Sunday, 16 December 2012

where i was and where i'm going

The closing of the year always gives me the perfect gift of reflection. If I dare to accept it. Because sometimes it can be difficult. And dangerous. But I know that it offers the kind of long-term nourishment that's going to be useful to me long after the trees have been taken down and the wrapping paper's been recycled. So, as I look back on my 2012, what do I see? And what opportunities are there for learning and for change? I'd encourage everyone to go through this process of delving into the past twelve months, looking at what worked and what didn't and putting some plans in place for New Year. But I'd be a hypocrite if I shied away from this process myself. So, here goes.

I entered 2012 as a broken woman in a lot of ways. Ravaged by a year of chronic pain -a visit from an old snowboarding accident which appeared in January of 2011 and certainly made that year one to remember- I was thrust, blinking into this year wondering what the hell was next for me. I was pretty much recovered and on the road back towards full-time work. I was scared and unsure. On top of that, my eighteen month relationship had ended in tears. Not my tears. I had always kept my distance emotionally and had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that, ultimately, my connection with this man was really only scratching the surface. But he had been devastated when it ended and, since he still lived in the same house with me and our friends, it was a time of tension, regret and upheaval. I really didn't have any clear direction but I knew something had to change. My passion -writing- had not been doused by the long-term sickness. In fact, the time off work has given me a chance to focus on it. (Not much else to do, lying in bed all day, looking for a distraction from the unbelievable spasms running through my spine.) But, a girl can't live on words alone. I needed to push myself back into life on a broader scale and start owning my choices. Having felt well enough to volunteer with the homeless over the Christmas of 2011, I knew I was making tracks towards improving my life.

The ex moved out of the house in February, still dazed and confused from the break up. It was then that I really felt free to start thinking about what the rest of the year had in store. I wasn't quite on the look out for a job. My doctor was still signing me off and I was going through the last phases of physiotherapy. Having to rely on the infamously unreliable and unfair benefit system had left me in a considerable amount of debt. Thankfully my landlady has been incredibly understanding but I was still concerned at the amount of money I owed her. After twelve years of working full time and being totally independent, I'd had no idea how difficult it is to live on benefit and correspond with, what I found to be, an unfeeling and robotic government benefits department. It had left my confidence and self-esteem broken. I was seeing friends plenty enough and having fun with my time as I got better, but the small string of casual flings were perhaps inadvisable, since they served to complicate matters at times. A close male friend of mine with whom I didn't have any kind of romantic attachment confessed to being in love with me and told me he had to leave my life if I didn't feel the same way. I didn't, so he did. It was crushing - he had been a rock for me through my illness.

I'm good at remaining positive. In my view, things could always be worse and as long as I have my mental faculties, I can write, read and expand my consciousness. That's enough of a blessing, money or no money, future or no future. So, I kept going. Then, in February, something incredible happened. Out of nowhere, I met the one person I'd always envisioned and thought I'd never really find. The year turned from shit to champagne. The thing about true love is that it's not selfish and insular, like infatuation. It spreads outwards. It enriches other people's lives because it creates a vibrational frequency which washes over all those who pass through it. When you're truly in love, you're not focused on your partner as a project, as an idol or as someone to complete you. Their presence in your life actually makes you realise that you are complete yourself and that creates the kind of person who reaches out to others, helps others and engages passionately with the world they live in. True love is true magic.

So, my confidence grew. And by May I felt strong enough to start working and I got a full time job. When that job caused issues for me and clearly wasn't the kind of employment I was after, I was bold and confident enough to go and get another one. This next one offered less of a yearly salary, but I didn't care because I knew it would offer me more time to focus on my blog, my other writing projects and the opening of my Youtube channel. So I know I made the right choice and achieved more of a work-life balance. You spend so much of your life at work - you shouldn't have to be unhappy while you're there. You deserve to look for work that works for you in return. Since then I've branched out with my writing and there are some exciting ventures in the works for New Year. I'm finding my feet as a Tarot reader and loving my Etsy shop and the time I can take to help other people find meaning and direction through their own struggles. I am, once again, connected to the earth in a myriad of ways that seemed forever lost to me at this time last year. And Christmas is shaping up to be incredible. I have a stronger sense of who I am, as a partner, as a friend and as an artist. All of these gifts mean so much to me and I make a point of never taking them for granted.

So, I'm grateful. I'm content. And although there are some creases to iron out, that's part of the process and it's the process that I truly relish.