Monday, December 27, 2010

Reflections on 2010

The end of the year is as good a time as any to reflect on what I've learned over the course of the previous 12 months. And since I love lists what better form to use for reflection than list form? In no particular order, here is a list of some of the things 2010 taught me.

1. There's always going to be someone(s) there for me to lean on. Lots of them in fact.

2. It's okay to lean on those people when I need them. When you reach out people reach back.

3. Everyone is doing the best they can. It may not be your best or my best or the best that we might want from them, but it is their best. And that's all we can ask of anyone. (This isn't something newly learned, but it's something I reinforced in myself this year.)

4. It's okay to light candles even if you're the only one around to enjoy them. In fact, that's the most important time to do it.

5. No matter how old I get I will always be the girl who falls too hard and too fast. I get my heart broken because of it. I'm okay with that and I wouldn't want it any other way.

6. My intuition and gut are always right. Always.

7. As crazy as my dreams are (and oh my god are they crazy) they always give me a clue to the issues I need to work out while I'm awake.

8. Letting go and trusting...two very hard things which I'm still learning how to do, but two things which can be the most rewarding.

9. Purling. Can't forget finally learning how to purl! Oh the beautiful things I can knit now!

10. I am enough.

11. I'm not willing to compromise myself. I deserve the best.

12. Dating just for the sake of dating isn't worth it. Even though you do get some good stories out of it. (I already knew this too, but again, it was simply reinforced.)

13. I am exactly where I'm supposed to be in my life even if sometimes that place makes no sense.

14. Everything I write here is my truth at the time I write it. I might not feel the same after I've written it and some of it might be written in the heat of the moment, but I don't regret a word of it. Even if I no longer feel the way I did when I wrote it.

15. I have nothing to prove to anyone anymore, including myself.

16. Reconnecting with old friends is very rewarding. Not only do you get to learn more about them, but you get to learn about yourself as well.

17. It's okay to ask for what you need. People can't read minds no matter how good their intuition is.

18. I am not broken.

19. As much as I might complain about my job sometimes, I do enjoy it or at least aspects of it. And the folks there have become a family to me in their own way (even when they frustrate the hell out of me). They will never know how much that means to me.

20. I need to be more open. This is a goal for 2011. I don't do resolutions, but I think goals are a reasonable alternative.

21. Fear doesn't protect you, it only holds you back.

22. There is nothing at all wrong with seeing the same artist in concert multiple times a year. Nor is there anything wrong with having perhaps too many jack and cokes during those shows and wooing a little too loudly and a little too much.

23. The Universe works in mysterious ways. You might not always get what you want, but you always get what you need. Instead of asking for what I want, I now ask only to be provided with what I need.

24. When I stop to listen my body tells me everything I need to know about it.

25. Instead of fighting the emotions and holding them back it's best to allow yourself to feel them, fully feel them, and then move on.

26. Giving feels infinitely better than getting. (This is something that Ms. Ex could stand to learn. I'd like to think she has in the years since our split, but something tells me this is a lesson she'll never learn which is sad.)

27. Some people are simply meant to be in your life and you recognize them nearly instantaneously.

28. When something feels right, it is right. If it feels wrong, it is wrong. Seems sooooo simple, but it took me thirty-five years to figure this one out.

29. In the past I haven't spent enough time telling the people I care about how much they mean to me. I'm working on changing this.

30. This one is something I didn't think I'd ever say again, but I am no longer averse to marriage.

31. Sometimes I just know things. I don't know how I know them, but I do and I am learning to trust in this knowing.

I'm sure there are more things I could list, but I think the list is long enough as is. I'm also sure that I've left some big self discoveries off the list, but that's okay. I've written what I needed to write.

Lyrics are hard to choose for this post. I mean, how do you sum up a year's worth of growth and learning and self reflection in a song? Instead I'm going to post some lyrics from a couple of my favorite songs from this year.

First up is Soldier by Ingrid Michaelson. I'm pretty sure I've used this song before, but I don't care.

I don't believe in anything but myself
I don't believe in anything but myself
But then you opened up a door, you opened up a door
Now I start to believe in something else.

But how do I know if I'll make it through
How do I know? Where's the proof in you?

And so it goes, this soldier knows
The battle with the heart isn't easily won

Next up is The Light by Sara Bareilles.

In the morning it comes, heaven sent a hurricane
Not a trace of the sun, but I don't even run from rain
Beating out of my chest, my heart is holding on to you
From the moment I knew
From the moment I knew

You were the air in my breath filling up my love soaked lungs
Such a beautiful mess intertwined and overrun

Wishing you all a 2011 filled with joy and love!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ghosts of Christmas Past

I miss these Christmases. Not the being a kid part (although, that's totally appealing sometimes), but the getting together at my grandmother's house with my aunts and uncles and cousins.

But grandma's gone. And my cousins have families of their own now. And we're more spread out geographically than we were growing up. So, it's just me and my mom and dad at Christmas. And the older we all get the more I start to think about what it's going to be like when they're gone. Which is totally not what the spirit of the season is about, but it's where my brain goes.

I know I've glamorized these family Christmases. I mean, I do distinctly remember how awkward they would get. How no one really wanted to go, but we all did anyway. How we would all eat before we went because grandma's cooking was never very good (and often consisted of leftovers from a church supper, in like April) and gave everyone gas. How very COLD her house was and how we would secretly turn up the thermostat while pretending to have conversations outside the bathroom.

I guess...I guess I just miss getting together with my family. I never see one set of cousins anymore. It's been years. The other set I see once, maybe twice a year, which is partly my fault because I don't go home for every holiday. But none of us really make an effort. Which I feel bad about sometimes. But then proceed to do nothing about it. And then I feel bad all over again.

I kind of can't wait for the holidays to be over. I'm looking forward to returning to my normal routine. The one where people everywhere aren't so stressed with Christmas cheer and where traffic returns to normal and you can set foot in stores without wanting to hang yourself. And where I can stop thinking about the ghosts of Christmases past.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This Christmas

When I sat down to write this post I thought I'd just dash off a few quick words, something akin to "and so, you know, this happened five years ago and explains why I think all those "buy her a ring for Christmas!" commercials are such bullshit" and link to this post from a couple years ago and call it a day. There really isn't much more to say about Christmas of 2005 than what I've already said in that post.

What struck me as I re-read the words I wrote back in 2008 was how different a person I am today than I was then. Back then I was really focused on finding someone to be with. I thought that would make me happy. I think I had something to prove, to myself, to others, probably to both.

Since then I've realized that when you try to fill what you feel is a gap, a lack, an emptiness in your life with someone else or by buying more things (crap you simply do not need) you're doing yourself a disservice. Focus on yourself first and things will then fall into place. Focus externally and you will spend weeks, months, years and even decades feeling that emptiness and wondering why you never feel full or complete.

I'm not the lonely girl with something to prove to the world anymore. I'm just me. I'm happy, whole, complete and I have nothing to prove to myself or to you or to anyone else. I am blessed with the best friends you could ever ask for. My family loves me just as I am. I own a beautiful home. I have enough food to eat and heat on this frigid December night. I have a good job and health insurance and a car to drive. I have three wonderful four legged children who love me unconditionally (unless I forget to feed them, then all bets are off). There is nothing lacking from my life. That is a wonderful feeling.

And this Christmas I put up a Christmas tree for the first time since that Christmas.

And maybe, if I'm really lucky, I'll finish my Christmas shopping in the next day or two!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The voices in my head

I've been having long discussions with myself lately. Not aloud of course. Well, mostly not aloud that is. I do talk to myself with a frequency I probably shouldn't publicly admit to, but the voices never tell me to do anything bad....

Anyway, these self talks have been wonderful and very grounding for me. Or maybe centering is the better word. Regardless, what it boils down to is the fact that I feel myself again. And I can tell I feel myself because of things I've been saying to dear friends of mine. Things that would not have come out of my mouth (er, fingers? since they've been said via text and e-mail) a few weeks ago. Welcome back me!!

During these self talks there have been a few key phrases which have been repeated over and over and over ad nauseam. In no particular order they are:

- Life is short
- Get over yourself
- Listen to your gut
- It's not about you
- Let go
- No, really get the fuck over yourself

And so, that's what I plan to do. Get the fuck over myself because life is short. And you really don't know what tomorrow will bring.

We can plan for the future until we're blue in the face, but I think most adults know by now that life rarely goes as we've planned it. And that's okay. That doesn't mean you shouldn't make plans for the future or figure out a path and a way to follow your dreams, it just means don't be surprised if things don't exactly go as you planned.

Had my life gone as I imagined it would I'd now be married to a boy named Eric (or maybe James even), with a house and kids and all that. And as wonderful as Eric is (and James too), I would be completely fucking miserable because I don't like boys in that way (but James does, so we'd both have been miserable!).

So, here's me starting to get over myself. And letting go. And not being afraid. And all sorts of other good things that make me who I am, who I'm meant to be.

And I'm taking a friend's advice and not over editing this post. I have a tendency to write and re-read and edit and re-read and edit and re-read and edit instead of just writing. I need to learn to let go a bit better, in so very many ways....