Last year – 2019 – was an exceptionally difficult year. Looking back I ask myself what year hasn’t been exceptionally difficult? But last year felt particularly hard in ways I simply wasn’t expecting.
2019… I struggled. A lot.
I spent time in the hospital early into the year due to stress related issues. I had to learn how to step back, step out, and shut off. And that was far from easy for me.
I watched what I thought to be a solid friendship crumble into the bitter ashes of blame and betrayal. It broke me. It humbled me. And it made my heart very very cold for what felt like eternity.
I pondered, and eventually decided to pursue, a career change from a job I absolutely loved in search of “work-life balance”. And I’ll tell you that was a heartbreaking choice to make but a necessary one.
I faced some demons – and some hard fast truths about myself – openly, for the first time, that I had been carrying in solitude for long while. Some of them for the majority of my life. I lost some people because of it. I walked away from others in order to save myself.
2019 was a year of emotional change and evolution. As I turned 40 in early November I couldn’t see anything but heartache ahead. By the end of December I was feeling optimistic and hopeful for the first time in many many years.
The month brought with it a job change. A difficult and honestly scary transition from a world I knew inside out into an unfamiliar land. And, truth be told, I’m still adjusting to the change and still trying to navigate back into a sort of comfort zone.
I also began what has, to date, been an amazing and fruitful relationship with my incredible Kevin. He has been my sanity, my bravery, and my mirror. Two months in and it feels as though we’ve been together for all time. To say I wasn’t looking for this kind of connection would be blatant lie. But in truth, I never expected I would find it. Never thought I would ever feel good enough to be accepted as I am. Flaws and all. And yet, here I am.
To say I am grateful would be gross understatement.
2019 brought heartache. But the close of the year also brought hope for healing. Hope for better days. Hope for a brighter future. And courage to persevere.
Today, as I write this, my heart feels content. My head feels (mostly) clear. I feel accepted. I feel loved. And I feel more worthy of those things than I can remember ever feeling.
…I was going to end this here. Vague. Non-committal. But let’s expand, briefly on what I learned over the past year, shall we?
I learned how to say no. I learned that it is, in fact, okay for me to say no to people. Both at “home” and at work. That it’s okay for me to set boundaries and keep those boundaries firmly in place.
I learned that I am worth more than “maybes”. Also, I learned that no matter how badly I want to save somebody I cannot save somebody that doesn’t want to be saved.
I learned how important it is to remember the “reason and season” rule: that everybody comes into our lives for a reason and that some are only there for a season. And it’s okay to let the seasons change.
I learned how to use my voice. And while I still live by “quick to listen; slow to speak” it is okay for me to speak my mind. To share my opinions. And to talk about things that are not easy to talk about.
I learned that I have an addict mentality: all or nothing. And I am still learning how to conquer that.
I learned that I can still love. And I also learned that it’s okay – and necessary – to walk away from toxicity.
I learned how to feel comfortable in my own skin. Something I have struggled with since I was 11 years old. And today I feel more confident in my body, in all of its glorious imperfections, than I have ever felt.
I learned that it’s okay to make mistakes. And that, while it’s not easy, one can pick oneself up and use those mistakes to better themselves, their outlook, and their relationships.
I also learned that I can push myself harder than anybody else can. And I am still learning how to use that to make myself stronger.
And I learned that sharing my own demons can help others face theirs.
Am I done learning? No.
Do I have a long journey ahead to get myself back to a fully healthy place? Yep. I sure do. But it will be a path worth walking.
Here’s to 2020 being a year of growth. Evolution. And the never ending pursuit to purpose.