My 2015 sucked and I’m done with it. I know that I’m a fortunate person and that my worst year was still better than what a lot of other people experienced. I believe in an “attitude of gratitude” and that you get a lot further in life if you are able to focus on the positive rather than coming at life with a scarcity mindset. I’ve seen the TED talks and I know there’s a mountain of empirical data out there. All that out of the way, I also believe that I need to acknowledge the pain and frustration in my life. I think I owe it to myself to validate my experience and find a way to believe that life is or can be good even when it feels like I’m caught in a shit storm.
It sucked for a lot of reasons. It required me to face situations I wasn’t sure I could survive. I had my heart broken on several occasions by the same man who chose to walk out of my life with little provocation only to resurface almost immediately without much of an apology or an explanation. His return was the antithesis of his loud, painful and stormy exits. You may think, “Sounds like you’re a doormat,” and maybe I am. Also, maybe I understand that I am not the easiest person with which to find yourself entangled. That we both lacked the adulting skills to make a serious go at anything. I also know that it is only a matter of time before he is gone again and that next time, I need to lock the revolving door after him. But I have a love for him that is carved on my heart and that won’t easily heal over.
After working in the same place for my entire adult life and living in my city for 32 years, I took a new job in a new town—partly to be closer to the aforementioned boyfriend and mostly because it was a wonderful opportunity and I felt myself growing stale in my old role. This was both wonderful and sad. The circumstances surrounding the painful disagreements and dramatic endings of my relationship, two weeks before I moved and then every other month after coupled with the fact that, six months in, I have yet to make any new friendships, have made this feel like a sad experience of which I question the wisdom. It’s usually wise to take a risk to grow but I always dreamed the first time I made the step to cohabitate with someone would be full of joy (at least early on).
The Friday I drove down to sign the lease for my new apartment, I got in an accident and totaled my car. I moved in that weekend and started my new job that Monday. I would have preferred if insurance companies, rentals and finding a new vehicle I could afford were the last things on my mind. I know I’m lucky I wasn’t hurt, that I had insurance and that I eventually got a new vehicle—it just added to the frustration and difficulty.
Then there was the injury to my foot. On the urging of my best friend and the recommendation of my physician, I canceled our trip to India. However, my best friend ultimately ended our friendship over this which left me scratching my head and wondering if there was something more to the story. It just didn’t make sense. Canceling the trip had been his idea and had he stuck around, I would have given him his money for the ticket. He just determined he never wanted to speak to me again. We were fused at the hip for six years, traveling and learning together—always talking out our concerns about the world. He was the one person in my life who I knew would always say, “I love you. You are ok in my book,” no matter how stupidly I behaved (we both did that for each other). I’m guessing that a lot of the reason he walked away was that I had poured my entire self into our relationship before I started dating my boyfriend and while I still maintained our friendship—talking on the phone every day, planning trips, hanging out once or twice a week, my time and attention had become divided. Losing him is and was devastating. It shook the foundation of my confidence and losing him directly after a particularly traumatic break up led me to wonder if I was loveable at all, if there was something fundamentally wrong with me and if I would need to spend the rest of my life alone.
The lion’s share of this took place in the last half of 2015. The result has left me feeling weathered and old. I feel hollowed out—like I don’t have a lot to offer anyone right now. There is a lot I am grateful for despite my complaining. I’m grateful that, while I had come to believe that I could never take any action to change my life and that I was stuck in my old job in my old city, I found the courage to try something new. I’m also grateful that the waves of pain and frustration that broke against me smoothed me over rather than making me more jagged. I feel my heart more open than it ever has been. In the past, if someone had wronged me I might have indulged in a lot of trash talking (at least to myself) and would have felt a great deal of animosity. Instead, I just feel love and understanding. I know I’m not perfect. I don’t deserve what happened with my friend or my boyfriend but I also still love them both through it and I can love them both no matter what happens. I’m also grateful that my new supervisor was completely kind and understanding that I have been a teary eyed, snotty, hot mess consumed with my pain and struggles and doing my best to be the person she thought she hired. Not everyone has the luxury of being a train wreck. Finally, I am grateful that, through all of this, I have my sister who is my light in the dark.
So closing the door on 2015, in this oversharing, self-indulgent entry (it’s a blog…what do you expect?), I feel hopeful for the year to come. It might be worse than 2015 but I know I have the heart and will to face it. I also firmly believe and most eagerly hope that it will be better and I have a plan to make that happen. I know how to begin to make this a year of building myself into a person who is strong in mind, body and soul. That plan will come next time, when I haven’t invested a thousand odd words saying good-bye to the past.