Every year for the past three years I have written an end of the year blog… this will be the first one that I have written here. I like to look back on the year past and reflect on the lessons I have learned and the adventures I’ve had and resolutions I plan to make. So here we go…
2009 had some really big shoes to fill. 2008 was such a great year. My depression was gone, my best friend was back in town, I started school and I was beginning to go out and really experience Cleveland and life in general. So you can imagine my surprise when 2009 started and I was kinda blah about things…this feeling of general blah was made worse by my father being hospitalized in March of 2009 a few days after my 28th birthday. This began a series of hospitalizations that took place over 5 months. Two separate episodes of head trauma forced me to confront what I had known for years. That my father had a severe drinking problem and a severe depression problem. Later we would find out that a severe reaction to depression medication caused a lot of the issues that put him in the hospital, but there still was no going back. As my father went through rehab for his brain injury I couldn’t help but think about whether ,some day, my own depression would reach the same point, that my father was no longer just my dad, but an addict too, which meant he was not above manipulation to get what he wanted. Furthermore I couldn’t help but think about death and about how my parents are getting older and they are not able to do what they used to be able to do. So yeah the first half of 09 was stressful.
Since July my father has gotten better. He still is not his old self, but he remembers things more. He seems happier. He is super nostalgic and tells stories of when he was younger and I was younger ALL THE TIME. He still drinks, not as much as before, but he still does. I’m not thrilled about this idea, but I’m dealing with it.
Which leads me to my first lesson learned in 2009, “You can’t change a person, but you can change how you react to the person.” My father wasn’t the only one to teach me this lesson. Unfortunately a run in with a very insecure “friend” taught me this lesson very well. I won’t go in to details because frankly it’s old news. But if you are really interested it is plastered all over Twitter. Yes I was involved in a Twitter “fight.” (I cringe at the thought) Instead of jabbing back with cunning remarks, I chose to hold my tongue, to remove myself from the drama. I chose this route for many reasons, but the most important is because I knew responding wouldn’t change anything… All I can say is fool me once? Shame on you. Fool me twice? Shame on me.
In addition to my father being sick and the end of friendships, 2009 also brought a hatred of work. Not just me. Everyone I know hates their job. All of them feel stuck. All of them feel underappreciated and unfulfilled. Going back to school was supposed to be a turning point, but as I begin my last semester I can’t help but feel terrified. Not of failing…I can deal with never taking risks. I can deal with always playing it safe. That seems like the easiest way. And I’m not terrified of succeeding either because well that would be ridiculous. I am terrified of succeeding and then failing, which just seems like it would be well, terrifying! The whole prospect totally freaks me out, literally make me nauseas. But if 2009 taught me anything it’s that YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE LEAP! One of my favorite songs is “Swan Dive” by Ani Difranco. The best lyric is “I don’t care if they eat me alive. I’ve got better things to do then survive.” It’s so inspiring and is exactly how I wish I could be. One of the songs from my 2009 soundtrack is Savoir by Lights, one of the lyrics is EXACTLY how I have felt all of 2009. It goes “It won’t ever change if you want it to stay the same I really hate it but I know it’s hard to choose if you’re chained and when it’s all you control cause you’ve got nothing less to hold you’re getting tighter and tighter it’s getting harder to let it go.” That is exactly how I feel. I feel trapped to this 9-5 safe and sound existence because well it’s safe and sound, but I know I will never get what I want out of life, I will never reach my goals if I don’t start to get uncomfortable and take risks.
When deciding what 2009 would be known as, I opted for the year of the rollercoaster because while there were bad times, there were also great times. There were concerts at the grog shop, visits from my sister in law, trips to the beach, road trips, homemade Halloween costumes, crafts, my internship, good food, good friends, weddings, ½ price margaritas from Mi Pueblos, cult movies, meeting Neil Gaiman, dinner parties, fairs & festivals, awesome tv shows, acupuncture, theatre, trips to the comic book store…the list goes on and on. The last big lesson I learned from 2009? That a year is never all bad or all good because life is not all bad or good. It’s a combination. There are ups and downs and life will whip you around and make you nauseas and cause you to scream with joy. In April I got a tattoo on my wrist that says, “C’est la vie” which means, “That’s life” in French. It’s a phrase my mother used all the time when I was growing up and I got it to remind me life can be a wild wild ride and that its ups and downs is what makes it so great. We put way to much hope in the New Year. We make resolutions and if we don’t live up to these goals we feel like failures. The truth is that it’s not about the result. It’s about the journey to the goal that is important.
So what will 2010 bring? Who knows! I have stopped putting all my hopes that it will be “great “year. The year will bring me what I need, good or bad. It will change me and mold me into the person I am destined to be. Sure I have my hopes. I have my goals, but I also have my fears and my neurosis. That’s life.