I don't think I've been more excited for a year to be over than I have with 2020. I'm betting I'm not alone in that sentiment either. With the new year just a few days away, I sat down and thought about all the positives about 2020. I have a lot to be grateful for, to be honest, in a year like this so I thought it would be a little fun to review some of them.
#1 - Job Change
If you're in my reader group, I've talked a lot about my struggles in my research job. The shift of my work to non-lab work and issues with my boss. Without all that stress and anger, I wouldn't have been so motivated to start looking and in turn, land the job of my dreams. I've only been there a few weeks, and I'm happier now than I have ever been in the last 12 years. It was the best career decision I could have ever made for myself.
#2 - My new godson
Born just a week into our state shutdown, he was the gift I needed in such a dark time. Months after his birth, his smile when I walk into the room makes me forget all about the state of the world right now. My little buddy. I've already warned his parents that the day will come when he asks me for a pony and I'll show up with a stock trailer full of them.
#3 - Finding My Writing Mojo
2018 and 2019 were huge struggle years in terms of writing. The words just seemed to have dried up, and all I could do is stare at a blank screen. That is until Geri and I teamed up for the Black Hoods MC series. It was like a breath of fresh air to dive into the stories and though we we're both dealing with our own personal struggles at the same time, we were able to support each other to finish three different books.
#4 - Getting Back to My Roots
It's funny as we grow older the things we never have time to do anymore. When our state shutdown, and being high risk, I had to dive deep to find ways to keep myself entertained. Puzzles, sewing, gardening, and even reading became my new favorite pastimes. Puzzles being the biggest of the three. I had a 1000 piece puzzle collecting dust on a bookshelf for over two years of a night game at Purdue from a game I actually attended. I was always "too busy" for it, and in March, I finally got it down. It took a bit longer than I would have normally taken because I tried to share it with Glen, who I now know HATES puzzles, but it was a bonding experience for us.
#5 - Appreciating the Little Things
Did I just paraphrase one of the rules from Zombieland? I sure did. There's nothing like a pandemic to put into perspective how precious life is, and the frivolous things that waste your time. I let so much go by the wayside over the years that I didn't even realize I was letting integral parts of what makes me, well, me go with it. Even now as our state has almost fully reopened, I remind myself almost daily to remember those little things. To take time for myself, and my well-being. I'm even trying to learn how to do gel nails with my very own UV light. Who would have thought? Not me.
While these five things are only scratching the surface of those personal positives from 2020, I encourage you all to think back over the last year and make a list of your own. Focus on it. While the 2020 dread may spill into 2021 for a bit, look back on those positives.
And before I forget, make sure you yell out "JUMANJI!" when the clock strikes twelve on the 31st.
The title of this month’s newsletter might be a little shocking to some of you. In fact, you may be scratching your head right now because how would it be possible that I almost didn’t get married when… in fact, I’ve been married for quite some time. With our 10th wedding anniversary and my 34th birthday today, I’ve been thinking a lot about how the last ten years almost didn’t happen at all. Most weddings are these fairytale affairs that we dream about as kids. Mine wasn't, but before we get to that point, I need to go back a bit.
After a year of constant changes with him having to give up a full-ride grad school scholarship to come home to have surgery, our entire plan was in flux. Instead of moving to California after our wedding, we were going to be staying close to home. Really close. As in in his hometown and five miles from my own hometown. Perfect right? Well, not really. My job was over 65 miles away, which meant, my five-minute commute from my apartment turned into 90 minutes of highway hell. But with everything that had changed for him, I was willing to make it work. The weekend before our wedding, I said goodbye to my first grown up apartment and moved back home. Since he was a minister, it was out of the question that we would be staying together before the big day so while my furniture and cat lived with him, I moved back in with my parent’s for a few more days.
Things were different being back home, but 24 hours into the arrangement, my world almost exploded. After a strenuous softball game, the night before, my then fiancé started having issues with what he thought was bad leg cramps. As the next day came, he was unable to walk without severe pain. In true Glen fashion, he wrote it off as a sports injury until I came by on my way home to check my cat and to spend time with him. It took literal seconds for me to see something was wrong, but his stubbornness refused to go to the hospital. Until I called in the big guns. My dad. With his help, we convinced him to be seen, and had we not, I wouldn’t be celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary with him.
The next few hours were a whirlwind of doctors, tornado warnings, and trying to be strong for him. He had a massive blood clot in his leg from his last bro road trip. That clot had broken up in what the doctor could only describe as “the most pulmonary embolisms he’s ever seen in someone still alive.” Not exactly what you wanted to hear, but he was right. Glen shouldn’t be alive. The fact that he made it through is a testament to his strength and determination. It was the single most frightening time in my life except for his second bout with blood clots just six years later that tried to take him away from me again.
With Glen in the hospital, we made the decision to cancel our wedding and reschedule it for the following week. My birthday. The one day that I didn’t want to get married but knowing how much it would take to help him recovery, giving him that goal was the fuel he needed to survive. Sure, we had to find a new reception venue, minister, freeze our wedding cake, order new flowers, and so much more, but looking back now, all of that was truly a drop in the bucket in comparison to losing him.
Our first ten years may have been a roller coaster of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change it for all the money in the world. It’s those experiences that have shaped me into the woman I am today. Experiences that I put into my very own fictional worlds. Relationships aren’t easy, but when you have to fight for them, it makes those special moments even sweeter.
Happy Anniversary, Mr. Paige. Let’s see what the next ten years bring us.
You may be wondering about the title, and why I would want to blog about my not so perfect wedding. Why would I want to share about one of the scariest times in my life? Sure, the pictures above look happy and blissful, but that day almost never happened.
It's weird thinking about to 9 years ago today, and our wedding day. The flowers fragrance filling the old church my husband served as minister. Our family and friends gathered around us, surrounding us with love and support. A perfect dress. But, the only thing out of place was my soon to be husband, carefully being helped to the alter by his groomsmen. You see a our wedding was delayed a week. My husband the Tuesday before our original wedding date began experiencing severe pain and swelling in his leg. He thought he'd strained it at a church league softball. That it was just the remnants of one of his horrible night time leg cramps. I was at work over an hour away, unable to see his pain and to access what might be going on. It was until that night when I arrived at the home that would soon be ours together that I realized something was very wrong. My soon to be husband, stubborn as always, assured me it was fine, but when he struggled to walk, it took my dad coming over to help me convince him to go to the emergency room. It was there his condition went from concerning to life threatening.
He had a blood clot in his leg, but that wasn't the most concerning part of it. It was the at least six other smaller clots that had passed through his heart and embedded into his lungs. The next few days were a blur. Spending my days in the hospital with him. My nights at our hopeful home with my cat, and re-planning our wedding. The biggest event of my life on hold until we knew whether or not Glen would make it through. After an experimental procedure, he was released, but we weren't out of the woods yet. As much as I wanted to postpone our wedding further, Glen insisted we would get married the next week.
And, we did. On my 24th birthday. Of course, things weren't perfect. Glen was restricted in the length of time he could stand so we had to have a stool for him to sit on for the ceremony. He had to walk with a cane when he did walk, and the only time he stood unaided was our first dance at our reception.
That was not so perfect wedding, but I wouldn't trade it for the world because I almost didn't get to be his wife. I almost didn't get to marry my childhood best friend. The boy I had fallen for in the 5th grade while he read the morning weather report over the intercom, and spent years admiring after him until he finally saw me for me. I may write happily ever afters for a living, but the best one of all is my own.
Avelyn Paige is an Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY bestselling Motorcycle Romance author.