Year in Review 2016: Oy

What’s that saying that’s going around lately? I think it’s something like…

FUCK 2016. 

Oh yes, that is it. And also, gosh 2016 was a dumpster fire.

On a large scale, things went downhill fast after the election. Privileged white millennials are still getting over the shock of what happened – because we* never expected that to happen so we didn’t really do enough to stop it – and now we have to deal with the real consequences of it. It’s scary.

So while fuck 2016 is a nice battle cry, a reminder to leave the shit behind us and look forward and do better now that we know better, the worst is probably not behind us, so maybe the best we can do is to look for the good parts in the otherwise steaming pile of shit that the next four years could be?

Not to get political ūüėČ It’s just hard to ignore that dark shadow looming over the year and fuck 2016 is everywhere and YKW is a large part of it.

On a personal level I’m also very much saying FUCK 2016. But that’s not really my nature to throw away an entire year. At heart, I am a Pollyanna. (WHY do people not know what this is? And WHY when I overheard coworkers talking about loving The Parent Trap were they talking about the remake? Haley Mills, people! Haley Mills!)

So, dark shadows aside, here’s my list of things that didn’t completely suck about 2016:

  • I ran two half marathons, both sub-2:00 ¬†and the subbest-2:00 of the two is my shiny, new PR.
  • I got a new job that combines things I like and things I’m good at and one month in, I really like it. AND it’s OMGsoclose to my home.
  • A new home! I moved to a new place that is so much more me. It’s comfortable and roomy and peaceful. And I’ve loved exploring my new neighborhood.
  • I traveled to two cities I’ve been dying to get to, Austin and Vancouver, and they were amazing. I also took a weekend to visit my HS bestie in Ashland, OR. Vacations are amazing, seriously people, use your PTO.
  • I read oh so many books. 49 as of this writing. My favorites have been: The Kitchen House, The Two Family House, Americanah, Year of Yes, The Flood Girls, and Drinking: A Love Story.
  • I discovered podcasts. Obvi started with Serial and my subscriptions have basically exploded since then. They are great for my long, cold walks around the neighborhood.
  • I almost rehomed my dog and it still makes me so sad to think about it (hey, this is a happy list, GTFO sad), but he’s still with me and he’s just the best, well, the worst and the best, and our renewed relationship¬†has been one of the best things of 2016.
  • I met an insta-BFF and our friendship grew all year. It’s so nice to connect with someone who just gets you and is on your team from day one.

Okay, that helped. I feel better.

*Technically my birth year places me in the millennial generation. I absolutely hate that association because there’s a large difference between a 1984 “millennial” who remembers a time before the internet and cell phones and social media (and remembers freaking Haley Mills) and the millennials who are still in high school (eek, godspeed). I also don’t think it’s strictly a generational thing that led to the slack jaws on November 8th anyway (some might say it’s about having the belief that good prevails v. loving hate, who knows), millennials just seem to be the target of the “suck it up, buttercup” articles that have come out post-election, but the grief is real, yo. Feel your feelings.

It’s the Little Things

For some reason I took on two good habits this month. It wasn’t really a conscious effort at first. If it was I may have just tried one, or may have failed, but since it wasn’t, I actually got about a 98% I’d say. It started on June 1. I drank a glass of water first thing in the morning and then that night, I flossed my teeth.

I think it was because the universe had been sending me messages that those might be good things to do. I haven’t even clicked through the article showing a before and after shot of the woman who drank a bunch of water for a month and suddenly looked about 10 years younger because I’m about to hit 30 and I’ll try anything!

And then I read an interview with Sarah Silverman who said death creeps in through your gums, which is something my 7th grade English teacher told us but 17 years ago I didn’t care. I’m ready to care now.

Previously, I flossed religiously twice a year, each time on the night before my dentist appointment. Would you like to know a secret? After about two days, your gums start to cooperate and stop bleeding. AND, it only takes about a minute of your life. Also, if you floss, then you take floss with you when you travel, so you can eat everything bagels on vacation!

The water thing is especially important in the summer as it gets so hot in Phoenix and dehydration happens fast. It also takes very minimal effort and time. Once I start my day on that good foot, I somehow remember to drink more throughout the day too and mid-afternoon headaches stay away. It came in handy in the last few days I spent in Arkansas, because apparently humidity is also dehydrating. Who knew?

So, everyone, drink all the water, even if you live in cooler places, even in the dead of winter. You may look 10 years younger and you will definitely have to pee a lot, which means getting up a lot, which is good because sitting causing death is the newest thing. Since I’m on a good habit roll, maybe for July I’ll just stand.

Taking My Vitamins

It started with my neck pain. Which led to an MRI, which led to being told I have degenerative disc disease and arthritis¬†because I’m an old, young woman. The MRI also led to a physical and additional blood work at my GP, which led to a referral to a specialist. A specialist called a hematologist, also known as an oncologist.

No one wants to go to an oncologist, but the office I went to was nice – the people, the setting – and I kept reminding myself I was there because he’s a BLOOD doctor, not a CANCER doctor. More blood draws, more tests.

Along the way, I felt a little weak, tired if I worked out, tired if I didn’t work out (both of which I blamed on the activity or lack of it) and was regularly turned away from donating blood for low hemoglobin, the last attempt showing the lowest levels I’ve ever had.

Then finally last week, a nice call from the nice PA I was set to meet with that afternoon to tell me he could save me an hour and a copay because all the blood work showed was that my iron was low, which is what the guess was at each step along the way and that I needed to take a supplement, probably stop donating blood to build back up my iron, hemoglobin and red blood cells and come back in six months to retest my levels. Thank him on many levels.

I also learned that iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency, and in discussing my 90% vegetarian diet with my doctors, they believed that had something to do with it and said eventually that diet might give me anemia (the whole time it’s just been that my iron is low but not anemic levels at this point), but if it was my preference, there really is nothing wrong with keeping it up and just supplementing my diet.

He told me to take the iron supplement with food to avoid an upset stomach, but not dairy and with a chewable Vitamin C, which helps the absorption, but not with Calcium, which blocks the absorption. And thus began my cannonball into the world of supplements. I researched the what, the when and finally ended up with this schedule:

In the morning I now take a Vit D + Calcium, the two are paired in one pill because Calcium helps the absorption of the D, and I take a B-Multi. Both help with energy, so that’s why I take them in the morning.

At lunch, I take my iron tablet and a chewable C.

After dinner/before bed, I take my multi because in the past this one has made me nauseous, so I figure taking it before bed allows me to sleep through it, and I take my flaxseed oil so my multi is not lonely (obviously).

And I keep them all in my AARP-approved daily pill organizer. See? OLD, young woman. And actually each day is too small for all six, so I started leaving Sunday empty to put a few Cs in there.

Now that the vitamins I’ve taken off and on for a while have a purpose and a schedule, for some reason it’s easier to take them. So far I haven’t had any adverse effects from the iron pills (you know the ones…these supplements don’t have the best rep) and I hope that it starts to work so my energy levels go up and my blood starts pumping through my running legs again so they don’t feel so dead and slow!