Like Christmas itself, we all look at the celebration of the New Year from differing perspectives. For some of us it is a chance to say goodbye to a year of struggle and loss, hopeful for better times ahead. For some it is a time to acknowledge special things that have happened in our lives, knowing we are on the right track. Some of us look back on a year filled with both, grateful for the good and trying to let go of the bad.
It is likely that most of us fall into the latter category, and this is definitely where I find myself today. When I reflect on 2019, all I really know for sure, is that I made it through all of it without falling apart and I'm walking in to 2020 with my head up, ready for what may come my way. I think that is all we can really ask for in life - the ability to accept both the good and the bad, knowing it is all part of the human experience.
I have thought a lot about how I am going to live the rest of my life, probably thought too much, but I think it has been an important exercise for me. When one reaches a point where throwing in the towel on living seems like the only option, but survive it, it is natural to think more about life and how one wants to live it. In some ways, without sounding overly dramatic, you know it has given you a gift and you have to decide what to do with it. A year after receiving such a gift, I don't have it all figured out, but I am getting closer and already I am living some of my personal truths.
When I started this blog page, my first post was about vulnerability and my willingness to try it. My thoughts about being vulnerable were more about being open and honest. Brene Brown has written and spoke about vulnerability as a necessity for human connection and connection is important to recovery. Today, having passed my one year milestone of sobriety, I think I have a much deeper understanding of the word. To me, being vulnerable is a choice I have to make in almost every situation I face in life, a constant calculation of risk and reward. Maybe because of my past, my experience of losing almost everything, and the chance to live again, I am finding it easier to make these daily decisions, always hopeful that it will work out, but accepting that it may not.
I know how important hope is in troublesome times. It takes courage to live with hope. The easiest thing to do in life is to be hopeless, to hide away, and to guard ourselves from ever being hurt. I lived this way for a long time and discovered that it wasn't living at all. Living without hope is just dying safely, watching the grains of sand fall from life's hourglass, emotionless and alone. I never want to be there again, therefor I have chosen a different way for my future.
I have chosen a professional path which requires financial sacrifice and delivers constant rejection as the reward for hours and hours of effort and it is going suck! I could easily choose something more realistic, but I am serving my true purpose - something I gave up by trying to do what I thought was right and responsible. I no longer define failure by a measurement of the result, as failure comes by giving up, and I won't do that again. Knowing my purpose is liberating and that will always be enough for me.
I am going to keep my heart open to love too, and that is going to suck too. I used to fear rejection with every ounce of my being and always took it as a reflection of my worth and a sign I wasn't good enough. I don't see it that way anymore and I am, finally, after all these years, able to see the best parts of me. I admire those things about me. It is not about what I don't have anymore, rather what I do offer, and ultimately my willingness to share it passionately and completely with another person. That will have to be enough.
I am going to continue to clean up some messy things, make some amends, and be kind. I'm sure there will be times that this will suck. It is never easy to clean up, to apologize, or be kind in the face of resentment or anger, but it is the price we pay to find freedom from the mistakes we have made. How it's received is none of my business and out of my control, but I'll do it anyway and that is enough.
I recently watched an interview with Alanis Morissette where she shares a piece of advice her father gave her. "There are 3 ways people will feel about you. Some people are going to love you, some people are going to hate you, and the rest won't give a shit." That is very true, and I guess the lesson is to just be you. Brilliant.
If you've been paying attention to all I have written above, you may now know my approach to this new decade. If not, I'll tell you straight.
I am going for it. I know I won't regret that.
Happy New Year.