Another trip around the sun.
And I am grateful.
This past year has brought so many changes. So many life altering changes. In some respects, I bear almost no resemblance to the person I was last year. But then again, I am still me. A constantly evolving, ever learning, nascent version of myself.
I have let go of so many things this past year: my career, my son, close friends, pets, but mostly I have let go of the ways that I lived for most of my life. Tied up in the expectations of others. Unable to do what I wanted or needed because I was afraid to let them down. Or hurt them. Or enrage them. Or whatever. I think before April of this year, I was really renting a life from others. I was completely at the whim of what you thought of me, for me and what you decided I should do or be. I know I may not come across that way but it was true.
But like a cascade that will not be stopped, so too my decision to leave my job also opened up a flood gate that I was not sure existed. Thankfully that was the case because had I known, I would not have likely opened this particular pandora’s box.
But isn’t that life? If we could really see what was coming, we would either run quickly in the other direction or as fast as we can toward our rapidly encroaching future. And we would totally miss the moment. All of them.
This past year I have learned that I cannot live on yesterday or tomorrow and sometimes I need things to fall apart in order for things to come back together better. This has not been an easy process. It hasn’t been pain free either. It has been a very hard letting go process but I am grateful for each loss and for the self esteem and confidence that has leaked into the gaps left behind.
I have less of everything this year which has resulted in me having more. Way more. So much more than I could have ever imagined. My son and I are talking again while I am holding my boundaries. I am self employed and it is amazing. I have less friends but the ones that are still here inspire me and give me a grateful, full heart everyday.
I also fell in love this last year. After seven years of grieving what felt like an unrecoverable heartbreak, I found myself falling in love again, despite all my very good reasons not to. And it is wonderful and amazing. So is he.
I cannot believe that my life is so simple and grand. Exquisite really. So many changes, so many things removed which now makes so much sense. I could not have had space for this love without creating some room. I could not have been positioned in the way that I was to persevere when everything in me wanted to run. Running is what I am good at after all. But this time, all of the vacant space in my life, gave me the feeling of safety that I needed to let love in again. I am so grateful for him, for us and for this new chapter of my life.
What I marvel at more than anything is that I had no idea as I rang in 52 that my life was going to change in all these ways. Just as today as 53 has barged in the front door, I have no idea what is in store for me now.
What I do have is this incredible awareness and feeling of being present in my life. I think this last year I finally took ownership of my own life. Making decisions that were not popular and were hard made and even harder kept. It is hard to be true to yourself, it requires a self honesty that is very difficult to live with sometimes. But the payoff, the true payoff with being very honest with yourself is that you no longer fear yourself. The barrier that I kept between me and everyone else has become a little less severe and a little less prickly.
I am very grateful for the life I have today. It feels more mine than it ever has. I am not sure why all the changes were required, I just know that today I am grateful for it all even those parts that I do not understand and still have some sadness about.
It only took me 53 years to feel like my life was, in fact, my own. That I could and did make decisions that were wildly unpopular, but I can say now that they were mine. All mine.
I do not know what this 54th of year of life will bring. I imagine it will be like any other year, full of surprises, heartbreak, sadness, joy, growth, happiness and hopefully life. None of us know how much time we have left, and for once I am able to see that as the gift it is.
Be happy now.
We are not guaranteed a tomorrow. All gifts, mixed as they may be, come in present time. And today I am grateful that today I can count my life in years while adding another number to my tally.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the way you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Thank you to everyone for how you made me feel this past year. It has been life changing. And I am grateful.