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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » Happy Birthday to me! (A Landmark Thread) (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Happy Birthday to me! (A Landmark Thread)
xnera
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One: the universe's punching bag

It is ten o'clock in the morning on a Friday. I just arrived at work an hour ago, but I am already on my way back home. And I am crying in frustration.

I've just been fired for the second time in a row.

The circumstances this time were different. Yes, there was some depression that interfered, but it was not nearly as bad as it had been the last time this happened. Not only was I actually doing my job, but I had been straining to do it as well as I could. I had even been staying after I punched out so I could finish up a project.

I could pride myself in knowing that I had done the best that I could. I could take comfort in the fact that this job was simply not a good fit. There was no shame in that.

Yet I felt shamed. I'd been fired twice. What did that say about me? Would I never be able to be successful at work, like a regular person? Was I doomed to bounce from one job to another? Would depression and bad choices rule my life forever?

It was not surprising that I did fall back into depression. I felt like I was repeating feelings, that everything would turn out bad, that I had lost all the progress I had made over the past few years.

Darkness.

But some of the strength I had learned. The worst of it would pass in just a month and a half, rather than the six months it had taken me last time. I spammed and spammed my LiveJournal, letting my emotions and feelings come to surface rather than stay buried, and using it as a way to stay connected with friends and keep me actively seeking a job. I wasn't being a lump on a log, or sleeping for hours at a time. I was processing emotions, and healing, and doing what needed to be done to take care of myself.

But things were rough. Really rough. I hadn't worked longed enough to qualify for unemployment this time around, and so I had no money coming in.

And I had no money saved to rely on.

I fell behind in payments. The credit union called my sister and my parents. That was when I finally told my parents that I had been fired. I hadn't wanted to tell them, because I was sure they would be upset and disappointed, and I could not bear that right now.

My parents brought me current on my condo. I knew it needed to be done, but I wasn't too happy about this.

I began to get exhausted. Too many things were happening at once. My prozac ran out. I was struggling with the hierarchy of needs. And I found it hard to move forward, because I was content with where I was.[/url] I was making new friends, though I was still suffering from stroke deprivation. And I was finally burying myself in words, and returning to old interests, including programming.

I was happy. Happier than I'd been in ages. And I feared that a job would threaten that happiness. I went on an interview anyway, but it was for a position that was NOT a good fit at all, at a company WAY too far from home.

Although I was trying to ignore it, the money situation was getting worse, and I had to scramble to get enough gas to go on an interview.

My phone was turned off. And I was running out of food. After struggling with emotions for several days, I took myself to a food bank.

I took myself over to my parents house to ask for money for the phone. It was obvious to all of us that I had to find a job as soon as possible. Dad said his employer was often hiring, and would I be interested? I was. The next day, I received an urgent email from dad: they had an opening! The day after that I was interviewed and offered the position, which I accepted. And then I went to see Harry Potter. [Big Grin]

I started work the next Monday. It was not an easy transition. And I wasn't out of the woods with the finances, either. Things were improving, but they just weren't fast enough.

The first month and a half of work were boring. I wanted my life back. I was feeling depressed again.

I defended the true definition of "meme". [Big Grin]

I almost had my electricity turned off. And someone stole my Kleenex at work! [Mad]

I had a vacation cancelled on me, and was forced to see the truth of my financial situation. I asked for advice and made a tough decision.

I received a very upsetting letter from my sisters, telling me of unpleasant things I did not want to hear.

Nocturne_Alley, a Harry Potter RPG which had provided me with lots of fun, laughter, and insights about writing and myself, was ending. I was crushed.

I had more stress added on top of all the stress I already had. I felt like I was being hit at from all sides. I changed my name on my journal to "the universe's punching bag."

And all this? Only four months of my life.

I was twenty-nine, and my life was a whirlwind.

[ September 15, 2004, 02:47 PM: Message edited by: xnera ]

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Farmgirl
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Wow- Karen -- this is really good writing! I just now finally got done reading all of them (I hadn't read since Five). I especially loved your Four -- about the marathon -- that makes me have tremendous respect for you that you were able to do that. What a great goal, and I am so in awe of your ability to carry through and complete your goal!

((xnera))

Farmgirl

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xnera
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Happy Birthday to me

We like to assign meanings to numbers. Threes and fours abound in mythology. Seven is a lucky number. Three sixes, the sign of the devil.

One thousand posts is a landmark. And thirty, the start of a new decade.

There is nothing inherently special about these numbers themselves. Nothing physically happens at 1000 posts, other than the system requires one more decimal to display your post count. You're not suddenly imparted with knowledge at age thirty, and the heavens do not open to sing you a chorus of praise. Life doesn't work that way. Sure, there are eureka moments when knowledge comes in a flash, but for the most part, it is a slow, painful process. Sometimes, you've got to hear the same words over and over, or experience the same lessons repeatedly, before it finally sinks in.

No, there is nothing special about these numbers, other that the meaning we assign to them. But these meanings can make the numbers very special indeed.

I've come a long way from the girl that I was ten years ago. I'm no longer afraid of life, or of living. I no longer follow or fall into doing what others want me to do. Not nearly as much as I used to, anyway. Now, I do what I like. I follow my passions. I'm more myself than ever, and this has brought happiness to my life. Happiness in the form of hobbies that are uniquely my own, and that speak to my soul. Things like the writing of Joss Whedon, or the music of Nobuo Uematsu, or the interactions on LiveJournal, or fanfiction and AIM chatbots. It's come from the folks I have chosen as friends, who have been my shoulder to cry on and my fellow fan to squee with. My parents and sisters are the family of my blood, but my friends are the family of my heart.

I used to compare myself to everyone around me. My sisters most of all. I was the odd one of the family. The different one. What I was doing Wasn't Right. Now, I have accepted myself for who I am, and although I sometimes get frustrated that I can't quite relate to my sisters, I know my lifestyle choices are valid.

And I know that I am always where I need to be in life. I am no longer champing at the bit, waiting for life to happen. I've acquired patience and faith. I have faith that no matter how bad life gets, it will always, somehow, work out in the end. And that is a comforting thought indeed.

One of the Nocturne Alley players said that although the ending of the game was sad, it was also satisfying because it was done. It was complete. And that's how I feel about the past ten years of my life. It was a time of tremendous self-growth. I learned so much. Sometimes, I don't think I really started learning anything until after I graduated from college. That's how much the past seven years have meant to me. So I feel great satisfaction in closing the cover on the book of my twenties, knowing that it wasn't just idle time and meaningless tasks, but a life with meaning. A life with story.

And now I open the cover of the book on my thirties, and I'm eager to see where the story goes. What lessons will I learn in the next ten years? How will my body change? What experiences will I have? Who will I meet, and who will I lose? Maybe I will find love, or finally write that novel, or become financially solvent again. Maybe I will do another marathon, or travel to Alaska, or have some other grand adventure. There are a thousand, thousand possibilities, and each hold the promise of being a special part of the book of my thirties. I'm eager to see it all, but I'm also content to let the story unfold as it will.

And I am sure that Hatrack will be a vital part of that story. It's been a part of my life for over seven years. Yeah, it took me this long to reach a thousand posts. *laughs* I was a lurker for a <i>very</i> long time. And I'm not always around. There have been times when I have stopped lurking for months at a time. But I always return, because this place is a piece of home to me. Even if I have a low post count for my forum age. [Big Grin]

Today I turn thirty. And my life--it's just beginning.

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katharina
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Holy Cow. I think this is one of my favorite landmarks. This is great. [Smile]

And Happy Birthday, Sunshine. [Smile]

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BannaOj
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*hugs xnera* Yup one heck of a landmark, I've looked forward to each installment even when they made me sad. You are a wonderful friend and I'm glad to know you.

AJ

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Christy
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Woo-hoo! Happy birthday! A blank page with a tried and true heroine. Let the adventure unfold!

Happy birthday!

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Amanecer
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Happy Birthday!!!! [Party]

This is an aboslutely AMAZING thread! Thank you for sharing!!

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larisse
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Happy Birthday, Xnera!

I just wanted to let you know that I've enjoyed both your story and how you've told it.

Now you know, it's the person with the birthday who's supposed to get the present and not the other way around. But, you have definitely given us an amazing gift with this thread. This thread is so very worthy of Landmark status.

{{{Xnera}}}

[Party]

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Corwin
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Just wow...

And Happy Birthday !
[Party]

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kyrie
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happy birthday [Smile]
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Speed 2: Cruise Control
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Wow, you're almost exactly one month older than me. I had no idea we were that close together. Happy decade. Hope the next one is most grand. [Smile]
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blacwolve
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I never realized you were this amazing of a writer. Happy Birthday!
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Goody Scrivener
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Happy happy birthday Xnera!!!! I've enjoyed getting to know you a bit through your landmark posts and can't wait to meet you in person next weekend!

Goody

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xnera
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And that concludes the landmark-y portion of this thread. [Big Grin]

It feels weird to make a normal post under this handle now. I was getting used to posting as my ghost. *giggles*

I liked the idea of landmarks ever since they became a tradition. So I really have been writing it in my head for over a year. [Big Grin] I think it was about six months ago that I realised I would hit 1000 around my birthday, and that was when I decided doing a retrospective of my twenties.

I'm glad everyone enjoyed it. But I think I was mostly writing it for myself. I wanted to do something special to mark this birthday. For a while I had considered hiking the Illinois portion of the ADT, but then life and weight gain interferred. It pleases me that what I ended up doing was writing, which is the very thing that I have wanted to do for the majority of my life.

But oh, I am glad it is over with and that I no longer have it hanging over my head! I've made a decision to not worry about post counts anymore, and to just go ahead and POST if I feel like it. Who knows if I'll ever do another landmark. Right now, I'm not planning on it, but that may change. We shall see when 2000 rolls around.

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pooka
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Happy Birthday! My 30th was in the year 2000, and I guess my childhood assumption that time would stop at that point was never really challenged by anything more logical. Great landmark. And very well structured... by the time I got to the end I actually checked most of your livejournal links (though the bad letter from your sister on is protected). If you had just started of the bat with that, I have to confess I don't think I would have read as many. But you've got me in stalker mode now. [Wink] [Wink] [Wink]

Also, I had a hard time finding the thread because I was looking for a number followed by a subtitle. I guess that's one way to make sure only desperately curious find you. [Party]

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xnera
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Haha! That's funny about the number. But how would it be numbered now? Zero? Um, no. Am not a zero. [Big Grin]

The link thing was very much a whim. I had gone looking through my journal's calendar to find the exact date I had been fired. And then I started reading the thing, and that was that. [Big Grin] It wasn't planned at all. But I had fun rereading the posts and seeing just all that was happening.

You should have access to read the post about my sister's letter now, though you'll need to be logged into LiveJournal to do so.

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