud of myself!  I couldn’t have done it without Melissa.  She cheered me on through motivational text messages after she completed her 5k and she was there at the finish with hugs and congratulations.  Me and her, we got some runs planned for 2017!  It’s going to be epic!

(Me and Melissa just before the Half start and me after the race with my medal)

And here we are, December 31st, 2016.  On the precipice of another New Year.  It’s time to evict 2016.

It’s time to move forward and focus on goals and growth.  No looking back.  Eye on the prize.

I’m waiting for you 2017.

Until next time…

Love, Jeni ❤

 

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