Holistic Wellness, Slowing Down & Reflecting

I was fortunate enough to spend a recent day and a half at a holistic wellness retreat. It was exactly what I needed: some “me time,” time out in nature and a chance to slow down, step back from all my stresses, and reflect on my life, present and future.

I won the chance to attend this retreat through Labor-Management Healthcare Fund. They host various retreats annually at Beaver Hollow Conference Center, which is roughly 45 minutes from Buffalo, NY. I’ve actually never entered before and was pleasantly surprised when I learned that I’d won this one! Everything was included and best of all, free!

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In the Midst of My Invisalign Journey

As my Timehop reminded me, one year ago today, I started on my Invisalign journey with my initial consultation. After years of being told by dentists that I needed braces and should really consider them, I finally found myself in a place where I was able to do so.

For the record, it’s not that I never wanted braces, but orthodontics are, well, expensive. Not everyone can afford them and they can certainly be seen as a luxury! A few years ago, I got a price quote on Invisalign from my dentist (who only does Invisalign, not regular braces) and I was flabbergasted at the number. Turns out if you’re over a certain age (for me, it was 25), your insurance may not cover any orthodontic care.

At any rate, over the last year, I found myself financially in a position where I was able to do this, thanks to my dad’s estate after he passed away. And I decided to commit myself to it. A year ago, I had my consultation. I started my first tray on June 7, 2018.

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A Year in Review: 2018

We’re eight days in 2019, but it’s taken me this long to have the stomach to be able to sit down and think back on what was 2018. It was a hell of a year for me – and I mean that, in many ways, it was absolute hell. It was messy from start to finish and filled with loss and grief and sadness, and I can honestly say I’ve never been so happy to put a calendar year behind me.

The year didn’t start off bad. Or at least, the first three days of 2018 were fine. I went to some hockey games, supported my husband in his endeavors, and enjoyed what I hoped would be a prosperous, happy year ahead.

Then, on January 4th, 2018, my father passed away unexpectedly at the age of 59 – one week shy of his 60th birthday. Obviously, that threw quite a wrench into the year for myself and my family.

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My Top Ten Books of 2018

2018 was a hell of a year for me, and in many ways, not in a good way. But that’s for another post and another time; for now, let’s talk about the books I read in 2018. According to my Goodreads, I read 39 books this year. Some I certainly enjoyed more than others, and some I can’t stop thinking about! I’m currently in the middle of Michelle’s Obama’s Becoming, but I haven’t quite finished it yet, so I can’t put it on this list in good faith.

Here are my top ten favorite books of this year:

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On Anniversaries & Milestones

As I sat down to write this post, I just now realized that tomorrow will mark 10 months since the unexpected death of my father. Ten whole months. It’s simultaneously been an incredibly long and also painfully quick ten months, and it’s hard to believe it’s already November.

That being said, I’ve been trying to equip myself with plenty of self-care tools because I know the next two months will bring a lot of anniversaries. A lot important dates, milestones.

  • Later this month, I turn 28. It will be my first birthday, in my entire life, without my Dad.
  • Thanksgiving, while not a holiday I’d typically celebrate with him, will be my first without Dad.
  • Christmas Eve – which will mark one year since the last time I saw my Dad alive. We went to his apartment last Christmas Eve and I spent three and a half hours putting together a TV stand that my sister and I bought him. Little did I know that would be the last time I would see him alive. I wish I’d taken more photos of him, of us, together.
  • Then Christmas, the first Christmas without Dad.
  • Then December 31, which I believe will mark a year since the last time I spoke to my Dad. I think I called him; I remember hearing that he’d left work early a few days prior because he supposedly wasn’t feeling well — so I called him, while at the arena, waiting for a game, and said (half-jokingly) “Should I be worried about you?” I’ll never forget his nonchalant attitude, his affirmation – “No, no, it was a misunderstanding, I’m fine.” Just a few days after that conversation, he died.
  • January 1. A new year, 2019. A calendar year in which my Dad has never, and will never, be alive.
  • January 4, which will mark the one-year anniversary of his death.
  • January 12, his birthday. He would’ve been 61. Also, the one-year anniversary of his funeral.

Also – no specific date, but hopefully very soon we’ll be able to finally close my dad’s estate.

I’m trying to prepare myself, as I know these days will not be easy. Maybe they won’t be as tough as I’m thinking, but I can’t know until I’ve reached them. So I’m trying to take care of myself and do what I need to get through the next few months. I’m actually heading to a “Grief and the Holidays” meeting/workshop this coming week that I hope will give me some skills/tools to deal with everything.

I just have to take it one day at a time.