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November 14, 2016

A reminder of blessings…

With Thanksgiving  just around the corner, and me realizing that my blog posts have been on the heavier side of life; I want to step back and look at how blessed I truly am.

 While there will be times  of darkness on this journey I am taking to heal myself, life also holds a lot of happy. I needed a smack of reality to remind myself that I no longer live in the darkness of my past. While I feel like I need to acknowledge my past to move onto a healthier and brighter future, it seems I have forgotten the many blessings in my life and I don’t want to do that. Let me be a reminder to myself and also to you that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I am living proof of that.

Remember that when life seems hard, or when we don’t have everything that we have ever wanted; stop. Look around you. You do have everything that you need. For the first time in my life I do not need anything. What a blessing that is!!


365 Days

How much can your life change?
365 Days ago I was driving a 1994 Mazda. I smoked a pack a day and I was living with a drunken commercial fisherman. I had been on two short vacations and I worked 48 plus hours a week.
Though I still work over 40 hours a week, in the course of a year I have managed to see new and beautiful things.
I have seen the old and mundane through new eyes. I have fought, I have clawed, I have poured my blood, my sweat and tears into my job and into my life.
In 365 days, 8,760 hours I have turned my life into one I am so proud to call MINE.
I slowly and rather surely am starting to fall in love with myself also with this life that I lead.
The people who skim the surface with me and the people who see the depth of me.
In the last 525,600 minutes of breathing on this beautiful planet I have bought a new truck ,traveled to Hawaii, Oregon, California and…and I have purchased my first home. I also quit smoking cigarettes after 11 years. That is a battle that I fight with daily.  Some days I wonder why I quit smoking. Some days I think I will just go back to it. Then I smell the smoke on someone else and I am reminded of what a disgusting habit it is.
As of today, July 19th 2016 I have been smoke free for 178 days. I have saved $1535.00 and I have added 20 days to my life!
I am currently approaching my second longest quit.
When I still lived in Oregon I had quit smoking cigarettes for 7 months.
Why did I start again you ask? Alcohol.
Yes my friends, booze and thinking I could handle a drag here and a pack there.
Basically I lied to myself.
I remember after a night of drinking with friends ( the couple who I moved up to Alaska with. ) I still had some of my pack left. Good old Camel menthol.
Now the back story to me just saying “fuck it” is as goes.
Before I moved up to Alaska, I was planning on moving back to my hometown of Redding California. I had lived in Oregon for five years. I had grown as a person and I had truly felt like Oregon is where I grew up.
However in my gypsy heart and soul I knew it was time to move on. Five years was long enough for me and the older I was getting the more I figured and realized I needed to become an adult and do something productive with my existence.
I was tired of working minimum wage jobs, never getting ahead in life. “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” as the old saying goes.
So back to my hometown to live with my mom and go back to college. Yes. To adult.
I believe it was the morning after a night out with friends, a few cigarettes left out of the nights pack and a phone call from my mom that ended for good 7 months of being a non smoker.
My mom had called to tell me I wasn’t allowed to live with her, due to a reference from my previous Landlord. This one phone call shot down my plans of California dreaming and college student being.
I said “fuck it” and bought a pack of cigarettes.

It was an excuse. A weak one at that. All my attempts after that lasted a few weeks or so. Always, always going back to the habit I hated so much. My mind reasoning out my addiction.

At my current job I have found more stress. I have questioned WHY I quit. And I have asked a co-worker for a smoke a few times, never taking one. Or sometimes just  flat-out just being told “no.”

I also found the strength to quit because my truck was more important to me than spending $11+ on a pack. My beautiful 2015 Toyota Tacoma.
Yeah buddy. I bought her with less than 30 miles on her sexy engine.

Tomorrow marks a year since I bought her and in that time I have put just under 10 thousand miles on her.
She is my dream truck. Also living in Alaska you need something that can handle the snow. 4 wheel drive baby.

My Truck is the first brand new vehicle I have owned and only my 3rd car.
My first car was my 2001 Honda Civic.
I bought her on the day of my 18th birthday and she saw me through (minus a year when my mom had her) up until I moved to Alaska.

I freaked out when I bought my truck.
Gah..commitment out the ass.
This would mean that I was staying in Alaska. I could leave, however finding a job that would support my hefty truck payment was going to be difficult.
I knew I wanted something reliable before winter hit. I also knew that I  wanted a truck.
I  looked into buying a used truck from Washington, lets just say that, Holy crap balls do trucks hold their value.
In July our local Mendenhall got in about 4 new trucks. I would drive past, day dreaming. I did this a few times. Once I even got out to get a closer look. I was thankful that a sales person didn’t see me. I didn’t need that kind of pressure.
I did another drive by awhile later.
They kept calling my name. I couldn’t help it.
So, I called a dear friend of mine and I asked her questions about her Toyota. This conversation somehow gave my mind permission to take a test drive and ultimately purchase a fully financed truck.
Some days I do regret it. I wish the payments were lower or I had gone with a less expensive vehicle. Though at the end of the day, I love my truck. I am proud of my truck. I am proud that I can afford her.( Another blessing I often forget, is my job.)
I will have her for years/adventures to come, after all she helped me move into my new place.

Just a girl and her truck was the hash tag I used the day I moved my stuff. I know, I know poor me, right? Lord that day sucked. 12 hour day at work, to turn around and move boxes from my little apartment down to my truck that was sitting on the beach.
Yep. Welcome to Alaska. To move anything heavy or big into where I lived you had to deal with tides. Oh, and driving on the rocky beach. Again, thank God for 4 wheel.
And the stairs. Lord the stairs. From the road it was 60 stairs going down.
Have you ever seen the show, “Buying Alaska”?
You know how there are those metal steps and the people who live on the water can have a stupid amount of stairs to go up and down?
Yep. That shit is real. (Also, after 7 months of living there I never did get in better shape.) Anyways, I didn’t have to deal with as many stairs from the beach access, but I did still have to go up and down about 30.
Now, after working a long day I was already tired. Then boom, as if the day couldn’t have gotten any better it started to rain on me. Glory be.

Thankfully I was able to get a friend to help me with the larger items I owned.
I am also glad that I don’t own that much.
Okay, well I didn’t at that point in time.
Now I own a couch and other ‘adult’ furniture.
I don’t think I really need to go into why I wanted to buy a house/condo. Or do I? Really? I mean I guess I can give you some history…..

Being a Home Owner Is The American Dream!!!!!!!!!!!! (You got the sarcasm, yes?)

Juneau while a beautiful place to live is a rather expensive place to live. Rent that would get you a 3 bedroom 2 bath home in the lower 48 gets you a sardine can here. Think of your larger places like The Bay Area, Las Angeles, New York, etc and etc. Your money just doesn’t go as far.
The catch 22 of that is, if I was down south I wouldn’t be making what I do make now. So anyways it made more sense to invest in my future than to invest in someone else’s. Plus, to this single gal, rocking at life is awesome.
I have taught myself that I can travel to far off and near lands on my own.
I have learned that I really do enjoy my own company.
(Walking around Hawaii on my own was probably one of the highlights of my trip.)
Going back to Oregon again and having the chance to see my dear friends restaurant and her.
Seeing my friend Kristy (the one I moved up with.) And her awesome mom.
Teaching myself time and time again, that I have this. This journey hasn’t been easy.
I have cried, I have laughed until I cried. I’ve made mistakes, I also hope I have learned from them.

No, I am not who I was 365 days ago.
Nor am I who I will be 364 days from today. I am growing. I am learning. I am falling in love with myself and my life.
I am trying to change bad habits, while letting down walls.

Just as the tide comes and goes. As the waves crash against the shoreline, shaping the rocks and smoothing them over I am changing.

This is a toast to the next year of my life. Single. I  truly want to be on my own, no boys, no distractions. Just me. Just this life. 365 days.
Namaste.


I invite you to come on this journey with me. It isn’t always easy, there are growing pains, though I know in the end it will all be worth it.

Question of the week-

How has your life changed in the last year? I want to know! Leave me a comment or shoot me an email at j_clayborn@outlook.com

I look forward to hearing from you.

46 Comments on “A reminder of blessings…

Kristy
November 16, 2016 at 12:22 am

I love you and I’m so proud of everything you have accomplished. I’m so glad you made the move with us. It was hard sometimes but we all got through it and made better lives for ourselves. Keep ur head up always u r worth it

Reply
Jen
November 16, 2016 at 1:28 am

I love you too! It did come with its moments, both good and bad. But in the end I wouldn’t change it. Love you.

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Heather
November 17, 2016 at 2:59 am

Hey Jen,
Wow you are looking so grown up now. It’s nice to see (or read) about the changes you have made and your accomplishments. Is Alaska where you plan to stay? I am glad things are working out for you.
TTYL, Heather

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Jen
November 18, 2016 at 4:50 am

Hey Heather! Long time. Thank you and no, I don’t plan on staying in Alaska.

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