Things I’ve Learned in 2015 (The good, the bad, the fugly)

On Hogmanay (Scottish for New Years Eve) I’m hosting a party that I entitled “Screw You 2015” which includes the seductive description of “there will be booze, there will be Cards Against Humanity, and there will likely be tears — and that’s okay!”. The majority of the invitees didn’t even respond. Dat’s cool. I promise.

2015 was not pretty. Yet it was miraculous. It was hard, and it was the light at the end of a tunnel. It was the worst year of my life, and yet somehow the best too — I learned the hard way. I met myself again. I grew. I conquered.

Things I learned in 2015

  1. To say yes to happiness. Let things go that don’t bring you joy.
  2. That life is short. Hug everyone. Now do it again.
  3. Seeing people truly as they are helps you learn your own truth.
  4. To say “fuck off” more. Even if it’s just in my head.
  5. It’s hard for me to be physically alone. I’m an extrovert.
  6. Divorce is Hard. Staying in an unhappy marriage is harder.
  7. Lean In sometimes. Then Lean the heck out and be kind to yourself.
  8. Online Dating is weird and full of weirdos.
  9. Friendship is oh so fluid. Let them go.
  10. People are terrified of grief. And they don’t find my morbid jokes funny.

Things I learned in 2015 (continued)

In early 2015, my ex-husband and I made the mutual decision to end our relationship. It was awful, yet relieving. We both struggled against the tide for so long that once the decision was made it was like a weighty fog was lifted and I could jump into the ocean of to-dos and paperwork with a new-found empowerment. It was the longest few months of the year, but we came to (mostly) peaceful agreements in the best interest of our son, and our own happiness. I cried, I swore, I got-shit-done and came out of our marriage both torn in half and wondrously whole for the first time.

While partially living in our old marital home with my son, and also living in a duplex in North East I discovered a deep chasm of loneliness. No regrets, but an insane desire to stay busy and never rest for fear of the walls caving in on me and the grief taking over. And yet, I was so happy. I learned exactly how many conflicting and opposing emotions one person can feel all at once. I was transient, without a home of my own that felt safe and mine. I learned to be thankful for the spaces we cocoon ourselves in, and later in the year purchased my own home to make my own.

I’ve become wary and skeptical of societal issues around feminism. I’ve learned that equality is never really equal – it’s messy, burdened by context and so, so, so misunderstood. Feminism in many ways destroyed my marriage, but my passion for helping women take control of their own lives is what helped me change my life this year. I learned it’s never as simple as it seems, even when it feels like the right thing.

Loosing a friend, an uncle and a mentor within three months of each other has taught me such appreciation for the people in my life. I’m privileged by the company that I keep, the family I am blessed to have, the friendships and bonds that I forge, and by the people that touch my life in even the periphery. And I know exactly how I want to be remembered at my own funeral, which has clarified who I want to be in the world, and the impact I feel duty-bound to make. Also, note to self, jokes about death and grief are WAY funnier in your head. You scare people with your morbid hilarity. Also, I learned to just let it out and the people that don’t embrace me with their own morbidly humorous understanding of loss will, unfortunately, one day understand.

And through all of this, I’ve been both embraced by amazing friends who knew exactly what I needed even when I did not, and have also been forgotten about by people who just simply did not know what to say or do. I’ve learned exactly how fluid and fragile friendship is. We all give what we are able to give, and sometimes you have to let a one-sided friendship go peacefully into the past. Becoming fond memories for the occasional coffee, but not the rock in your life you expected. That’s ok. Some people in my life have just ignored it all, and so few have simply asked “How are you? No really. How are you?”. And though that has occasionally been isolating, I get it. And it’s honestly okay, most of the time.

We can’t empathize until we understand, and I wouldn’t wish my 2015 on anyone, though I’m so thankful for the lessons. I’ve barreled right through it, and all obstacles in my way. Now it’s on to a new life of self discovery, love and kindness, and purpose.

More to come in 2016. This is my commitment to becoming myself again.

Screw you 2015. Thank you 2015.

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