Remember 2008? I sure as hell do. I lost a lot of things back then.. my friends, my opportunities, my hopes, my dreams, my Love, and maybe even my mind. I’m pretty sure I made more bad decisions in 2008 than I have in my whole life. It was the perfect storm of bad decisions.. each bad decision weighed my soul down and caused me to make yet another, which weighed me down even more, until eventually.. I couldn’t see light.
A year ago, I was Scrooge. When the Holidays showed up, I couldn’t have cared less about spreading cheer.. *I* needed cheer, screw anyone else! So I gathered up my pennies and bought myself suttim reeeal nice for Christmas. Good thing, too.. because that’s all there was. It all but seemed as if everyone in the world had forgotten about me. My choice to buy myself a gift ended up seeming like the right choice after all.. I mean, if I didn’t think of myself on Christmas, then I would have ended up with nothing, right?
Several months into 2009, the gift I gave myself broke. The broken gift, a reminder that you reap what you sow. My life was still a mess, but I’d started to realize that I was mostly to blame for it. Putting myself above others never yields long-lasting results. I may feel better today, but when tomorrow comes I’ll be alone and bitter yet again, surrounded by the relationships I cultivated.. or failed to.
This year, I’ve learned many lessons..
- The worst that can happen, really isn’t that bad and that the chances of it actually happening is pretty damned slim, so why waste the energy worrying about it? Why let opportunities and experiences pass you by just because fears are gripping you? When I actually stopped to think about it, most of the good in my life came from overcoming my fear, but most of my pain came from hiding.
- I did not get here alone. Yes, I’ve endured and overcome many tragic events over the years, but I’ve not been alone for it all. Over the years I’ve manage to distance myself from those that gave me strength. I instead surrounded myself with a new crowd, one I valued more, but one which it seemed did not value me. I am now on the path to rebuilding the bridges I so easily burned.
- Let it go, already! In my head, certain people have had a great role in molding the great mess which I am today. For years I’ve held the anger, blaming them for my suffering.. but that’s an act that yields no positive result. I’m well on the way to adopting a new strategy, one that involves me discussing my perceptions of actions and events that I held anger for. Sure, sometimes the other person will refute their involvement, or my perception of the events.. and nothing can really be done about that, but there is a relief of knowing that the discussions are not pointlessly going on in my head anymore.
- Respect the effort made by someone to engage you.. listen and respond. As a suffering introvert, I’m aware of how hard it is to reach out.. much worse yet when you DO reach out, only to be brushed off like a pesky gnat. You must give respect to get it back, but you must also give respect and NOT expect it back.
- Stop keeping score. One of the hardest things I’ve had to grasp, is that nobody is keeping score. There’s no list of how many times I’ve helped Jimmy or Mike, I am not owed anything by them. It’s hard for me because I feel such a debt of gratitude whenever someone displays kindness, consideration, or generosity towards me. I assume everyone feels the same, and then I’m completely shocked by the triviality of my gestures in return. The only way to avoid my sadness is to accept the truth.. I am owed nothing by anyone, but I indeed owe everything to all.
- I am blessed. I am being watched, I am being judged, and there is a bonus or a penalty for every action I take. Be it God, Karma, little elves, or my own self-worth, I need to propagate the blessings that I’m bestowed. I’m no saint, sometimes I’m more convinced I play for the other side.. but I strive to keep the good in my life outnumbering the bad.
- Life’s not fair. No matter what I do, nothing is promised other than death. I could rescue 100 children and kittens from a burning daycare/kitten factory and I could still end up shot by a mugger ten minutes later. That’s just the nature of the way things work.
2009 has been one heck of a year. I’d say it’s been fun, but then I’d be lying. The truth is I walk around with a heavy heart, constantly wishing I could turn back time. I see the many forks in the road and I can’t help but wonder what things would have been like had I turned the other way. I feel like I’ve been harshly judged for my mistakes, but I can only blame myself for making them. Luckily, I’m a dreamer, I still have hopes for a wonderful life. I endured much, and I didn’t get here by quitting, I got here by fighting.
There is no victory without the battle, so bring it on 2010!
Happy Holidays to you all.