Tonight I found myself sitting across from someone at dinner and referring to the past year of my life as my “year of sadness”. And in that moment, this person suggested to me that I can’t let this past year define me as sad, because if I do, I let the person who hurt me win.
And for the first time, in that moment, I realized that she was right. This was not a year of sadness, it was a year of clarity.
Are year ago today, I was just a few weeks out from a wedding. My mind was filled with flower arrangements and song selections for an experience that was surreal and yet unreal. I was busy planning a honeymoon and now I’m busy planning a vacation to replace those memories.
In the past year, I have been on one date: post divorce. It was a very sad and depressing experience to say the least. I have spent my weekends religiously watching Netflix to fill my time. Any moments outside of work were centered around my son’s karate or soccer practice or my volunteer work.
Sometimes when I was home alone, I would reflect on my life and see it as sad. I went from an extreme high, to what I considered an extreme low.
But tonight, I was forced to see a different side of this past year. A side that was not riddled with sorrow or regret. A side of my life that I guess I wasn’t able to see because it’s hard to see the light through the darkness.
Because beyond the sadness, beyond the regret, beyond the humiliation, beyond all the things that went wrong, there were beautiful moments that I forgot to stop and appreciate.
Sometimes, when we feel we are at our lowest point, we fail to acknowledge our success. We dont know how to look past our failure, and see that we are more than we give ourselves credit for.
For the first time in my life I have been forced to figure out how to function as a single party. Someone dependent solely upon myself, someone who had to find a way to push through life’s challenges alone.
As much as I have wanted to discount myself and my life decisions over this past year I have to aknowledge the things that I was actually capable of doing. And for a person who is self-loathing, it’s almost impossible to recognize my own success when you are drowning in your own regret.
I have been more independent in this past year than I have ever been in my 36 years of life. I have been more motivated in my job, and more successful in my aspirations than I have ever been in my lifetime.
I have focused my time and my energy on the most important person in my life, my son. Something that I’m not sure I ever did before. Not entirely at least.
I have been able to find my own happiness in this past year. A happiness that I’m not sure I ever knew before. A happiness in myself that includes doing the things that I love to do without the approval or the opinion of another person. I have found an equilibrium of selfishness.
And so I refuse to let this past year of my life be my “year of sadness” and I go on claiming that it was my “year of clarity”. This may be the only time in my life where I have known exactly who I am, exactly who I want to be, and am secure in every part of it and myself.
Sometimes life forces us to be honest with ourselves. Sometimes life gives us the opportunity to prove to ourselves exactly what we are capable of. Sometimes life gives us challenges that we are not able to overcome so that when we get to the other side, we can see how strong we really are. For me, that time is now.
And so I go on. Living in my year of clarity. Taking time to reflect. Taking the time to actually learn some life lessons. And going forward, knowing that it was meant for me to be this way, so that I can come out on the other side, a better person than how I went in.