New years day might be one of my favorites, especially when it is not spent feeling ill from the night before. Last night we rung in the new year with some neighbors that we have only met a few times, and their FIVE children; all after R and I stuffed our faces at one of our favorite locally owned Italian joints. Carbohydrates & cheese, mmmmm.....
This past year has been weighing heavily on my mind lately; I am generally a reasonably positive person so with 2011 bringing me so much heck, my attitude towards life in general has been less than fluffy.
In 2011, I was forced into vulnerability. I was humbled and life really challenged me, seemingly to no avail, in ways I didn't always feel prepared for; .
At this exact moment last year I was sitting at a diner having breakfast with R, one of my very best friends from Chicago, Stefanie, and her boyfriend Jeff. I had that same nostalgic feeling I am sure we all have about a New Year. Opportunity, success, renewed & restored relationships and optimism.
In that moment among my friends and love, we were gloating in the high of the rather successful 2010 we collectively experienced, and it never occurred to me that in nine very short days my world would completely change, never returning to what it once was.
I was visiting R in PSL for the weekend, the air was slightly chilly but the sun was hot, we were spending our morning enjoying dips in the jacuzzi and a beautiful Florida winter day, it was a Sunday; I would be headed back to Orlando in just a few hours so I could be fresh for work the next day.
That's when my step mother, who was also my employer of three years HR Manager, called.
Layoffs. Twelve people, I was one of them. Home Builders just couldn't survive a bad economy and a Chinese drywall fix in the budget.
I had never been let go from a job before, so it was a hard pill to swallow, but... I was surprisingly calm. The two months prior were spent withdrawing off of a bad medication, so thankfully my freak out button was maxed out.
Being the optimist that I am, it didn't take me long to see what a good opportunity this was for me. I was being paid severance, I didn't really like my job that much anyway, but was too afraid to leave and now was my chance to really be who I wanted to be. Less than a week later I found a new job, where I moved to a manager position almost immediately and a month later I decided that job was really stifling and unsatisfying, so I quit. I had never done that before either.
Ever since then I have been working my ass off in jobs I never thought I would have. In the spring I completely redesigned my grandmothers yard and home. I spent every afternoon fine tuning my green thumb, bringing her yard and my spirit back to life.
Those afternoons spent in the sun; repairing, digging and pruning were more than a landscaping project; those days were therapeutic, designed to repair the broken spirit I had been carrying around with me for so long.
Then the summer came and I spent my days in hiding and my nights dreaming of the next stage in my life. How I would get there, when and what it would take to do so; then it happened, my love promised me forever and everything after that seemed to fall into place. A whirlwind of good tidings got me through the rest of the summer and into the fall where it seemed like my life had truly just begun.
Now entering the new year I have the same nostalgic feelings I've had all the years prior to this one and I realized that for every tear shed there have been a million more smiles, for every frustration there was a milestone and with every change, a new purpose.
Life is about forgetting your past, forgiving your failures, accepting change and vibrating at your full capacity, even if you feel like its getting you no where.
I said earlier this week that 2011 was a "beeotch," and you know what? It was, it was probably one of the hardest years of my life thus far; emotionally, spiritually, financially, socially... but it got me to this place. This place that I now call home, with this person who feels like home even when nothing is familiar, this place where I know that I am ready to make my dream happen with the person who is nothing short of a dream to me.
This must be the place where I was meant to be all along.
This year is going to be the best one yet, even if dark shadows lerk in the future, I'm ready for you 2012.
Happy New Year to all, and may all the ups and downs come with the peace and serenity you need to see all of the wonderful opportunities life will throw your way.