Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Normally I would avoid such a cliche and cheesy title but it's just too fitting to avoid. I keep referring to these ominous "changes" in my life. Although I tend to use this blog as a record of specific events, it seems like a reasonable way to disseminate personal information as well. So here goes.

Saturn is a powerful planet

For those of you familiar with (and who believe in) the Saturn return, you'll understand when I say that I expected this to be a transformative year in my life. I'm not sure when Saturn's effects are supposed to die down but it's certainly caused quite a stir in my 2010 thus far.

Staying power

The first big change started around the first of the year (also very near my birthday) when I came to the sudden and decisive realization that I was ready to live - and stay - in one place. Having lived abroad three times and constantly planning for more travels, many people doubted if I'd ever stop in one place for longer than a few months. But, my last bout of Argentina living was a clear sign that I was done casting about. The thought of living a portable life made me cringe; even now looking at my giant suitcase gives me a certain dread. So I resolved to come back to Seattle and Stay Put, which I did. I even bought a car.

Down and out...

But, after a few weeks all the heavy emotions attached to Seattle came back, and they were worse than ever. Why was I so unhappy? Why did I feel isolated in a city filled with family and friends? Would anything ever satisfy me? I decided to seek help in answering and hopefully resolving these issues and found it in the form of a truly incredible woman who works with the energy of emotions and aims to restore joy in people's lives.

... but not for long!

I was a healthy amount of skeptical but have long believed in the power of energy (not just ours but of all living things) and my skepticism vanished in the wake of feeling instantly better. Seattle now pulses with a welcoming energy and I feel better than I can ever remember. I won't go into more detail since it's a very personal experience and one that not everyone will necessarily believe in; I list it here because it is undeniably one of the many big changes I've undergone and which has helped facilitate other changes, all very positive in nature.

Joy Is Watching

One such change is what I like to call "Operation: Choose Joy." If you've been looking closely enough at pictures of me you'll notice that I've put on some weight in the last few years, mostly because I felt happy enough and was lazy enough to keep eating and behaving the way I had been without enacting any sort of plan to get to a more healthy place. But choosing joy means making positive and deliberate choices, which I started doing slowly and carefully about 2 months ago to find what works best without getting frustrated or giving up like I have done so many times in the past.

In the last few weeks I've started a full-fledged campaign, not just to lose weight but to feel GOOD, physically and emotionally. This time I know it will stick because I finally have the resolve, the resources, and the support to make it work and to make the changes lasting. So, look for a March 5 post (the 6 month anniversary of my first "weigh in") at which time I'll reveal my progress and future goals. For right now I want you all to know that I feel freaking FANTASTIC. I wake up every morning with a smile, and although it's been hard some days not eating certain foods, I was pleasantly surprised to open a menu the other day to a page of deep-fried appetizers and feel a little queasy looking at them.

Some things never change

I've been with the same company for over 6 years - yes, even when I was living abroad - and even though my job is awesome, meaningful, creative, all that good stuff, I was getting restless with doing the same work year after year. But I really love the company and want to continue doing great work with the organization, plus we're growing like gangbusters and it's a good place to be. So, I applied for and was offered a job in the marketing department, which I officially start on September 20. I will be responsible for most of the customer-facing writing as well as a lot of project management and who knows what else. It's a fairly undefined job with a tremendous opportunity for growth and I'm scared but excited to start. I am sacrificing some of the conveniences of my other job - no more working from home and I have to keep a fairly normal 9-5 schedule - but the chance to work in collaboration with our VPs and CEO, some of the most intelligent people I've ever known, is more than worth the adjustment.

Movin' on up

To help with this adjustment, and also since it seems like a natural and forward-moving decision at this new junction in life, I'm moving to an apartment that is much closer to the office. It was a bittersweet decision since living with K, M, and baby J (now toddler J, he can really move!) has been a treasured experience for me. Being part of their family has been immensely beneficial, for all of us, but it's time for me to grow up and forge my own life. For the first time since I sold everything in 2005 at a garage sale, I'll own furniture. My name will appear on utility bills. There will be no built-in alarm clock!

But it's a change that I get more and more excited about every day. I always loved living alone and furnishing a space is fun, not to mention having a home all to oneself. If the kitchen is messy it's because it's my mess, and if I clean it no one else will mess it up. Plus, I won't have a garden so I'll still help cultivate theirs. I'm pushing for chickens and bees next year...


I'll be on Capitol hill and the prospect of being a 12 minute walk from the office and living in a dense urban environment surrounded by everything a happening 'hood has to offer makes my toes tingle. I love the area and the building is one of those great 1920s brick affairs. I'm on the top floor, have hardwoods, built-ins, and a giant tub, as well as a dedicated remote-control access garage space (this is a serious score in a neighborhood infamous for horrid parking). The move happens October 1 if anyone feels like lending a helping hand...




Single white female

I mention this last not because it's the most important but because it is another change that bears mentioning - especially since I announced him to the world not long ago - but isn't as impactful as other things going on. Suffice to say that I am single once again. It was neither dramatic nor traumatic, and I'm grateful for the experience as a bridge from being lonely yet emotionally unavailable (though ironically it was not me who was unavailable this time - karma, you get us every time) to being a woman who makes her own happiness and will bring that joy to a healthy, mutually committed relationship.

What's next?

I've joined a gym and am getting back into swimming. I'm also going to start playing tennis with my sister Anne (if the weather will ever cooperate). I am starting meditation classes tomorrow, and I'm going to (finally!) start baritone ukulele lessons again at the end of October. I'm looking for a place on Capitol hill to volunteer and I'm in the midst of planning two vacations in the upcoming months, now that I get paid vacation time again. I'm anticipating a very full and meaningful remainder of 2010!

Are you freaked out yet?

When I started talking about some of this with my friend Meagan she had this to say: "You are freaking me out. What have you done with Elizabeth Archer?" Never fear! I'm still me. I still scowl at people who make out in public, curse at bad drivers, sleep with a teddy bear, shower infrequently, and eat (some) high-fat foods. I'm just a happier, more fully realized version of me.

I don't know when these changes will stop or at least slow down, but I have to think it's soon. I mean how much more can a girl handle in a single calendar year? Saturn, can we call truce?

(Me with a - what is that? - outside the gaming convention in Seattle over Labor Day weekend. Robyn and I couldn't resist stopping for a photo op on our urban hike that day.)

6 comments:

AmberAnda said...

Eli! Thank you so much for sharing all this. Even without all the details it sounds amazing and impacting and holistic. I am really happy for you and also inspired. These shifts in energy are a blessing and I'm glad you are taking it and running... while still the same Elizabeth, which I have no doubt about! Among the many things I want to do together when I return, let's add playing tennis and practicing uke!

Daruma-san said...

Good for you for knowing when you were ready to make big changes! <3 and support.

Ben said...

Yes, I'm freaked out.

Congrats on the new job and apartment.

Desomniac said...

Did you actually go to PAX (Penny Arcade) or were you just lurking outside?

ElizaBeth said...

Thanks for the love and support, and Ben thanks for the honesty - I promise I'll still be fun when I come to Philadelphia.

And, for the record, I wasn't lurking OR attending, just walking by when we saw these huge sculpture things (others included multiple 10-sided dice) and had to take our pictures with them.

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