Before we look ahead, we must look back. And like I look at previous posts written in the 11 year life of this blog, I think it’s but fitting that I take stock of the year just ended and bring those lessons forward to the year that’s beginning. I find myself reflecting on a lot of things as this year ends, and sometimes I am taken aback by how so much has happened. (Did I really live through all THAT?)
I have been blessed. I am grateful. I am humbled. I am encouraged.
I am still standing on my feet and I am actually looking forward to the new beginning that 2015 offers.
I am where I am because I took the lessons of life that came my way in 2014 and leaned on them to keep me going through the year. I did not let the challenges of the year that just ended sweep me away and drown me. Instead, I made them my stepping stone to get to the end of the year.
And here I am.
This year, I learned..
… that I am stronger than I thought I was. I learned to believe in myself again and trust my instincts. I learned to listen to the silence in my heart instead of listening to the thousand and one voices all around me. As one of my dearest friends told me, I am my best counsel.. I am my own best bestfriend.
… that even the message from above can change through time. Nothing is cast in stone except the fact that He always hears and will let you know His will.. Nothing is absolute except His being there, and it may happen that He gives you a different message through time from the one you heard previously. The thing is to never stop listening, and to never stop asking Him what His will is.
… that acceptance begins with the little things. Like most things that are hard to do, acceptance takes a while to learn, and takes practice to actually do well. It took me long enough. But I think I’ve gotten better at it. You learn to go with the flow, you learn to be more forgiving of your own shortcomings. You accept yourself for who you are.
… that it is important to remember YOU are important, too. For the longest time, I had put everyone else’s happiness and welfare ahead of mine. Now I realize that I can put myself in front and still be important like everyone else I considered a priority without relegating my own welfare to the background. I no longer say “my happiness comes last” because I realize it doesn’t have to be. Putting someone else as priority, like my son in my case, doesn’t mean sacrificing my own happiness.
Happiness is not tied to a ranking of priorities. Happiness is just that — being happy.
… that you must never forget WHO you are. I had forgotten certain facets of myself to conform and be a certain way to be accepted. And it was a long journey to pull out the old “me” that got buried deep inside, but I think I’m almost there if I haven’t gotten there already.
And I missed “me”. Now I walk with the old confidence and spunk I used to be armed with, and smile with a self-assurance that even I believe in again. I’m back…
… that surrender is not always synonymous to defeat. There are battles that can be won even if you decide it’s time to lay down your arms and raise the white flag. Sometimes surrender is a form of self-preservation. You try to stave off further loss. You try to stem the bleeding and keep what resources you have left healthy. You try to keep the peace by letting the world go by without a whimper.
… that forgiveness is as much, if not more for YOUR benefit as the one giving it than the one you are giving it to. I have written about this and how I have uttered the words “I forgive you” more for my own sake than the peace of mind of the one who has caused me harm or pain. Saying it has helped me move forward and go from the point of “being the victim” to “just being” again. It has helped me on my journey of recovery.
… that forgiveness means looking forward and not looking back at what had happened or what you lost. It is never a guarantee that things will be better, or that what has been taken from you will be returned. It does help you to go beyond whatever it is that has caused you pain, and moving on is better than staying in a state of hurt and anger, any way you look at it.
… that people come and go into our lives for a reason. And when they are here, we must cherish each lesson, each laughter, each memory that we are given a chance to make with the people around us — no matter how inconsequential their presence may seem at first glance. And when they leave we must learn to let go, and be thankful for whatever it is they shared with us while they were present in our lives.
Even those who hurt us have a lesson to teach us or a gift to leave us with. It may not be apparent on the surface, but in time, and if we look and not make ourselves blind with anger or tears, we will find it.
Even those who break our hearts will teach us a lesson and pave the way for us to be happy again in some form or other, through other people or events that follow their misstep.
… that the music never ends — we just choose to stop listening to it when the tune playing is not the one we requested. I lost my optimism for a part of the year and then found it again. And when I did, I clung to it for dear life. Sadness and heartache are all part and parcel of living — it is whether or not we cling to it or let it go, whether or not we learn to live with it or deny it that will decide whether we overcome or let it get the better of us.
… that just as you will keep falling, you just have to pick yourself up and keep going. I never gave up.
I didn’t really have a choice because I had my son to think of. During my lowest of lows, I had no time to sink into depression. I had to pull my wits about me and get back up each time. And I know I will have to keep doing that as I push forward. The fact that I’m still on my feet is not a guarantee I will not fall again. In fact, I feel like I fall each time I think I’ve regained my footing, but that will never stop me from getting up again and continuing the journey.
… that there will always be another day. So no matter how difficult a day has been, no matter how heavy the burden I have been given may be — I know there will be tomorrow and it might get better. And if doesn’t, there will be the day after to look forward to, and the day after that. Hope springs eternal. Indeed.
That the year is over is a done deal. There’s no bringing back time lost that has passed us all by. Time is not one to give us do-overs, but 2015 is here with a new promise of hope — the certainty of yet another beginning.
Here’s to 2015.