Tuesday, October 4, 2016

2016 - The Best Year Ever?

There are significant points in life that make you stop and realize how far you've come in a year.  This  particular time of the year - October - is one that I can say that I've become a wiser, stronger, and poised woman than I was a year ago.  I've gone through it all and learned so many lessons along the way.

I have learned to enjoy moments for what they are - not what they could be, not what they weren't, and not what I want them to be.  A year ago, I moved here with hearts in my eyes and love in my heart.  I had also just broken my tibia/fibula in January of 2015 which was a horrendous recovery.  Mix that with being back on my own again, resettling into the community and my life here, dealing with sicknesses and other factors... well, it somehow ended up creating one big mess in the end.  At least that's what I've thought throughout the past year.  But the truth is that I love those moments for what they were.  I still laugh, I still smile, and I still have good memories that filter through my brain when I think of this time last year.

Was it a shitty way to go out of a relationship?  Absolutely.  I was way blindsided.  I was called vulgar and horrible names that should never be said to a woman (or anyone).  Some things will never be forgotten, especially the fear that I lived through the months and summer following.  I had also held a lot of anger and bitterness in my heart for a long time.  But that was a chapter that I have learned to let go.  To forgive.  To love what was.  I have no control over it now.  That's another thing I've learned to do this year - let go of what I don't have control over.  It's brought me so much peace in my life!  I recognize that I'm powerless against most things, so why waste the energy worrying about it?  It seems like a lot of the lessons learned (or re-learned) have been because I've had some great, wise friends to be able to bounce things off of.  I've gained friends who are honest with me.  Friends who shoot straight and don't bend.  Friends that know exactly when I need coddling.  Friends who have allowed me to be me.  Friends who support my morals and beliefs, even though we may differ on some things.  I've also had friends who have challenged me, stretched me, and reminded me of past goals I wanted to accomplish.  And I have accomplished them!  I've checked off so many things on my bucket list this past year.  Bottom line... I've gained friends who love me.

I have embraced who I am.  What I love.  How I love. Why I love.  Who I love.  I offer love freely, yet only a select few get my unconditional love. I don't love everyone unconditionally.  Sorry not sorry.  I know it's not the Christian way that is taught in the Bible.  I have thought a lot about how and who I interact with, and some people are way out in the outfield while others are in the dugout box with me.  My love is mine to give.  Just because there is attraction doesn't mean there's investment.  And just because there is investment doesn't mean there's an attraction.  I also have realized that different people feed different needs for me.  And I'm totally happy with that!  I am a human, and as the protector of my own heart, I have learned to put up healthy boundaries. At the same time, when I let those walls down, I have also enjoyed each moment of love that I've experienced.  Those thousands of individual moments have pushed me through the year, so thank you to those who have entered my life and loved me back unconditionally and filling the different segments of love.

I've learned that honesty is always the best policy.  Hands down, I had to learn it the hard way (which is not an uncommon trait of mine - learning things the hard way), but it changed my life 100% for the better!  It showed me who I was, and I didn't like what was shown to me.  It humbled my heart and spirit. It put one of my most precious friendships on the line of which I was more afraid of losing than the person I hurt.  I was getting hit from multiple sides within my spirit.  Honesty has ultimately up-ed my notch of maturity big time.  A lot of times, it's the hardest thing to do - especially with good friends and family.  It's hard having to be the one to put a mirror up to someone else's face and feel the backlash.  But I know in my heart that I was honest with myself, and that's all I can do.  During this time, I also learned who my true friends are.  I have learned to make other people a priority who make me a priority.  I am done with one way relationships with others.  And the real people stayed with me through it all.

I have become one with nature and appreciate every single day that I get to experience the view I have just outside my window.  I'm constantly in awe of how close to earth that we are as humans.  I've embraced dirty hands, messy hair, a naked face, and my femininity in its natural state.  I get to watch a beautiful sunset, hear animals at night, and see a thousand stars above my head every night.  I love living where I do!  (The picture was taken as I was writing this blog post.)  With this concept, I've also learned to explore natural ways of healing oneself.  Ways to get off of pharmaceutical drugs.  I've learned so much about herbs, spices, and oils that are just as effective as chemically compounded drugs - but without the huge side effects.  I have actually had many conversations with several different people over this, and it has been wonderful to interact with other like-minded men and women.

I have leaned towards becoming more of a minimalist - keeping only the things that are needed and a few things that are sentimental/meaningful or that bring me joy.  I have allowed a lot of people and things steal my joy this year.  I've even feared blogging on here about my life or thoughts.  But different things throughout this past year (October 2015 - October 2016) have been God saying, "Be still."  And so I've learned to appreciate each day even more bountiful, even if it's stopping all train of thoughts because the sunset is that gorgeous.  Yes!  These are the days that I love.  Finding joy in the little things -even if everything else seems to be going wrong.

I have become a better musician over the past year.  There aren't enough words for the orchestra I play with or the conductor himself.  I've accomplished incredible feats, literal accidents, pushed past sicknesses, and worked my way up from the very back of the violin section to Assistant Concertmaster..... what??!!!  As a musician in an ensemble, most would agree with me and understand how exciting that is to achieve!  It's a recognition of hard work.  I'm quite honored to literally now sit under the baton of this conductor.  He's also helped make some of my bucket list items come true as well add others to the list I never could have dreamed of!  I'm proud that I'm still playing the violin - and even better than when I was in college - after 25 years.

I have celebrated 10 YEARS of sobriety this year!  It sounds like a lot.  It seems longer.  But I am extremely proud that I have grown from that year I used alcohol as a cover up for the low self esteem I had.  This past year, I have had to strongly assert myself and my sobriety.  I've been able to safely be in a bar and not at all feel compelled to drink, and I feel I'm having as good of a time if not better than those that are drunk!  I've been that friend who has been called on because the other person is drunk.  I've met other people who have celebrated big sobriety anniversaries lately and it has encouraged me to keep going.  I have seen how stupid it is to get drunk, not to mention the severe damage it can do to your internal organs and overall health.  I have really been focusing on breaking those generational strongholds this year starting with me.  Even though I've stayed sober for ten years, it's not the time to start drinking again for me.  I may never be able to drink again, but I'm okay with that decision.  And now it's ten years and two weeks.  I think I've done a pretty damn good job.

I have learned to listen to the Holy Spirit's leading and trust God in everything.  I've learned that even though I may not like whatever circumstance I'm in, I know that the Lord has it under control and at the front of His mind.  I am not alone in what I do.  I've had to make some difficult decisions about certain things that has challenged me in ways I never knew I could be challenged.  The times I've chosen Christ over something else, I've been rewarded abundantly every.single.time.  The Lord is my constant.

I've learned it's okay if I don't have children.  Yes.  HUGE statement for those that know my heart intimately.  I have been given the great trust to continue teaching which feeds my desire to love on children and hopefully make a positive influence and change in their life. I have friends who let me "borrow" their kids to spoil them.  I have others whose kids are learning things without me even knowing I was involved in such a positive change.  My deepest desire is to use this obtrusive disability as a platform to reach others who would may otherwise not listen.  To teach respect.  To teach the power of reaching for and achieving goals.  To teach the freedom of feeling confident... not cockiness.  To comfortably dancing in public, to laughing without fear of criticism, and to embrace moments for what they are.  To love.  I don't need my own personal children to experience the feeling of caring like a "mother" would.  It doesn't mean the desire of having my own has gone away, but I recognize it may never happen.  So, I am enjoying the "now's" in life.  What a good feeling to know my heart has been filled so much this year!

This turned out to be the best year I've ever had!  Whoa.  I just realized this as I'm writing this blog post!  I literally was talking to my Mom on the phone and said that this year is coming into a close first with 2012 as the worst year ever.  But typing all this out has made me realize that, yes indeed, this has been a year of great change, great self-evaluation, and great gain.  Man, it's amazing how much positive change can happen for the better when at the time, it may have seemed like the worst thing ever.  Hard lessons make for captive audiences like myself.  God always knows how to get my attention lol.

I've been set free.

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