Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How You Feelin’?

January ends tomorrow after what might feel like months of it. Has it been an especially long one for you like I’ve heard others complain it has been for them? It’s actually been pretty, I don’t know, pleasant for me? As far as Januarys go, anyway. Climate change is awful and I worry about our kids’ future on this planet, but if having 55-degree days in the middle of winter in NYC is the silver lining — is there a silver lining in our planet burning before our eyes? — I’ll take it, I guess. I’ve only worn gloves a handful of times. Anyhoo, my year is off to a pretty fine start is what I’m trying to say, all things considered. (And when I consider how hard the start of the year has been for other people, I do feel a little guilty, but listen, life ebbs and flows and I know the other shoe will drop for me again in time so I’ll enjoy “easy enough” while I’ve got it.)

I was watching a clip of Shaquille O’Neal the other day where he’s breaking down over the loss of his friend, Kobe Bryant, and saying how hard this is hitting him especially after the recent loss of his sister. I’m not a basketball fan or a sports fan and I don’t know much about either Shaq or Kobe — you could have told me they played for a basketball team called the Oakland A’s and I probably would’ve just nodded — so I did a little research and found that Shaq’s sister died in October, and then I realized why his particular grief, and watching him break down on TV over his dead friend, especially resonated with me. I lost my close friend who was like a brother to me almost exactly a year ago (he died from complications following a car crash), shortly after the consecutive deaths of my beloved grandmother and then my 19-year-old cat who was like a soulmate to me. I remember reading up about how grief intensifies after multiple losses in a close period like that – which, duh, makes sense, but also explained why the grief felt overwhelming for so many months when I thought it should be lessening.

Last year – 2019 – felt like a long lesson for me in dealing with grief (and moving into middle age), and it’s with a lot of relief and gratitude that I find that 2020 has started on a much lighter note. My kids are a year older now — 4 1/2 and 8 — and more independent and that has also lightened the burden of motherhood to a more manageable – and enjoyable – level. We’re taking out first international trip as a family of four in April, a few days after Drew’s 50th (!) birthday (we’re going to Mexico). And after a little over two years in our home and dealing with several surprise issues with it, we’re finally feeling a lot more settled (although, damnit, the ceiling in Joanie’s bedroom still leaks when it rains really hard, even after having three different crews of people work to try to locate and fix the leak). We got a new bed a few months ago, around the same time I started doing pilates two or three times a week, and my back doesn’t hurt anymore like it had for a couple years. So, in a nutshell: as I move into my mid-40s, I’m trucking along and feeling pretty good.

How about you? How’s the start of your year? What’s good and what’s not? Anything you’re especially looking forward to on the horizon? What’s giving you hope?

50 comments… add one
  • Miss MJ January 30, 2020, 11:03 am

    Fingers crossed that we’re FINALLy closing on a new home Friday after waiting for what seems like forever. Other than the frustration of dealing with that process, January has been mostly uneventful, which is fine, I guess. Mardi Gras is coming up soon, so I know we’ll be spending more time in New Orleans – it’s a great time of year to be there – and work is finally feeling like it’s back under control, too. 2019 was a really hard year for me, so I’m glad to see things in my work and professional life finally leveling out.

    And on that note, I’m really just hoping that 2020 is the year when things start righting themselves globally and politically, too. It feels like we’ve been living in upside down world for ages, but maaayyybbeee the momentum is starting to swing the other way. At least, I very much hope so. I don’t know if I can take another 4 years of this governmental cruelty, idiocy, chaos and dysfunction. Ready to a return to normalcy, if that’s even possible.

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    • Dear Wendy January 30, 2020, 11:53 am

      Gosh, I’m not holding my breath on a miracle for the current situation in our government, but I maybe the election will turn things around. It feels like so long away though!

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  • allornone January 30, 2020, 11:24 am

    I got prescribed Lexapro two days ago, so that’s pretty much how 2019 and this January has been. Still, though, despite my self-imposed issues, life is good. I’ve got a good job, decent man, awesome cat, lovely apartment. I’m just focusing on the good things, or at least trying to. February will be a good month. I have a birthday and, while we don’t normally celebrate Valentine’s day, we actually have plans that are kinda romantic, but not cheesy or cliche. So, yeah, I’m ok.

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  • Kate January 30, 2020, 11:32 am

    Feeling cute, might roast in hell later!

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    • golfer.gal January 31, 2020, 6:50 am

      Oh my god I just got this and literally lol’ed. A total nut, that one was

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  • Joanna January 30, 2020, 11:40 am

    I’m doing really well so far this year. The past few years have been really difficult. I lost my father after a long illness and my mom has been having very serious physical and mental health problems. Work was stressful, money was stressful, and owing a house was stressful. I crashed and burned right around 47.2 and finally decided to seek therapy. It’s made a huge difference. I’m turning 48 in a few days, and I feel better than I have in at least 5 years.

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    • Dear Wendy January 30, 2020, 11:50 am

      I’ve been in therapy for a little over a year and think it’s made a big difference for me, especially in terms of managing stress. Also helpful: blood pressure medication, which I started early last month! Glad you’re feeling so good and happy early birthday!

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    • Jennifer January 30, 2020, 1:30 pm

      I saw an article recently with the title “Most people reach peak for being miserable around age 47, study suggests.” I took a screen shot of it because my best friend and I are both 46, and I told her that we’ve only got one more year to reach max misery before we turn a corner. The gist of the article was that being part of the sandwich generation is hard. We’re having kids later, and we’ve also got aging parents. It seems like you’ve turned your corner, and that sounds wonderful!

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      • Bittergaymark January 30, 2020, 9:09 pm

        Huh. How curious. 49 has pretty much, well, sucked. But 47 was when my big break as far as screenwriting imploded. And everything truly went to hell. Interesting. 47 huh?

        Honestly? My long remaining shot at happiness right now is a swift tragic accidental death so I can just be done with everything.

      • Kate January 31, 2020, 10:57 am

        @Jennifer, I just read that book “Why We Can’t Sleep,” about Gen-X women in middle age, and it does seem that happiness is like a U-curve that’s at its lowest around your age, but then is on an upswing. Older people tend to be happier. Right now the peri-menopause and the parents getting sick and the bullshit at work and all the rest, it does bring you down.

  • Bittergaymark January 30, 2020, 11:41 am

    I’m feeling rather surprised that this Me Too era apparently doesn’t apply to dearly departed athletes. The rape scandal that he left in his wake remains gross, shocking and VERY credible. And yet — nobody remembers or cares.


    I remain — baffled. Depressed. But not surprised. Celebrity culture continue unabated. Oh well…

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    • Dear Wendy January 30, 2020, 11:48 am

      No, there have been several think pieces published about his tarnished legacy and all the ones I’ve read have been met with serious criticism, and “how dare you talk about his rape case so soon after his death?”. I think it’s complicated and I don’t want to get into it here, but I do have feelings and opinions about it and my heart goes out to anyone who has suffered at the hands of someone revered and celebrated, whether on a global scale or just a local one, and felt disregarded, dismissed, and even villainized after speaking out (or who fear — likely rightfully — that speaking out would lead to this kind of outcome and so kept quiet).

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      • Bittergaymark January 30, 2020, 11:59 am

        Yes. I am well aware. R

        Reporters have even been punished for tweets.

        It all truly proves that… rape is a-okay, so long as you can throw a fucking ball. (Actually, Kobe’s entire life proved that but — really. It should give women everywhere real pause.)

        Instead — Ellen sobs on tv to high ratings.

        This ridiculous celebrity worship / trivialization of rape is precisely why Trump is no in the White House. The standards for heroes has been shockingly low. For DECADES.

      • Dear Wendy January 30, 2020, 12:32 pm

        I don’t disagree with you, Mark. The word “hero” is often used synonymously with “famous,” or even “talented,” which speaks to a value system in this country that I don’t understand.

    • Clover January 30, 2020, 6:11 pm

      For a particularly incisive take on athletes and sexual assault, read Chanel Miller’s astounding and beautifully written memoir “Know My Name.”

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      • Bittergaymark January 30, 2020, 9:04 pm

        I’ll check it out. Thanks!

    • Ange January 31, 2020, 3:17 am

      Trust me I’ve been in several discussions on FB around it. I absolutely will not let anyone try to pretend the victim dropping the charges is in any way an absolution. For heavens sake the shield laws in Colorado were changed afterwards because of how his lawyers behaved. Rape reporting at the local college fell to an historic low. Women suffered over and over thanks to him.

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  • Copa January 30, 2020, 11:45 am

    This is the first year January hasn’t felt like a slog for me! I’m in Chicago, and our winter has been pretty mild so far, with fa-haaar fewer frigid days than the past few years. The grey days and early sunsets are starting to get to me, though. My boyfriend and I are going to Hawaii in early March, though, so I’m glad to have that to look forward to and hoping we can make winter getaways and annual tradition.

    In 2019, I lost some of the extra weight that had been creeping up the past few years and was so happy I was able to maintain my lower weight all of fall and throughout the holidays without actively trying. I still felt bloated with snug pants at the beginning of the month, but even though I’d let myself enjoyed the holidays, didn’t put on any weight. Still not quite at my goal, but I’m happy to have found sustainable balance and hope that continues.

    Where in Mexico will you guys be traveling to?

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    • Dear Wendy January 30, 2020, 11:51 am

      We’re going to Isla Mujeres, a small island about a 20 minute ferry ride from Cancun.

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      • Helen January 30, 2020, 12:21 pm

        We went there for my husband’s 40th! About 8 years ago. Loved it! We keep talking about going back when kids & finances let us

      • Dear Wendy January 30, 2020, 12:26 pm

        I can’t wait to go! how old are your kids? I’ve heard it’s very family friendly and I’m hoping that’s true. As I said, this is our first International trip together – Jackson left the country twice as a baby and then I was like, “Nope, this is way too hard!” — but I think we’re ready and this seemed like a good way to start (a direct flight, short ferry ride, transportation provided by our hotel, we’re staying right on the beach and walking distance to restaurants and grocery stores, etc.).

      • Helen January 30, 2020, 1:52 pm

        We didn’t take the kids with us, but there were lots of kids on the beach. Lots of travelers from all over so even though it’s not specifically a topless beach you’re going to see some boobs. Just in case your kids need preparing. You’re going to love it!

  • bondgirl January 30, 2020, 1:23 pm

    I may be one of the few weirdos really bummed we haven’t had more snow. Hubs and I took a ski trip out west a few weeks ago and enjoyed some nice conditions since many of those states (Utah, Wyoming, Colorado) are getting some big storms. Going on another trip in a few weeks.

    Wendy you’re not alone, this month feels like it has DRAGGED and it’s insane. If that’s my main complaint though then things could be worse.

    Also it feels like everyone around me has been getting the flu and I somehow haven’t caught it yet. Hoping to keep that streak going cuz it sounds absolutely awful.

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    • anonymousse January 30, 2020, 3:47 pm

      I’m bummed about the snow, too!

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  • TaraMonster January 30, 2020, 1:41 pm

    We just submitted my husband’s immigration paperwork and are now waiting on our appointment details, which is both a huge relief and is causing me massive anxiety, which is in all likelihood unfounded. But I’ve spent years worrying about his status as a DACA recipient and it isn’t just vanishing because we are finally able to take a step towards getting him citizenship. We’re also in the thick of planning our wedding (we eloped in September and are having a party this summer for family and friends) and it’s just a lot bigger of a pain in the ass than I expected (money, family, logistics ugh). A couple nights ago my husband wanted to have one of those touch-base-on-our-long-term-plans conversations. It’s nothing we haven’t already discussed and we’re on the same page, but I just felt so overloaded with logistics that I didn’t have the bandwidth to devote to the conversation, and it frankly made me feel borderline panicked. I need to find ways to step outside all this so I can chill the hell out. Because these are all GOOD problems to have, ya know? If this is a little rambly, it’s because that’s the state of my mind these day lol.

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    • Dear Wendy January 31, 2020, 7:33 am

      Planning a wedding, I think especially in NYC (if that’s where yours is to be?) can be so tedious and draining. Add in the immigration stuff you’re dealing with, and I’m sure it feels overwhelming. Make sure you’re taking time each week to exercise and prioritize your well-being so you don’t burn out!

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      • TaraMonster January 31, 2020, 10:51 am

        We’re getting married just north of the city in the lower Hudson Valley. The venue (Factoria in Peekskill) is beautiful, on the river. AND it even has a brewery downstairs where we’re having the afterparty. This was the major sell for my husband as he loves craft beer. But anyway, yes I really need to be better about prioritizing my well-being! I can get very caught up in all my to-do lists and just not stop. I just scheduled two workout classes, so that’s a start.

  • veritek33 January 30, 2020, 2:18 pm

    2020 is off to a pretty decent start.
    Fiance got a new job with a raise.
    We got notice that we’ll be getting a pretty awesome bonus on our February checks.
    We get married IN 50 DAYS.
    Sister in law has chilled out enough that she at least doesn’t verbally attack me to my face any more.
    My parents are in decent health and finally moved into a nice duplex 15 minutes from us.
    Our dog that passed away in December left our other dog pretty lonely so we are considering a puppy after the wedding! (another rescue so the word puppy is changeable)
    Also, and least important, I’m finally starting to lose some of the weight I gained while dating MofV and might look pretty decent on wedding day and keep warding off diabetes and heart disease! So three cheers for small victories.

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    • Copa January 30, 2020, 2:50 pm

      “Sister in law has chilled out enough that she at least doesn’t verbally attack me to my face any more.”

      This made me LOL because… what a low bar to set for someone. Yikes! (But glad things are better nonetheless.)

      Congrats on the weight loss… but I hope you know you’ll look great on your wedding day either way!

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  • golfer.gal January 30, 2020, 2:32 pm

    I got a great job offer today, complete with more money, working from home, a 9/80 schedule, and substantially less travel. Oh, and a higher title. I posted a bit in our Trump forum last month- the holiday party at my current company ended with an 8 foot picture of Hillary defaced to look like the devil revealed to cheers and chants. I was already traveling too much, and coupled with that have been in a state of high anxiety every day I come to work. I am so relieved I could cry. I have literally never felt better about a career move.

    Agent Orange looks increasingly likely to have his abhorrent behavior laid bare by witnesses at his impeachment trial, even if ousting him is a pipe dream. So far this year is looking to be at least a little better than the last.

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    • Dear Wendy January 30, 2020, 3:11 pm

      Congrats on the job offer!!
      And I know there’s zero chance that the gross GOP senators will acquit trump, but if witnesses are allowed, at least he’ll be dragged through the mud a little bit more and maybe public opinion will sway enough to spare us four more years of his toxicity in the White House.

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    • Kate January 30, 2020, 4:04 pm

      Awesome, congrats!!!

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  • Kate B. January 30, 2020, 3:06 pm

    So far it’s been a mixed bag for me. I’m refinancing my mortgage to get a lower payment and wipe out my debt. That’s good. What’s bad is I discovered that some long-held suspicions about my family are true and it’s thrown me for a loop. I go back and forth between feeling really good and feeling really fucking depressed. I’m still processing it all. It can only get better, right?

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  • Suki January 30, 2020, 3:54 pm

    It’s been a difficult start to the year with the the death of a dear friend and my Dad having a gnarly heart surgery. My Mom’s dementia has also noticeably worsened (perhaps in part due to my Dad’s health), and I’ve been working remotely to help care for both of them. But the the past couple of weeks have proven to me that I can do hard things, and that my family is strong and connected. And newsflash, nothing is more important than your health……feeling grateful that husband and step kids are okay.

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    • Dear Wendy January 31, 2020, 7:31 am

      Sorry to hear about your folks’ health issues – that’s hard, especially when you’re doing the care taking and also have kids to help care for. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too!

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      • Suki February 3, 2020, 2:21 pm

        Thanks Wendy. It’s definitely a lot, being held together by red wine and working out. Have a good week!

  • Kate January 30, 2020, 4:11 pm

    I’m pretty fine. My boss never came back from the holidays – she had to fly to her home country where her mom was in the hospital. Turns out it’s cancer 🙁 so she’s been dealing with that and either on PTO or just sort of checking in. I’m pretty new and it’s a huge company so I’m just like doing whatever. I like to show up to meetings with a blowout and a nice outfit or like, help someone with something, and I get a ton of credit because they all think I must be swamped.

    Also launched the tech startup I am working on with a former co-worker, and we got a lot of meetings already, which is great.

    My FIL passed away last month and that has been… not great. MIL is having mental health issues and so on. I am really glad we have a puppy because my husband needs the companionship and someone to take care of.

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  • anonymousse January 30, 2020, 4:37 pm

    January always feels like the longest month for me. I’m ready for spring but a little sad there hasn’t even been one real snowstorm here this winter.

    The news is so depressing. The impeachment trial is a joke. One of my favorite artists just passed away from cancer way too young. A friend’s getting a divorce. I’m pretty happy with my life, but everything else kind of stinks right now.

    I feel like our family has had at least one person sick since Christmas. I had my second bout of flu last week. We’re planning a trip somewhere beachy for spring break but can I make it until then?

    There have been bright spots, the brightest being my son reading bedtime stories to me at night now!

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  • Rangerchic January 30, 2020, 5:28 pm

    Feeling pretty good with 2020 so far but ready for some changes. I’m tired of being bored at work so might do something about that. Ready to just do more but also feel like I’m in peri-menopause so not sure what to do about that (I’m tired/exhausted a lot no matter how much sleep I get among other symptoms). So I need to get all that under control before I can “do” more.

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  • Hazel January 30, 2020, 7:58 pm

    taking on a major new challenge requiring a fair bit of hard physical labour as I sneak up on old age but it is a chance too good to pass up on. Late 50’s isn’t too late to do huge scale sculptural welding is it? Asking for a friend.

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  • ktfran January 30, 2020, 11:00 pm

    I’ve always been fine with January, maybe because my birthday starts the new year. It’s February I normally despise… And yet January is ending on a sad note. We’re leaving for home today from our Safari (30+ hours door to door) and I’d really prefer not to. Being unplugged, meeting new, friendly people, observing animals in their natural home and learning how much the people in Kenya and Tanzania appreciate their land and promote conservation has been extremely gratifying.

    This is honestly the first vacation I ever took where I wasn’t ready to leave.

    Back to to real world.

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    • Dear Wendy January 31, 2020, 7:29 am

      I’ve seen some of your pics on Insta and they’re amazing! So glad you have a wonderful trip.

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      • ktfran January 31, 2020, 7:35 am

        Thank you! If I remember correctly, it looked like you had a fabulous time in Chicago?

      • Dear Wendy January 31, 2020, 7:56 am

        I did – thanks!

    • Copa January 31, 2020, 10:17 am

      I’ve also saw (and loved) some of your Insta pics! I was so sad I didn’t have the time for a safari when I was in South Africa last year, but it’s still on my list. Hope you’ll let us know more about your trip when you’re back. Just throw it on the dating thread, sounds like an awesome vacation-date to me… 😉

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      • ktfran January 31, 2020, 1:02 pm

        I’ll post some better pics when I’m finally home and can download from our camera.

        The husband researched exhaustively and I couldn’t be happier with the places he chose. I’ll post a little update in case you can make it back!

        We’re at our one layover in Ethiopia. I can still easily stay.

  • TheLadyE January 31, 2020, 12:39 am

    This month has been a slog for me and yet lovely and restful all at once. I’m unemployed for the first time since 2011 and have been interviewing constantly. A friend and former colleague made me a verbal offer but hasn’t gotten the go-ahead to hire me yet, and I’m for sure going to receive two (2) offers tomorrow (!) with two *other* companies so that’ll be interesting. I’ll have some decisions to make. I’m grateful and happy that I have so many options, and while I’m ready to get back to work, I can say this time of rest and recuperation was what I needed after doing the work of 3+ people in my last role.

    My relationship is going pretty dang well and I’m bonding with my new little girl pups while missing my soul dog (it’s six months today that I lost her). Life’s interesting – it just keeps trucking along, doesn’t it? I’m noticing more and more white hair in my bangs and temples and I’m probably going to have to go to every 2 months getting highlights rather than every 3, but ah well. My mom went totally gray at 29 so I’ve got her beat by 8 years so far.

    Unemployment has not been kind to me physically. I’m not overeating but I’ve been pretty depressed and afraid to spend money so I haven’t left the house much, and I can tell I’ve gained a little weight which I want to lose ASAP. Here’s hoping that with a new job comes new routine and getting to the gym consistently. Plus, the girls are getting older so they can be left alone more and more. It’s an adventure to watch them grow up, and I’m lucky to get to spend a lifetime with them, now. too. <3

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  • SM January 31, 2020, 3:29 pm

    January has had enough blows for all of 2020. My friends Grandma passed, my friends dad passed, my aunt passed away unexpectedly, and a very close friend found out she has ovarian cancer and has to have a hysterectomy in the midst of trying to get pregnant 🙁 …I can only hope that all the bad stuff happened in the first 31 days and it only gets better from here. It’s been an emotional month for me.

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