2015 didn’t begin super glamorously for me.
Still reeling from the emotional wasteland of 2014, I was sad, lonely, and sad about being lonely. Even though I was with friends and had text messages around from the country beeping to my phone, I couldn’t get over what was missing in my life. I spent the first few hours of the year texting a friend some pretty self-destructive thoughts, letting all the negativity spill out without a filter. The next morning I tried to put myself together with a solo movie date and some journaling but it was a few months before I could emerge out of the murky tangle of my own head.
Then, piece by piece, my settled life started to come together. I took an overseas trip with a friend, I enjoy lots of family time in April and May, I met my partner, I got a raise, I moved into my own apartment, I ran a marathon, I told stories on a live stage. There was not a big shift or monumental breaking point, rather a lot of small steps that eventually added up.
At the end of this year, I am in a much better place than I was a year ago (even so noted by friends and family). I can look back to 2015 and feel proud of what I’ve accomplished and how far I’ve come. All the pain and remorse from the last 16 months do not feel wasted, rather as a torrential storm that needed to pass.
For the world, though, 2015 was a heartbreaking year. Terrorist attacks, senseless shootings, hate whipped at each other through asinine political gestures and nasty worded Facebook posts. We often had to search hard and in tiny places to find fragments of light, and, when we found them, we let those little things be reminder enough that we, the world, would be OK.
While far from perfect and rarely content, I am extremely grateful for all that I gained and this period in my life when all seems to be well. However, I know that it can’t last and at some point a mountain will appear. That’s life, and as Cheryl Strayed says, life is never ever kidding.
I want to say that every storm comes with purpose and resolution, but I can’t because it’s not true. Some storms are worse than others and we are lucky if we get to the other side. When you do make it, when life starts to fall back into place, you find a confidence that wasn’t there before. You feel ready and faithful enough to handle whatever comes next, and that is the real beauty, the thing we strive for. When we can come out stronger and more aligned with our true self, which is what I felt this year, then obstacles seems worth it.
Like any of us, I am not sure what 2016 will bring. While each year contains the possibility of hope, love, and dreams come true, there is also the opportunity for heartbreak, suffering and loss. Some of us will find what we’ve wanted most, and others will have to face their scariest of fears.
Whatever happens, we need to hold on. We need to remember the things we are made of and that most obstacles can’t outlast shear faith and grit. So keep going, because you deserve to see how strong you are.