Sunday, December 20, 2009

2009: also known as "what i learned this year."

My girlfriends and I (collectively known as The Divas) decide together what each year will be or should have been called. Examples include: 2006: The Year of the Scholar (because we were all up to our eyeballs in research, coursework, dissertation-writing, etc.); 2007: The Year of the Body (because we were all experiencing some sort of health issue—lumps in breasts for me, cancer in thyroids for someone else, etc.); 2008: The Year of the Diva (because we were all reclaiming our lives and celebrating good things that were happening to us).

This year, 2009, has yet to be named, but I can tell you right now, whatever name we finally agree on will not—I repeat, will not—have a happy ring to it. This year has been filled with so.much.shit. I’m tempted to suggest that we call it 2009: The Year of WTF? And I’m 99% certain that none of my fellow Divas will argue against that suggestion.

2009 included: two bouts of Pancreatitis, two trips to the ER, a cancer scare, a horrible-gut-wrenching-break-up, the return of an abusive ex-boyfriend, teeth falling out, the death of a friend’s sister to H1N1, more bouts of flu and colds than any of us could keep track of, and on and on and on. Needless to say, We Are Over 2009. Completely.

We’ve already decided, however, that 2010 shall be called 2010: The Year of Eyes on the Prize. One of us will begin (and finish) writing her dissertation while living on the other side of the country. Another one of us will pay off two of the three credit cards she has. A third will defend her dissertation and go on the national job market for a tenure-track position. It is the year that we set goals and reach them. It is the year that we take a look at our lives and realize that there are things we want, things we want to work towards, things we want to achieve. Our eyes are on the prize. And we are determined.

But while 2009 has been Ridiculously Disappointing (to say the least), it has not been without some value. I’ve learned some stuff. Yeah, I know, right?! And here, in no particular order, are some of those things I’ve learned:

1. The importance of forgiveness. I never really understood how forgiveness worked, let alone actually engaged in the process of it. I just held grudges. Brushed away certain hurts while simultaneously Never Forgetting What Was Done To Me. The result: a heart that never really felt as light as I wanted it to. Thus, after the most recent hurt done to me, I tried something new. I read a book on forgiveness. I prayed about it. I engaged in it. And I did it. I forgave. And the lightness I always wanted in my heart manifested itself.

2. Speaking up for what you need. Coming from a world of chaos and instability (schizophrenia will do that), I learned that the most important thing was not to rock the boat—to try whatever I could to maintain some semblance of stability. That meant worrying about others and their needs/opinions/demands, and putting myself aside. After certain events of this year, I’ve realized that not speaking up and not having a voice has really hurt me. And so I decided not to take it anymore. I’ve found my voice, and I’m practicing using it. Regardless of what others’ reactions are. I have a right to speak. I have a right to have a voice.

3. My parents aren't perfect. They don’t belong on a pedestal. They may not always understand why I do what I do, they may not always like it or agree with it or want it for me. And that’s okay.

4. Prayer works. Period.

5. There really is a lot of beauty in this world. Not just physical beauty, like the color of the sky or the ground after a quiet snowfall. There’s beauty in the people around me, around you. In their hearts, in their words, in their actions.

6. It’s never too late to: say you’re sorry, to accept an apology, to ask for forgiveness, or to forgive. As long as you have a pulse, it’s not too late.

7. Not everyone is going to like me. Some people will even say nasty things about me. But that doesn’t mean I have no worth, that the world will implode/explode, or that I’m any less of a person. Despite the reality of #5, there will always be a lot of ugly in this world, too. And I don’t have to engage in it.

8. Sometimes I am right. Even if the other person is older, wiser, more educated, or more experienced.

9. Taking time to rest the body and the mind are crucial to being able to give of yourself fully later on. And we shouldn’t feel guilty—ever—about resting. Even if we do it every single day.

10. I’m not missing out At All by being the only remaining human on the planet who’s not on Facebook.

I hope that your 2009 has helped you learn things, celebrate things, and overcome things.

What will you call your 2010?

with love from Pittsburgh,

2 lovely bits o' feedback.:

Petunia Face said...

Love this post and the very idea of naming The Year. For me 2009 was The Year of Feeling Small & Then Realizing Small Does Not Necessarily Mean Worthless. (Too long, I know, but it's just a working title.)

I am hoping that 2010 is The Year of Finding a New Horizon Line + Baby #2 (which are kind of mutually exclusive, but we'll see).

Happy to you,

Chris said...

You have no idea how true #2 is for me. I am the child who always tried to keep the boat from rocking. Around the time I turned 35, I realized my life was too stilted as a result. Not sure what they all think about the "new" me, but I feel better and sometimes that is more important than letting others keep me down.