One Year Later: Celebrating a Happy Life

April 18, 2011

in Life Lessons

A year ago today I composed and published my first blog post. It wasn’t that long ago and yet it seems like a lifetime has passed in what has only been 365 days. A year ago I would not have imagined my life as it is today.

In that first post I wrote briefly about the final incident in my marriage (albeit cryptically for the sake of privacy) to bring it to an end and compared it to something upsetting that happened, days before my first post, in the relationship I was in at the time. The post was filled with the following words: baggage, trust, therapy, Lexapro, crying, vomit-inducing, problems, challenge, heartbreaking, and shaken.

These words don’t fill my posts anymore.

My life is so much better.

I am happy.

Looking back one year, I remember being incredibly unhappy in the relationship I was in, but I couldn’t walk away. After that incident, my head knew I should have moved on and not looked back, but my heart simply wasn’t ready. And yet nothing positive happened the remaining five months of that relationship. It was only filled with more heartache and deceit.

When I wrote that first post I was just beginning the divorce negotiations; I was not in a great financial position; focusing on work was still difficult; the list of home repair projects was rapidly growing; and I was unsure about what I wanted to do in this next chapter in my life.

Thankfully everything has changed one year later.

I am happy and fulfilled in my own life. Dating someone I enjoy spending time with is simply a bonus. I could not say that a year ago. This improvement in me is one thing I am most proud to have accomplished in the last year.

As a result of this change in me, the bar is high for men I choose to date. It’s not unrealistically high, but if I am going to spend time with someone, it should be a fun, enriching experience.

My divorce agreement is signed and we are living according to those terms. We await a brief court date to finalize our uncontested agreement, bringing about much-needed closure for us. My ex and I are not just amicable, but friends. We are co-parenting successfully. And, most important to me, he becomes a better dad with each passing month.

My financial situation has improved considerably and the stress of legal bills is over. I am also fearlessly tackling the home repair list and find myself proud of each project I complete.

As for the next chapter of my life, it is all coming together. What I have learned is to refrain from mapping everything out. In the last year I have simply remained open to opportunities and ideas. Being receptive to what comes my way and being able to recognize opportunities as they are presented in my life has brought about greater successes.

Writing this last year has been an adventure. Never could I have imagined my blog would realize this amount of success. I am amazed at how much more comfortable I am with writing and I have improved as a writer as well.

This time last year I had been accepted into a professional photography program. Unsure of whether it was selfish of me (not sure what I would “do” with it), whether I had the time  and money to commit, and if I could even succeed were worries. I delayed entry until September, thinking I could change my mind or delay again as that date approached.

Eight months after entering the program, I have grown tremendously as a photographer, learned many life lessons,  and am artistically fulfilled. I have taught my children things I could not have without this experience. I have also become friends with a special group of women. I know our friendship will continue years after graduation.

I don’t remember what activities filled my day on April 18, 2010, but this April 18th is a perfect day. I couldn’t ask for anything more today:

  • My final Portrait class project is due today. I am proud of the images I made and I can’t wait to present them in class. I also have my final exam in this class.
  • I will have lunch with the four special girlfriends from school. We are going over our study notes for the Color exam on Wednesday and catching up.
  • Lucky (our dog) and I will be going for a long walk around the lake.
  • I plan to spend time shooting in the afternoon.
  • I have a date with the man I am dating. He has planned dinner at one of my favorite sushi restaurants and a movie.

The day is balanced and fun. It would be nice to add time with the kids into my day, but they are away with their dad. It has taken time to arrive at this place, but I am happy they have the special time with their dad and I am looking forward to doing things I wouldn’t do if they were home with me. I never thought I would be a peace with time away from my kids, but I am there.

One year later, I could not be happier with my life.

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Thank you for your support of my journey and my life this last year. I never felt I walked alone. The comments you have left have been a great source of positive energy.

I am excited to see what happens in the second year of blogging.

I hope you will stay with me on this journey.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Oilfield Trash April 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

Yay for the one year of blogging and the happiness that has came to you in the last year!!!
Oilfield Trash recently posted..The Divorced Barbie DollMy Profile

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Maasiyat April 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Congratulations on your blogversary! Glad to hear that you’re in a much better place. Best wishes for your future!
Maasiyat recently posted..Reflection in the MirrorMy Profile

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MrSandMan41 April 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Happy Birthday!

In so many ways, there is no better indicator of how a person feels about their current situation and their outlook on life as their choice of words. Clearly, your posts since the inception of Naked Girl in a Dress, show you have grown more confident and comfortable; not just performing in your varied roles, but also a progressive feeling of strength and patience in matters where the path to your desired outcome is unclear.

Good for you!

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:32 am

Thank you! I had a rough journey to get to where I am today. Today I embrace my happiness as I know I worked hard to reach this place.

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"Susan Says..." April 18, 2011 at 6:12 pm

This post filled me with happiness. I am so happy to read of your progress, contentment and personal sense of growth. As women, even with such different circumstances, we are truly happy for our sisters-in-spirit and are able to celebrate their triumphs.

And what good fortune for all of us that you chose to share the journey.

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:33 am

Thank you Susan. I am glad the post made you feel good. Thank you for sharing.

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SuzRocks April 18, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Happy Birthday!! I remember when you had your ONE MONTH blog-versary. I’m so happy for you- and excited that your happy. I can’t wait to see where we’ll go from here!
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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:34 am

Thank you Suz. I love that you have been with me on the entire journey. It is a wonderful thing to meet readers through social media and have a relationship develop as a result. You have been here each step of the way and I am so happy you will be here in year 2.

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Jules April 18, 2011 at 7:13 pm

How wonderful! What a difference a year can make!

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Theresa April 18, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Wow, congrats. I am so happy to hear what a wonderful year this has been for you. Y
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jacqui April 18, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Happy 1st anniversary? Birthday? Whichever it is…congratulations! It’s amazing what a difference time and being good to yourself will do.
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Lance April 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Happy Blog Day. It’s cool our anniversaries are close. Mine’s in two weeks.

It means a lot that you have followed through on expressing yourself. Good for you for making the commitment. I hope you keep growing into the wonderful woman you want to be.

Go Braves
Lance recently posted..Sweet Child O MineMy Profile

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Eric April 19, 2011 at 8:58 am

I read this with excitement and a sense of gratitude of what I have now and the things to come. I am also in the process of an amicable divorce and my journey is just beginning. As I set out, I read this with hope and excitement that I too will be happy and fulfilled in my life.I look forward to being a better dad as well as a person at peace with himself. I feel like I have layed the groundwork by surrounding myself with good people and positive role models such as you to help me guide my way. Congrats on such a momentuous occasion and wish you well on your journey.

Eric

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:30 am

Eric,

Thank you. I hope I can be a source of inspiration as you move through the process. Please contact me if you have any questions or just need a sounding board; I would be happy to help.

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Random Girl April 19, 2011 at 10:41 am

Hooray for happiness! It really is much to seldom found and less seldom appreciated for the victory that it really is. So happy to know that you are there and thankful for it and the journey that got you here. Congratulations on your anniversary my sweet friend!
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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

Yes, hooray for happiness!

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Dr. Cynicism April 21, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Happy Blogiversary! And Happy Being Happy!
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MamaRobinJ April 23, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I’m so happy to read this. It’s inspiring and I can feel your happiness.

I imagine (or hope, anyway) that the content of my posts will be quite different a year from when I started (Jan).

Interested to see where your blog takes you next.
MamaRobinJ recently posted..On Death and Doubt- A Letter to My Darkest FearMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:26 am

Thank you. I am interested to see where your blogging adventure takes you as well.

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Kim April 30, 2011 at 8:26 am

So much can happen in a year. Congratulations on being in a better place. I, too, look at the language I used at a particular time. It is so telling!
Came from TRDC.
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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:23 am

Thank you for visiting from TRDC. One of the benefits of blogging is the ability to look back at a particular time and remember precisely how you were feeling. It is a good thing to use as a gauge.

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BalancingMama (Julie) April 30, 2011 at 9:17 am

I love this! Came by from your trdc weekend linkup. Very nice to “meet” you. What a happy story you have today! :)
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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:22 am

Thank you. After a lot of sadness, I treasure the happiness I have in my life right now.

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Sara April 30, 2011 at 11:23 am

Today is the first time I’ve read your blog (stopping by from Red Dress Club) and it was such a beautiful, honest, HOPEFUL post. I’m glad that you have found some peace and contentment, and fulfillment….

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:21 am

Thank you for visiting from TRDC. I am glad you enjoyed the post. I appreciate the positive feedback.

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Rene Foran April 30, 2011 at 1:42 pm

“…I could not be happier with my life”

here’s to each day setting the highbar for the next :)

Congratulations.
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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:21 am

Thank you Rene. I had some challenging times in the last few years, but it does continue to get better with time. I am happy. I couldn’t ask for more right now.

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Jessica April 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm

How great to be able to look back at the year, know that you have come so far and that you could not be happier. Happy 1 year!!
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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:19 am

Thank you Jessica. It is great to be here and not where I was a year ago. I couldn’t be happier in all aspects of my life. I am most grateful the separation agreement is signed and that I am out of that terrible relationship.

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Carina April 30, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Happy blog birthday.

It sounds like you’ve been through a lot of heartache, but it’s led you to a better place. I’ve been there. I was there in a seven year relationship.

Celebrate – it’s a worthy cause to celebrate this kind of change.

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:19 am

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment on my blog birthday!

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Miel et Lait May 1, 2011 at 4:04 am

First time visitor from TRDC. This was a great summary of your year in blogging, I’m excited to keep reading what’s going on.

Cheers!
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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:17 am

Thank you for visiting from TRDC!

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Frelle May 1, 2011 at 6:16 pm

i hope i can write a blog post like this in a year. entering into the worst of the separation/divorce/custody part right now, things wont be finalized till at least christmas. thank you for giving me hope today.
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Naked Girl in a Dress May 12, 2011 at 9:16 am

Frelle,

If you read some of my posts from last summer, you will see my life was very difficult. I was overwhelmed, upset, disgusted, etc. It is amazing how things can turn around once you reach agreement on the hot topics.

Hang in there.

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Erica M May 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm

What a wonderful year! Have you lost the Lexapro weight yet? I gained 25 lbs on it. Heh. Happy anniversary of happy.

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