Saturday, January 02, 2016

A Year In Review - 2015 Self Reflection

Every year I try to write a self reflection, and some years are certainly easier than others. This one is going to be really hard. 2015 represents the rock bottom low point of my life. I don't want to revisit it. I don't want to reflect on it. I want to have an Office Space moment with it where I beat the living daylights out of it with a few close friends and a baseball bat (accompanied by gangster rap). But someday I'm going to look back on these last 365 days with wisdom, hindsight, and hopefully humor, so for what it's worth, here you go... 2015...

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

I finally gave up the ghost, grew a pair, and admitted that my marriage was irretrievably and hopelessly broken and bravely walked away (which meant giving up every single thing of any meaning to me and everything I'd worked for 13 years to have for myself) -- giving both me and Tom the opportunity to find happiness elsewhere. Apparently, I'm the bad guy in all of this, because how dare I admit that the emperor was naked all along, but it just didn't seem fair to anybody to continue living so miserably together. It was a good decision, but it wasn't easy, it wasn't taken lightly, and it hasn't been fun. But it was the best decision I've made in a long time.

 2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

I went from being a full time stay at home mom to a part time working mom for the first time in 10 years. I love my job but I feel like an entirely different person now. Someone I don't know. Someone I'm still trying to hang out with and get to know. It's disorienting and I still cry about it every day. I really miss my boys. I miss being primarily involved in their lives, watching them get off the school bus every day, seeing them and talking to them every day. I don't think this shared-custody thing is ever going to feel good. Although admittedly, I do like kid-free time to myself to go and explore and do all the things I haven't been able to for the last almost-10 years. It's just sometimes I have no idea what to do with myself or how to spend all that free time...

 3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

Going an entire day, week, and month without being criticized for something... After 13 years, being able to live in my space and just breathe, secure in the knowledge that me and my stuff weren't pissing anybody off.

 4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

The decisions other people made that ended up affecting my personal trajectory. Like the landlord who hadn't paid a power bill since 2012 which is how I ended up living miserably is Ballston Spa.

 5. Pick three words to describe 2015.

Lonely. Eye-opening. Angst-filled.

6. What were the best books you read this year?

I don't know that I read anything. Maybe not even a single book.

7. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

I really found out who my true friends were. They weren't necessarily the ones I expected, or the ones I hung out most in my married days either. My friends Jen, Tahsia, Amy and Kira have been my rocks for months. And even though it didn't work out between us, I felt loved for the short time I was in a relationship this summer, and it was nice to feel that after so long without it. I think that relationship gave me a clear(er) idea of what I'm looking for in my next relationship and for that I am very grateful.

8. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

How didn't I grow emotionally? Since I moved out, my entire life has been about stretching myself, facing challenges, dealing with the inevitable crap that comes up on my own. Healing myself. Soothing my heart. Rediscovering who I am and what I want out of life. I am finding that I can take care of myself. That the stories I was told about who I was and what I was capable of were fiction. I get shit done. I am quite resourceful and intelligent and the world is my oyster now. I'm trying to feel ok being alone. It's a process, and not one I'm very happy to be in the middle of, even though it's for the best. Hopefully this time next year I will have a different answer to this question.

9. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

I believe more in fate and destiny than I ever did before. Some things fell apart so that something better could take its place - my apartment debacle resulted in me living in a much newer/energy efficient place, the dog adoption debacle ended in finding Archie, who was exactly what I needed and wanted, and my new job pretty much appeared out of thin air as soon as I decided to make a change. All in all, it's been a very humbling experience to see how the universe gives and takes away in equal measure, usually for the better,

10. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

I went on a cleanse in the spring, lost a fair bit of weight, and have managed to keep most of it off. I wouldn't say I'm taking great care of myself. I don't eat breakfast and don't bother making myself dinner most nights, and I know that's unhealthy and I really should try to nurture myself more. I just don't feel hungry anymore. I'm very much at home in my physical and emotional emptiness right now. That said, I have recently taken up hiking, and if it wasn't freezing outside, I would be biking, kayaking, and camping too. I love being outdoors in the woods. I've missed it and it's a great way to make my body and my mind stronger.

11. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

I think in light of my introversion and distance over the past couple of years, I've become a better, and more present friend. Although, I've also become a much needier friend, a probably-maddening friend, and a very different friend than I've been in the past. Tom and I are learning how to navigate our new relationship, which is neither easy nor fun. There's a lot of hurt there on both sides, a lot of misunderstanding each other, and a lot of love still. I'm hopeful that as time marches on and the wounds aren't so fresh, we can go back to the amazing friendship that drew us to each other in the first place, but if that doesn't happen, I'm ok with just being civil and kind to one another in respect to the kids.

12. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?

Not having to manage my home.

13. What was your most challenging area of home management?

Not being in my home to manage.

14. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

I haven't had a lot of downtime lately to waste. But I worry a lot about the future--in all areas of my life--and it's probably pointless. Things are going to play out as they're going to play out...

 15. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

It was pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but the best time I had this year were the days I spent walking in the woods, my hand held, loved by someone who just liked my company. It was such an unexpected pleasure to be wanted again. Had I not had that experience, I don't think I would be as mentally fortified as I am now, as I try my hand at online dating and finding someone new to spend time with.

16. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?

I have learned so many things this year, but I think the biggest thing I learned was that I have the most amazing friends on the planet and I don't need a husband, a boyfriend, or family nearby to have a support system. They have my back in a million different ways. Jen lets me come crash on her couch and feeds me when I can't stand coming home to an empty apartment. Amy encourages me to get out and go with her to any number of fun places you once would never catch me. Tahsia mothers me and finds craft projects for me to try to keep me busy. And Kira is just my rock. Who knew 5 years ago when we met in side by side hotel rooms that she would become like a sister to me? The family I picked for myself? My go-to person who I know I can count on in any emergency. She's the one who comes to my apartment and packs for me because she knows I don't have the time to do it myself, who asks no questions, just hands over money at 7:30am when I show up on her doorstep purseless and gasless on the way to work. She's the one who brings me lunch on my Christmas Eve birthday when I'm alone in the office and crumbling from loneliness. She's the one who listens to my newly-single stories and tells me when I'm going off the rails and need to get my shit back together, which I need to hear, knowing she is the only one I'd even listen to. They are my adopted family and I seriously couldn't function without these four women in my life.

17. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2015 for you.


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