Thursday, December 31, 2009

A decade in review

As 2009 draws to a close, it's just occurred to me that we are ending a chapter in history with this decade. Some are calling this the worst decade ever, while others feel the opposite. I think it's a cumulation of both, but certainly for Generation Y'ers, (born late 1970s-mid 1990s), it's been quite a ride for many.

So here's a brief list of what we've seen in this decade:

9/11 and the rise in terrorism
Iraq and Afghanistan wars
Tsunamis in Asia with horribly high death tolls
Hurricane Katrina
Major financial and housing crisis, recession
Issue of global warming brought to the forefront
First US African-American President
Heightened airport security
Prominence of China everywhere
All of the political scandals and nuances of the Capitol

Human genome project and the significance of the role of DNA in a variety of disorders
Stem cell research emergence
Gene therapy promises
Rise in alternative medicine, organic foods and yoga movement

Rise in social media and networking, including twitter, facebook, myspace, and blogging that changed the way we communicate
Introduction to ipods, blackberries, and iphones which also led to increase in texting and yes sexting as well
Wikipedia, youtube, and google

Introduction to Harry Potter!
Shows Sopranos, Lost, Law and Order series, The Office, 30 Rock, and many others reigned
Reality tv took off with a variety of shows and unforgettable characters
Many prominent deaths, probably death of Michael Jackson will be most highlighted

I know this just scratches the surface, but it gives a good picture of the good, bad, the ugly, and how it has all affected us in one way or another.

Now, as for me, the decade has been a teachable one with many defeats, triumphs, and most of all self growth.

10 years ago, I was a lonely, depressed, burnt out, sophomore in college who further learned how much the eating disorder was affecting my life.
10 years ago, I got my first puppy as my own, Baxter, and started my first therapy stint in college with C. I learned that raising a puppy was tough and at times therapy even harder.
10 years ago, I was diagnosed with hepatitis B, had a biopsy, and began treatment. I learned the complex, confusing system of hepatitis B and how it can severely affect your body and mind.

9 years ago, I started my job at the kennel and began obedience with Baxter. I learned what possibilities there were with Baxter if I kept a good head of patience.

8 years ago, I did a 4-month treatment course of interferon (horrible!) and had a brief taste of what recovery was like.

7 years ago, I had non-epileptic seizures which forced me to take a medical leave of absence from college. I learned that I had much anxiety about the future, and that it was not going away anytime soon.
7 years ago, I graduated from college and had no clue what to do with my life. I learned it was really not the end of the world, something at the time I thought about.
7 years ago, I began on a path towards learning about animal behavior and becoming a trainer. I learned I was actually good at this and it could possibly be a goal for the future.

6 years ago, ED relapsed back into my life, and I thought I'd never get better; began therapy with new therapist, K.
6 years ago, I gave Hank, my Aussie X, a home after briefly being a psychiatric service dog and living in the kennel for over a year. From him, I learned about letting go of expectations in my dogs.
6 years ago, I learned that not everything was my fault

5 years ago, I learned that people were not always as they seemed

4 years ago, I adopted Daphne, my deaf white Boxer, at first a foster who became permanent. I learned a whole new language and challenged my training skills through her deafness.

3 years ago, I seroconverted and no longer carried any hepatitis B signs clinically speaking. I learned this holy grail was actually possible despite having been a chronic carrier for so long.

2 years ago, I ended therapy with K, began this blog, and decided to really put forth a true effort in recovery.

1.5 years ago, I ran my first marathon and did a second. I learned the ability and strength of my body.
1.5 years ago, I finally began making real strides in recovery and began therapy again with C. working on tough issues.

1 year ago, I found Tovah and gave her a home. I re-learned the difficulty of raising a puppy, but learned from my mistakes with Baxter.

2 months ago, I got up in front of 100s of people and did laughter yoga (this was a big thing for me!) I learned that it was possible for me to be a bit outgoing if I stopped worrying so much about what other people thought.
1.5 months ago, I bought my first house, moved to a new area, and changed jobs. I learned that though this was/is all a scary process and transition, I could endure it.

23 days ago, I learned about letting go and saying good-bye to a dear companion. I learned that my heart could be broken, but that I could be mended.
0 days ago, I learned that recovery is still reachable for me, and that I'm actually beginning to have some belief in that.

I don't know what the next decade will bring. I don't like to think in large time spans, as I know life can always throw curve balls, and it won't necessarily be what you dreamed or hoped. I don't do resolutions but instead, I like to think about the small goals I can make. Each success of a small goal makes an impact, giving me a little more self-esteem in the long run. It reminds me that deep within, there lies strength, courage, and a continued hope for a better tomorrow.

So what is your decade in review (or year)? What have you learned? What do you hope to do or learn?

Lastly, I hope for each of you, the next year and decade in coming brings about a renewed sense of hope, a ray of happiness and stability, health, and peace within yourself. Here's to 2010!

Note--*I thank all of you for your support and comments. I hope this blog has been just as helpful to you as it has been to me.


Kim said...

Wow, what an amazing recap. As much as I worry about the future, I tend to be horrible at looking back. It's hard for me to remember what happened last year let alone last decade! I think I could use a day (or two) of reflection for this kind of thing ;)
Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing post Tiptoe. It's left me gobsmacked. You have been through an epic journey in those past 10 years. I hope 2010 proves to be a good, happy and safe year for you.

Lola x

Cammy said...

Wow, a decade to remember indeed. Was it really 4 years ago that you got Daphne? I remember that clearly! Like Lola said, you have been through a significant journey over the past ten years, but I have no doubt that the next ten years hold great things for you. Your friendship has been on of the great things about my past few years, you = amazing and don't forget it!

Tiptoe said...

Thanks all. I'm hoping the next decade I will find peace within myself. I'm really beginning to think that we get better with age. ;-)

Kim and Lola, yeah, it can be tough to remember ten years. Some of those events will always stand out to me. I didn't even put in all the family and roommate stuff within that time which basically entailed a quintuple by-pass, colon cancer, melanoma, life-threatening sepsis, an alcoholic roommate who had a run-in with the law, and a roommate who treated me horribly.

Cammy, yeah, Daphne first came to m in May 2005, though officially adopted in Oct. 2006. It does feel like she's been with me longer though. I'm thinking we've known each other for about 6 years now?

Sarah said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing all of this personal information. You have been through so much and I was really interested in learning about your dog training journey.

I'm so glad that you are finding yourself in a healthier place, mentally, physically, and developmentally. You are definitely an inspiration!!

You mentioned Hank, your psychiatric service dog. I am actually considering starting the process of making Java a therapy dog; I have been researching the different certifications and the necessary training. I know she cannot be tested until she is at least 1 year old but I think she has the personality to be a therapy dog (like the saying that "therapy dogs are born, not made.") Last night in the airport, she completely freaked out barking in her bag (she never does this) and leapt out of her bag as soon as I unzipped it because she heard a little boy crying and wanted to go comfort him. I had to physically restrain her from going over to lay her head on him (something she does whenever anyone is upset.) She also seeks out people who are upset, flops into a submissive position on their laps, and lets them cuddle with her. These things alert me that there is something in her that intuitively "gets" struggle and I am now pondering what type of therapy dog she might enjoy the most--senior citizens, children, hospitals, schools, etc. I would love a post (or an email) on your experience with Hank, as I think that is a really interesting story that I just haven't heard.

I continue to think of you and pray for your healing as you remember Baxter.

I Hate to Weight said...

i can't believe you got tovah a year ago. i think that's about when i first found your blog. i bet she's a whole lot bigger now!

wow, i can't believe you were able to re-cap 10 years. great work. and you have been thru a lot.

my last ten years were very hard. i don't think i have the strength right now to think about it. lots of good change but so much loss. ah well, now is pretty good. so that's good!

happy new year to you and all your pups too!!!!

Tiptoe said...

Sarah, I'll write you an e-mail about Hank. He wasn't trained for me, but for someone else. I can tell you more about the process of therapy dog work, etc.

Yes, I do admit, when I first wrote out that post, I hadn't intended to originally share all that personal info., but it just kind of happened that way. I think I'm in a far enough place (chronologically speaking) to talk about that sort of thing.

Thanks for your thoughts about my healing and re: inspiration comment.

I Hate to Weight, yes, Tovah had gotten bigger, but she never got quite as big as I expected. That's okay though--I refer to her as my "small shepherd" as she is shepherdy looking with some other breeds in there.

Yes, it is not always easy to think back ten years, and sometimes it's not good to either. You just have to decide what is best for you. For me, it gives me a chance to see where I've been and how far I've come.