The Best Worst Year, Again.
The year I got sober was that year. The hardest year I have ever trudged but when I look back on it, it was fantastic. Truly. I was the most free I had ever been (at that point in my life) and even though I had only a passing acquaintance with who I was, I was the most content I had ever been.
That first year of sobriety was so fucking hard and so fucking amazing. Both at the same time, pretty much every single day. Looking back now, I can see how cared for I was. How much changed because I worked at it and then eventually let it change. I accepted some really hard truths about myself. Really hard truths. And instead of running away, I just faced them. And I allowed this new, evolving truth to change me.
This last year has been that way too. And I don’t even have to wait twenty-six years for the ability to review and see how much changed, how much I changed and how much I grew. I can see it now, while it is still hurting, smarting and unfolding.
In the last year, I said a permanent goodbye to the man I loved so very much, I sent my son away to remote places in an effort to assist him in finding himself and not killing himself, I have weathered parental illness and injury, I have worked very hard at work to be valued less and less, I have shown up for my daughter in ways that have made us both better humans. I have cried a lot in the last year and that is a really good thing for someone who didn’t cry until she was like 45.
It has been a hard year. I won’t even add into it all the other things. The work stressors, pandemic crap, host of other issues with friends and loved ones. It has been a year. But it has been the best worst year.
I have now made some drastic life changes. Big ones. Huge ones. That will further alter my trajectory. How I am not sure. In the end, I know that I will be better for it, despite the pain it takes and the issues I will have.
And here is what I have come to know: life isn’t well lived if it is only seeking to avoid pain and seek pleasure. I have found that there is actually pleasure in the pain and pain in the pleasure. And no that doesn’t make me a masochist. It makes me human. I see both sides now. I see that life is exquisitely painful and beautiful all at the same time. There is great risk, great reward and that sometimes feels amazing, and then other times it feels like shit. But both are required for the best worst years.
And I also have realized something...they are all the best worst years. Seriously. I am here living this life, the best I can, screwing it up and getting it wrong a lot. I am ok with that. Perfection isn’t attainable no matter what I do or say, today I am happy that I can just be ok with things being a mess.
And the largest gratitude I have today is that I have grown into a person that can see it all. The blessings, the curses, the hurt and hurting, the joy and joying. And I do not feel any need whatsoever to lodge myself firmly in the joy and I am not running away from the pain (well most of the time).
Lots of unknowns today. Lots of scary shit I am walking through but I am happy. I am ok in my skin. I like the person that I am even though I see some pretty glaring issues that I need to deal with...I still like who I am even when all I can see if all my fuckedupedness. (Yes that is a word.)
The best worst years are there to show us who are friends are. Who gets us and who does not. Who really values us and who just pays poor lip service to that concept. I am so grateful today to be this version of myself. Content in my skin most of the time. I may not be the best person around, but I am decidedly not the worst either!
The best worst can be a wonderful teacher, but you have to let it. You have to avoid the pitfalls of self pity and blame and shame and have the audacity to ask for more even as you identify you already have enough, and aren’t even sure what to do with all that you do have. You can still ask yourself to be more, be better, grow more towards the light.
I am grateful for all the best worst years of my life. All of them because they help me change into who I am supposed to be, the version of me that is more in God’s image than my own. I get it wrong, repeatedly. But so long as I am praying, meditating, yogaing, endeavoring to become my true self, I have a chance at being happy in this life. And hopefully bringing some light to those around me. Today I can work hard to be the light bearer wherever I go and that is a fuck ton of progress from the blackness that I started with. And sometimes you need the best worst year to show you who the fuck you are, again.