As I look to the approaching new year, I must reflect on the year that is coming to a close. 2014 has been a year to remember. So many things happened during the year, some that I expected and some that absolutely knocked me off my feet but what I've realized is that I made it. With four days left in the year, I pretty much made it through, and I must say it was one of the hardest years of my life. What happened? Here's a snapshot.
I started a new relationship (yay!) that has truly shown me that love is SO much more than butterflies in your tummy. It is hard work and compromise is truly one of the foundations of a relationship. I realized that it is important to know who you're in a relationship with; know who the person really is, what they like/dislike and what they give their attention to. For me, that meant realizing that I am dating a musician, and music isn't just something that he does: it is who he is. It meant realizing that there would be many times that as much as I wanted to hang out with him, he had to fulfill his passion. And that hurt sometimes. But I had to come to the place where I was okay with that, and not content, but happy for and supportive of him.
I lost friends and had my heart broken. Now, you may say "people lose friends all the time" but it made a difference for me. I felt isolated, alone. Now sometimes I put myself in isolation but sometimes I just really felt like I didn't fit in or belong and it was a hard place to be in. To sit on the floor of your bathroom at five in the morning sobbing because as much as you wished for things to be different, they just were what they were, was sad. The biggest lesson I learned from this (and am still learning) is that honesty is really the best policy. I had (and still have to) get to the place where pride is excused and honest emotions are shared. I had (and still have to) realize that people don't always mean to fail you. I had (and still have to) realize that there wouldn't always be an apology. Most of all, I had (and still have to) learn how to forgive myself and forgive others. By the "(and still have to)", it's clear that I still have work to do but I'm working because to be free is a beautiful thing.
I graduated! (from undergrad). I received my BSW (Bachelor's of Social Work) from Temple University, graduating Cum Laude. It was amazing! I finally made it to the finish line and there were so many times that I wanted to give up but I didn't. I had so many crazy experiences during my time at Temple that I wanted to curl up under a rock and never come back out, but I pressed my way and made it down the aisle to the stage. To have my family and friends, past teachers and recent loved ones there to support me was humbling and heartwarming, and overwhelmingly reminded me that I was loved. I bawled my eyes out the night before, one of the only moments in my life that I truly released, because I missed my Dad. To experience this milestone that we talked about all the time without him saddened me but every day I live for him, as he lives through me. I love and miss you Daddy! Going into this new year, and facing two more graduations (one actual graduation and a licensing ceremony) definitely hurts, but I know that he's still here in my heart. Related, I began graduate school at an Ivy League institution for an advanced MSW degree and that alone has been a blessing. To receive my Master's degree at 22 makes me feel like a boss! God definitely looked out for me down to the tee.
My health went CRAZY. I had vocal issues, a headache that lasted for months that stunted doctors, and a diagnosis of pre-cancer. To be honest, I think this had one of the greatest effects on me. I was sad, frustrated, scared, and ultimately asked the question, "why me?". I was like, "God, umm, what seems to be the issue here?" But can I tell you that my faith grew so much? Can I tell you how much of an encouragement I realized I was to other people and how that encouraged me? Can I tell you I realized how faithful God is? Can I tell you that God still heals? I type this with all of those issues resolved and I can feel the tears in my eyes. There were and are people in health situations like I was that do not have the same testimony of victory. So while I can reflect back on it, and admit how crazy of a time it was, I can also realize how blessed I am.
I gave up living and began existing. Living meant being engaged in life, actually being in the moment, and taking advantage of every opportunity that came. It meant feeling what happened, expressing and letting go. It was something that I didn't and eventually didn't want to do. I didn't want to feel, didn't want to be engaged, didn't want to take advantage of any opportunity. I just wanted to do whatever was required, like go to school, and lock myself away all the other time. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months. Before I knew it, I turned around and saw how much I missed even when I was present. What that means for me now is this: it's time to live. I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow. I am blessed beyond measure and it's time for me not just realize it every now and again, but live in it everyday. It's for me to make victory my dwelling place and not my vacation home. To connect to life, to truly feel it, is a hard task, but one that allows for meaning and reward.
I don't have a clue what will happen in 2015 and although I know the plans that I have for myself, God has a way of shuffling the cards and making His own plays. I'll just concentrate on living out every thing that He throws my way so that this time next year, I can say that I lived everyday of the year.
Until next time,