2012 - what a year.
For some of us, it was a year of dreams fulfilled, questions answered and our way, at long last, found.
For some of us, it was a year of loss, sadness and longing for what we once had.
For all of us, it was a year in which we learned, loved, and grew.
What did 2012 mean to you?
Two decades ago, it was "funny" that every few years, I had a wild one. I'd have a year where I got married, almost died, and bought a house; or one where I switched careers and moved across the country away from everyone I knew - that kind of thing.
As I get older, though, people are starting to roll their eyes; they don't find it so amusing.
Yeah, well, they can stuff it: I learn hard and I change big, because I can't bear to do the same wrong things once I realize they're wrong. It's hard sometimes; I started from a place of learning that almost everything "wrong," learning to hate myself, to be unhealthy, to sabotage my life.
Today, though, I looked in the mirror and realized that 2012 was not only yet another year of big changes; it was actually a year of big WINS.
This is a strange thing to say, on the face of it, as 2012 may have been the hardest year of my life. My horribly difficult breakup with my best friend of 12 years continued - and may have concluded? - this year. In January, my husband moved out, and months of attempted therapy did nothing to prevent the divorce which is now being finalized (well, soon hopefully).
By September, he had moved in with that ex-best-friend, and they're still together (I'm not sure if it's romantic, but oddly enough, it doesn't matter). I've cut off all contact with them in the last few months because every time I encounter either, it's to face a tidal wave of hate and poison from the two people I used to rely on the most - no, entirely - to be my listeners, lovers, and supporters.
And the job I left my family and moved across the country for a few years back? The politics turned ugly and I got fired, both unfairly and unprofessionally, leaving me wondering how I'd pay the bills and where I'd get the money to support my family like I'd promised. And lonely...lonelier than I've ever been, for longer than I ever thought I could stand it.
But a couple things happened.
I realized, through a long and difficult process, that my former-BFF and my former-husband were, irrespective of the good things about them, not good relationships for me. They were manipulative in the extreme, needy, and graspy and willing to turn on me like wolves when it looked like I might not provide them the support (emotional and financial) they felt entitled to.
Having them out of my life may have left a vacuum, but it also gave me a freedom - an ability to grow, live, and pursue my path, that I've never had. I only have regular-type-friends here - and I'm close with some of them, but not with anywhere near the intimacy as the ones I lost - but they're MUCH healthier relationships, with boundaries and considerations built in for ME.
The process of learning to set up, maintain, and end relationships based on what's good for me has been huge...plus, while I may not have any close partner-types right now, I do have something I never had before: a social network.
A web of people I can rely on for different things, to different degrees, and I no longer feel like my whole emotional and social life rests in the hands of one person and their being happy with me. There are people it would make me really sad to lose...but I know that I would be okay if I did, and I know that I would say goodbye to them if we began to hurt each other, which is something I should have done with my other two YEARS ago, only I was too afraid of living without them.
Well, now I know that I can, and what's more, I'm pretty good at it.
Losing my job may have turned out to be the best possible thing, too. After so many years in offices, burning 50 hours a week on someone else's (often stupid) instructions, working hard on projects only to have big corporations screw them up or sacrifice them (and their engineers, including me) to the bottom line - I decided that, rather than start over in the same damn cycle, I'd go freelance, start my own business, and do what I do for clients, rather than rely on one company with no loyalty to me whatsoever to pay my whole way.
And I love it. LOVE it. It's only been a few months, and I'm not paying the bills with it yet, but I'm bleeding savings a lot slower than I'd feared I would be. Though the future of it is intimidating, it's also amazing. I've wanted to write and travel my whole life, and suddenly it might be possible - in fact, I'm taking a small trip or two this winter, just to teach myself to do it (and cheaply). And I've joined a writer's group and have been making better progress on my art than I did during my whole last marriage.
Best of all, I'm learning to be alone without necessarily being lonely. When I need to reach out and there's no one on hand to hug, rather than folding into a corner and crying, I call my mother or my brother and tell them I love them.
Sometimes one of my just-friends is around, and I've found the courage lately, too, to say to them, "Hey, I need a hug," and to let what they can give me help, even if it isn't the 100%-all-encompassing-love I've been trained to think is the only thing that will do. Sometimes I hug my roommate, and once I asked if I could hug my therapist, and those helped too, much to my surprise.
Sometimes I write a card or a letter to someone - even just a distant aunt or cousin I've barely met; I go online and look for someone who really needs a small donation for medical bills or something and I send them a few bucks and a nice email; or I just meditate on how life is lonely sometimes and that's not a death-sentence - it's just a pain, like having a stomach-ache, and everyone suffers pain sometimes.
And then I get up, and look around and realize that this is MY life and I like it that way. Even if I'd love to have more company someday, I wouldn't want to give up the freedoms I've gained this year, not for anything.
I've got so much to do, share, and be. What looked like a year of hard losses may have been a shedding of exactly the things that were keeping me from doing and sharing and being all those things.
Thank you SO much for sharing 2012 with me, The Band. Your message and your stories have always helped.
I hope mine can, too.6 Comments