As 2015 comes to a close, I’d like to take a small
affordable, worthwhile trip down Memory Lane.
With the approaching New Year within reach, it is a humbling and
validating exercise to reflect on the joys and even challenges had this
year. Whether you’ve ended a
relationship, lost a job, made a new friend, failed at a diet, or finally took
that dream vacation- chances are, you’ve gained more than free time, some extra
pounds or Instagram- worthy photos. Day
by day, moment to moment, and with each outpour of tears, laughter or a
friendly smile- you’ve evolved.
Sure, I can focus on my beautiful summer wedding or our big move to Europe or the fancy new job. I could proudly declare that this year, I celebrated my 9th anniversary of sobriety. I can applaud myself for completing my first year living abroad or for finally starting a retirement account. But while these are momentous achievements that earn me a seat at the adults’ table, they hardly give me a reason to get up in the morning. Rather, it is regular contact with Mom, watching the snow fall, story time with my nephew, sharing the journey of recovery with others, playing video games with my husband, and knowing that I’m good at my job- that give meaning and purpose to my life; these are the moments I celebrate in 2015.
Even though my outward appearance has changed dramatically, my personal transformation has been even greater.
This year, I was a better daughter, sister, auntie, and long-distance friend. I discovered that I am actually good at keeping in contact with loved ones back home, and my travel mementos have provided opportunities to connect with them even more.
I learned that I am a competent traveler: I no longer feel anxious or ill prepared; conversely, I feel that the world is my oyster.
In 2015, I felt myself become itchy with alcoholism. With the seclusion of my previous home, the big summer wedding to plan, and several relocations, it has been difficult to get to meetings and I am hungry for recovery. The lesson there, as is always the case with us alkies, is that we are no good at this thing alone. Once again, I learned that I need and depend on AA for my wellbeing.
Professionally, I feel capable and gratified by my work however, there are times when I sense that I’m completely out of my league. Though uncomfortable and disconcerting, this kind of modesty is precisely what I need to continue growing as a professional as well as a spiritual being.
And finally, my marriage… No one has quite challenged my character, tested my serenity, or acted as a greater mirror for me than my husband. Both mortifying and amusing, I have uncovered character defects within me that range from shameful to outright ridiculous. Getting off my spiritual pedestal, saying “I’m sorry,” and sharing the popcorn are simple, yet surprisingly problematic adjustments for me. But I have also learned to be a better listener, compromise more, and celebrate my spouse- all things he does very well.
This year, I got a little better at being a good human being.
In the final days of 2015, commemorate your accomplishments, realizations, and failures. Own the good and the bad; may it prepare you, shape you, and comfort you on the journey ahead.
*If you haven’t already done so, accept My Selfish Christmas Challenge and ring in the New Year as an esteemed, self-possessed person. Read about the journey back to self in previous posts and on social media #myselfishchristmaschallenge