2014 has been a roller coaster ride from start to finish, filled with extreme highs and desperate lows. It certainly didn’t turn out the way I thought it would, but life hardly ever does. It is filled with surprises, both good and not so good.
I could easily look back on this year and focus on the rough times because we always seem to remember the bad more clearly than the good. But as I look at 2014, I am choosing to focus on what I learned about myself and about life. Some of these lessons I had previously learned, but was given a much needed reminder this year. So here we go.
1. Single is GOOD. I began dating again in early 2014. Three guys later, I recognize just how good it is to be single. I’ve always been good at being single. But I’ve never been great at the dating game. Or maybe I just haven’t found the right person to play the game with. Who knows? But for now, I am back to single and will not be pursuing dating. If it happens, so be it.
2. Heartbreak is worth it. Of the three men I dated this year, I fell in love with one. It was my first time falling in love. It happened quickly and unexpectedly, and it was great. But as fast as that relationship started, it came to an abrupt end, and I was left completely broken hearted. But it was worth it. Loving someone is never wrong.
3. Being Open and Vulnerable is the Best Way to Live. For most of my life I’ve been a closed book. Past wounds and fear of judgement kept me locked up like a safe, with all my feelings and thoughts hidden inside. This year I opened myself up more. I let people see the real me. Being vulnerable is what allowed me to fall in love. It’s what has brought me into deep bonds with friends and family. The lock on the safe has been broken and I am doing my best not to replace it.
4. Take Risks. In March I planted a church. I didn’t do it alone of course, but I was the one who started it, facilitated it and led it (which I still do). This was terrifying for me. But the pastors of this church, Three Rivers, believed in me. They asked me to do it before they moved back to Australia, and although I hesitated, they never did. With their support and faith in me, and the help of others here in Windsor, I started a Three Rivers gathering.
5. Slow Down. I am not a patient person. When I want something, I want it now and I rush after it. I decided I wanted a full time job and was able to get one pretty quickly. Two weeks later I bought a car. Two months later I moved to an apartment in Windsor. What I wanted was my independence back. I wanted to be on my own, taking care of myself and doing what I wanted to do. The job was not great, and the apartment had massive problems. I moved out 3 months later. I left my job two months after that. Maybe if I had slowed down, I wouldn’t have experienced so many headaches.
6. Trust Your Gut. I sometimes ignore gut feelings because I don’t want to listen to them. I realize that I need to because they are usually right. When I was interviewing for the job, I had a voice in my head telling me it wasn’t a good fit for me. Then in the summer, when my old job was hiring again, I had a voice that told me to quit the current job and try to get my old job back. I didn’t listen to either. The full time job ended up being a toxic situation that caused unbelievable stress. I walked out of that job in early October and never went back. And of course, the position at my previous job had been filled.
7. Don’t let anyone treat you as less than you are. I used to pity girls who would bend over backwards for their boyfriends/guys they were interested in who never appreciated them and didn’t treat them well. Then I became one. I spent a few months after a break-up with a guy pining for him and wishing we would get back together. But he kept ignoring my attempts to talk and/or hang out. I finally came to my senses 4 months after the break-up and realized not only had this guy not treated me the best, he didn’t deserve me. And I was finally able to move on. I know my worth and refuse to allow someone to under value it.
8. Appreciate those that love you. I often wonder how my friends and family put up with me. I am not an easy person. I have a disease that changes my personality and can leave me in bed for days. It can make be mean and it can shut me down completely. Yet, as I have struggled through my depression over the last few months, my family and friends have done nothing but love me and support me. I am so lucky to have such incredible people in my life. I love you all and I thank you.
9. It’s ok not to have it all together. The truth is that no one has it all together. Everyone is dealing with something. Everyone is trying to figure it out. I have been hard on myself for not getting it together. There are some days all I want to do is scream the “f” word at the top of my lungs over and over again. But I am working to get healthy and trying my best. That’s all anyone can ask for.
10. Cherish what you have. We live in a society that always wants more. We’re told we need more. A bigger house, better car, more clothes, etc. But many of us have more than we need. I know I do. And every day I work at being grateful for all I have, and shutting down all of my ‘I wants’ that aren’t ‘I needs’. There are many people with a lot less who live happy lives. Things won’t fill your soul. Only people can do that.
11. Be There for Others. Humans are naturally selfish. We immediately think of ourselves in any situation and how it can benefit us. But it’s not the way to live. Put yourself aside and help others. Be there for others. We can easily regret selfish choices. But we will never regret helping someone else.
12. NEVER EVER break up with someone in a text. As someone who has been on the receiving end of one of those texts, I can tell you that it is NOT ok. It is awful and cowardly, and makes the person you are breaking up with feel worthless. If you want to break up with someone, have the courage and decency to do it face to face.
So those are my life lessons for 2014. Some are newly learned and some are re-learned. I have to admit that I am happy to put this year behind me. I don’t do resolutions, so I have none for 2015. I just want to be healthy and happy and for those I love to be healthy and happy too.
Happy New Year!