Considering I had 2 periods of convalescent leave this year, I'd say there was definitely time for R&R. But beyond convalescent leave, yes there was still time for R&R. Oddly enough, my most replenishing spot wasn't my resting spot.... This year I started running. This year I also got a dog. These things were related. Greyhound are on a schedule and they need at least a little exercise every day, meaning at least a walk around the block once or twice. I'm a bit more motivated than that. Phil and I started out walking, then gradually we worked up to walking and jogging some, then we kept working till we were running pretty much a full 2 miles. Lucky for Phil, this isn't the type of running he's used to, but he trots along beside me like a trooper and comes home to pass out until dinner and after. For me, I can be having an atrocious day and going on a run clears my head. Sometimes, anger makes me run faster, which means I have a better/harder workout, which makes me feel even more proud of myself and almost completely eliminates a bad day.
As for my resting spot... I'd say Teh Cloud. I can go to bed and snuggle up with Sherpa Derpa (my sherpa blanket) and a few pillows and feel comfortable enough to sleep. After enough sleep, I'm a nicer person... which is why I would always take naps during lunch when I was at NMITC for training, you're welcome A/C school classes!! Teh Cloud is my bed and that is a place that I will spend significant monies on because I spend so much time there. Only the best sheets, blankets, and mattress for Teh Megan. I even bought a mattress pad black friday 2012 because Teh Bear was complaining that Teh Cloud was kinda hard. I didn't disagree, so I fixed it.
Sometimes, when I pre-answer questions the day before, it makes me giggle. So since I already said running and Phil... I'll have to come up with something else. Hrmmmm.... This year I (re)started going back to church. I was raised going to church every Sunday and fell from that once I hit college. I tried getting involved in Christian campus organizations and I always felt like I was on the outside. Like I wasn't "hardcore" enough to be there. When I was in bootcamp, I used going to mass as an excuse to get away from my division and I participated in the choir so I'd have an excuse to sing. Worship music is my absolute fave thing to sing... EVARRRRR. Old hymns, new praise music, Christmas music.. I love it all. While in training at VA Beach, I didn't go to church. I always had a reason. I'd think about it and then it wouldn't fit in my schedule and I didn't care. In GTMO, I started going back to mass. The church was across the street and the service was at 9. It was convenient so I went when I felt like it. In Bahrain, my work schedule didn't really fit weekly scheduled services and I probably could have made it work, but didn't. Once I got back to America though, I knew that I needed to find a church and I did. Granted, I found it due to a search for churches in the local area and by basing my wants in a church on service times... but I stuck with Lexington Park United Methodist Church because the people are welcoming and the church is involved with the community.. and there's a 9:30 praise service that I absolutely love going to.
Which leads me to my new beginning. I've started working on my relationship with God. I don't feel like I'll ever be as "hardcore" as some people are. Maybe its the repressed Catholic in me, maybe I just don't act when the Spirit moves me, either way... I'll be there swaying and singing as loud as my lung capacity allows and listening to the messages each week because I've decided this is something I should work on. There's nothing that says I have to, which makes it more rewarding.
I don't really have a need for a sitter and since I live alone, this one was a fairly easy challenge. When I sat down and thought of something I'd really like to do, my answer was easy. I wanted to clean my apartment. I don't like it when my place is messy. When things aren't in their proper place, I know my stress levels are higher. When I see stuff piling up on my table, I think to myself that those things could be put away in a few seconds. When I walk in the kitchen and see the rice on the counter that spilled out of the bowl at lunch today, I wonder why I didn't just clean it up then. Tidying up my space makes my brain feel clean.
So, I went to the kitchen.. where first I started a Honey Apple Cinnamon Pork Loin for the pot luck at work. Once I was done making a mess, I cleaned. I put away the clean dishes and put the dirty ones in the dishwasher. I wiped off my counters. I cleaned off my love seat. I gave Phil a hug. I then decided to take a break, which is what I'm doing now.
If I had days and days of free time (which I have, but don't often take advantage of in ways that I wish I did, not that I regret doing the things that I do) I'd catch up on blogs, for this blog and Phil's blog. I'd edit photos and finish vacation posts (which I'm sure Teh Bear thinks are completely irrelevant now). I'd make a list of all the music that I deleted so Teh Bear can reacquire it for me. I balance out my budget tracker. I'd become more involved with 20SB again. Maybe I'd vlog. I'd write Teh Bear love letters (because I'm horribly out of practice at that currently). And before I even got through the first task, I'd be checking FB every few minutes. I'd be checking my phone wondering if my neighbors are doing anything. I'd be planning to take Phil out for our daily walk/run. I'd probably be planning to hang out with my neighbors later in the afternoon/evening. Being alone used to be very easy, because it was really my only option since I didn't know people, but now that I'm friends with my neighbors, I enjoy hanging out with them...
Wow.. hello tangent. My bad.
OMG so much nature this year! Most of this was purposeful. After my year in Bahrain where I spent as much time inside, out of the sand/dust, as possible, and the prior year in GTMO learning what sweating actually was and that yes, you can sweat there... Coming back to the United States where the temps were reasonable meant that being outside was going to happen. For probably the first year ever, I appreciated being outside. I appreciated leaves on trees. I appreciated trees. I appreciated days where the humidity wasn't 110% outside. I even appreciated this summer when the temps were not 100°F. Despite living on the beach, I didn't actually go to the beach that much. I enjoyed my walks in the morning, looking at the beach with Phil, but I'm not a huge fan of sand, so eh. Since I took up running this year, it kinda filled the void I'd been filling in Bahrain about being outside. I did outside activities in GTMO, but most were usually water (diving) related. Running in MD reminds me of being outside in NC. There are trees and leaves and sometimes a nice wind and shade and blue skies and sometimes grey clouds and rain. Running in the rain with Phil this summer have probably been my favorite runs of 2012. Being washed clean.
Also, accepting my desire to be outside made it easier to enjoy my trips to Scotland, Australia, and the Grand Canyon and AZ and NC. When I was in Scotland, we passed a castle that I really wanted to visit and decided we'd come back to it on our way back. When we came back, it was raining and the coworker I was with was like, "Well, we don't have to go since it's raining." I shot back with, "I'm not going to melt because of some rain.. Are you?" He explained he didn't know if I was a "girly, girl" or not, but that definitely answered his question. With that, we unloaded our camera stuff, paid the admission, watched a video, I purchased a £7 umbrella, and we headed out to conquer some castle ruins. The rain ended up stopping soon after we got outside, which was good because it was really hard to handle a camera and an umbrella at the same time.
I feel like I "conquered" nature this year. I enjoy going out in the rain, I'm not worried about my hair, and I'm only slightly worried about my iPod (if I'm running). I still don't enjoy the heat or the sweating, but I won't let that stop me from having a good time. I feel like if I hadn't been accepted this mindset, outside activities like hiking at the Red Rock Amphitheater, planning a hike at the Grand Canyon, hiking the 5 mile trail at Price's Park in Boone, and even going to the Renn Faire (where the dust was unbelievably bad) would have been much less enjoyable.
This year, my morning ritual got switched up in Feb when Phil came home. Instead of just taking care of my business and going to work, now I had to also take care of Phil. This meant that I got to see lots of sunrises and see the beach almost every morning. Usually the get ready ritual just involved getting up, taking a shower, getting ready for work, taking Phil out, feeding Phil, and then heading out. On mornings there was PT, I'd take care of Phil, go to PT, then come back and take care of my stuff. After going to Scotland, I started adding breakfast to my ritual. I started bringing it to work at first, then after Australia (where I got up every morning and made toast), I came home and started making eggs and toast for myself most mornings. It doesn't actually take that long and now I've pretty much got it timed to a T. I've also taught myself how to make eggs over medium (which is runny yolk, but NO runny white), which is way harder than you'd expect.
I feel like the addition of the responsibility of Phil and of taking care of myself and eating breakfast are good things. They show growth. Also, it shows that I'm a "granny" because when I have to get up early to do these things, I usually go to bed early.
There was one day in Scotland right before we left that everyone was busy. It was the one day that I had off that no one else did. I really didn't want to waste the day, so I ventured out on my own (which apparently we weren't supposed to do, oops). I went to the Glen Levit distillery, I drove through the Cairngorms and even lot radio signal. For a while I was just riding in silence, exploring a new place, I really had no idea where I was, but counted on instincts and bad map reading to get me back to Lossiemouth. It was awesome. I wasn't scared I wasn't going to make it back, I wasn't worried I was lost, I was just completely absorbed in the adventure. I was driving down the road (on the "wrong" side of the road and the "wrong" side of the car), going where I was going. I felt at peace in those moments. It was just me and the adventure... and the feeling that I could do anything I wanted, which is completely liberating.
That guy is definitely my favorite. >>
He makes me laugh.
He makes me cry (good tears, mostly).
He makes me look forward to One Day.
He makes me practice my lessons in patience every day.
He gives me kisses.
He gives the best hugs (which has been verified by Miss Reflective).
He puts my fears to rest when they are getting the best of me.
He deals with all my crazy.
He endures plane rides frequently to give me all this in person.
He's the person I think of when I listen to sappy songs.
He makes my big comfy bed even more comfortable and warm.
He fits right in with my crazy family.
PS. I tried to fix the white boxes and it won't fix so I'm just leaving it. Sorry it looks crappy. Tell Blogger to fix their copy/paste code. :(