We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be. ~May Sarton

from my bookshelf

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Starting Over

Here we are, at the end of another year, and here I am, looking toward the horizon with hope that the new year will be bring the promises of peace, happiness, serenity and calm that I have an endless craving for. This is a familiar journey for me, but I hope that I can change the course that I travel every year, where I find myself, at year's end, looking back on the previous year with some amount of regret and looking forward, knowing that in the coming year, things will be different, things will be better; that I will be different, that I will be better. At what point will I either take the necessary steps to change myself, hopefully for the better, or finally accept the fact that how I am is all that I have to offer to my life, and simply move on existing.

This sounds wrong to me, knowing that I have such wonderful friends around me at all times that I can rely on, but I have constant guilt and shame for not feeling that my life is more full as a result, which it is, but deep down I feel that something is still missing, that I am destined for something more than what I have now. I wonder if others have this same guilt, knowing that they have a good life, good friends, good family, but still have the idea that there is something just around the corner that will change who they are and make life just that much better, not just ordinary. There is nothing wrong with ordinary. Ordinary is grand. Ordinary is safe. Sometimes, however, extraordinary just sounds so delicious and enticing that I hope for something to change, and hopefully when it does, I'll have my friends and family with me, so they can enjoy it just as much as I do.

I believe that I am taking some small steps to find what I am looking for. One of the most important decisions that I have made is understanding that small steps are necessary, that I cannot change myself overnight. I believe that is where I fail most often, in the belief that today I feel empowered by change, so therefore tomorrow it will just be, and it is always a shock when tomorrow arrives, and that empowerment has left me feeling empty. It is impossible to happen overnight. I realize that this will take a long time and great effort on my part to make these changes in my life. For all I know, it will be a work in progress for the remainder of my days, but at some point, I need to leave frustration behind and simply work on the personal growth.

This past year has left me very hollow. It was full of fun and surprises, don't get me wrong, but so much went wrong this year, and in too many cases the bad outweighed the good. My friend C--- was diagnosed with AIDS, and I tried to be there for him in every way that I could think of: I sent him money; I took him on a cruise; I kept plans on hold for multiple weekends in the anticipation of helping him move back to MI; I helped him move to a new apartment in Chicago the day after returning from a 10 day trip to Ireland; I invited him to see Madonna with me, and in the end he stood me up for 2 days, only appearing for the concert and then leaving me in Chicago by myself the rest of the time; I called, I wrote, and the only times I heard from him were these times, as if he never had the time to speak to me unless I reminded him that I was on the other end of the line. In the end, I couldn't help but feel that my sympathy was being used. Finally, regretfully, I cut ties with him. I will always wonder if I wasn't a good enough friend to him and that I should have been more understanding, but at what point is enough, enough?

My darling kitty Sasha left me due to kidney failure this year. I battled, and am still battling, a horrible depression. And so much more just didn't happen the way it was supposed to. And this is where I need to end this train of thought.

One of the small steps I need to take is to not focus on the negative and reflect more on the positive. The negative has happened, and it is part of who I am, but I can't obsess about it anymore. While many things did go wrong this year, I did get to go on a week long cruise in January; B--- and I went to see Delirium in February; I was able to see the Lion King and Momma Mia both twice at Wharton Center; I went to the ballet Dracula with K-----; I spent the 10 glorious days in Ireland with S----; I went to Chicago to see Madonna; I spent Labor Day in ME visiting M----; I reconnected with my friends L--- and J-------; Mame came into my life. Writing it all down makes it seem like maybe I do focus too much on the bad, that I am too easy to forget when something goes right. Instead I need to take a strong, hard look at all the good times that do happen. Those are the times that I need to hold strong too and let go of things that bring me down. I always need to look forward to the next adventure.

I spoke with Aunt B----- the other day and then got a letter from her. I laugh about it, only because I'm practically 32, but I want to be like her when I grow up. She has such an amazing positivity around her and is always able to find the good in any situation. I try to think like that everyday now. It's important to pay close attention to all the good things that bring me joy and happiness, however small in detail they are, because these are things that make the days worthwhile.

So this is where I am starting over, turning away from the passing year and looking forward to the upcoming year with a certain amount of trepidatious optimism, realizing that my life won't change overnight, that it is something that I will need to work at, and work hard in order to make it happen, so that by this time next year, I can look back and smile, knowing that it was all worth it.

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