As I sit here reflecting on the past year I can’t help but feel grateful for all the disguised blessings and healthy changes that 2010 brought. It was the most trying year emotionally I’ve had in as long as I can remember, with one thing after another bringing a storm into my life that I didn’t expect and certainly didn’t know how to weather. But somehow, twelve months later, I made it through, stronger and with more insight and appreciation for the people in my life and for the experiences that pushed me into growth whether I liked it or not. Louisa May Alcott said it best: “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
This year brought a lot of change. I sit here remembering how last Christmas Eve my heart ached. I felt alone inside and uncertain about my life, my marriage, and my relationships with other people. On Christmas Eve I sat at the dinner table with my head in my hands because I didn’t understand all the sadness in my heart or what to do with it. The unhappiness with my life was at a fever pitch.
After the holidays last year everything came pouring out in waves, and it seems 75% of the relationships in my life changed in one way or another. My marriage ended. My business partnership came to a screeching halt. Friends turned their backs when my life became too difficult, too tumultuous. My mom was diagnosed with skin cancer and had several surgeries. With several legal situations in flux at once, emotions constantly ran high. Anxiety was a normal part of my every day. I lost weight, seemingly symbolic of the people, relationships and baggage that were dropping out of my life at the time.
At the same time, I was disappointed in the new people I met, realizing that no one was interested in making a real effort. They were, for the most part, shallow or self-absorbed, dishonest or selfish. And I found myself in a strange new world that lacked depth, meaning or direction. I felt like I was being tossed around in the surf, becoming more and more disoriented.
Then in May I reconnected with someone from my past who is now one of my dearest friends, someone who knows me better than most, someone who sees my soul for what it truly is. And he helped me finally begin the grounding process, the healing process. He was there for me through the trying times of the summer. He constantly challenges me to be my best self, to seek the answers from within my heart, and to just be still when I don’t know what else to do. And with that new friendship forming I realized it was a turning point for me. I realized that quality does exist and that there are people out there, although few and far between, who are real- people who will encourage you to be your best self, and help you remember deep down who you are at your core.
Keeping sight of that realization, and using that friendship as a litmus test, I have been better able to gauge how and with whom to spend my time. Life is precious and should be shared with people who find the beauty in everyday blessings. With that dogmatic shift in consciousness, I at least feel as though my life now has emotional depth and direction. The quality of my current relationships has improved, and they have become more peaceful, more caring, more calm. I have made a conscious decision not to harbor anger or resentment in my heart for anyone- and if I slip, I forgive myself; if others do the same, I forgive them too. I have let people go who constantly shower negativity and chaos onto others, and my life feels cleaner and simpler because of it.
For the ability to “let go” I am truly grateful. Being able to move forward with love in my heart despite less than ideal circumstances, and despite past relationships that were riddled with conflict, has shown me that I possess the ability (however fledgling it may be) to determine how I’m going to spend today, next week, and next year emotionally.
This Christmas I have done everything possible to make it about Ryan and his excitement, his anticipation and joy, and about the people I’m lucky to have in my life. I’ve spent real time with the people I love most, the people I am blessed to call my friends. I feel incredibly grateful that I’ve been graced with the presence of so many beautiful and unique friends this week leading up to Christmas. It has been a special week, full of time with my son and friends, a time of baking, talking, anticipating and reminiscing. It’s a time that I need to take more often than once a year because my entire life, my entire year there are blessings to pay tribute to. I hope and wish for that for myself and for the people I hold close to my heart, in 2011 and beyond.