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2015: Lessons from a Year on Time-Out

*Read all the way through for a special announcement


I’ve been working on a 2015 wrap up post for a couple of weeks now. By working on, I mean that I’d given it a great title, Lessons from a Year on Time Out, and written a couple of sentence. The words, much as they’ve done in the whole of 2015, just weren’t coming. They were fluffy, they were nice, they weren’t real. I don’t write well when I’m not being real about the topic. This one was difficult. This one is personal, way personal, but maybe one of you can somewhat relate, and if so, it was worth sharing. So here goes…


 

On Tuesday a social media friend posted an Instagram photo of some books she’s getting ready to read. One of the books was Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes. I double tapped. Then a while later, I came back to the photo, looking at that book again. This time I left a comment, “Let me know about Year of Yes. Just read the summary and it sounds interesting.” Ten minutes passed and I pulled out my tablet, opened the Nook app and purchased the book. It was about 10:30 p.m. It was about 3:30 a.m. when I finished reading it. The first book I read in one sitting in years. I took pictures of the screen in some passages and text them to a friend “I am Shonda, Shonda is me!”

Whatever that spark is that makes each one of us alive and unique…mine had gone. Stolen like the paintings on the wall. The flickering flame responsible for lighting me up from the inside, making me glow, keeping me warm…my candle had been blown out. I was shut down. I was tired. I was afraid. Small. Quiet.

That passage defined how I’d been feeling this past year. A year that included a Thanksgiving weekend spent in tears and thoughts about leaving this world behind. But I’ll come back to that Thanksgiving day a little later…

If I’m being honest, all that I’d been feeling this past year had been going on much longer than that, just possibly more intensely in 2015.

I knew I was lost, I’d tried to find myself in red lipstick, self-acceptance, and self-love, but none of those efforts mattered because the truth, as I found out, was that I was angry at the world. I was resentful at the fact that I’d worked so hard all my life to be a good person only to be denied the thing I wanted most: The white picket fence (actually optional) and the husband and kids. I was on a constant search for validation for my anger and resentment, and when I didn’t receive it, those emotions would intensify. I became a martyr in my own mind. I knew I had to mourn the loss of those things and thought I knew how, but I truly didn’t.

So I retreated into my own world, not wanting to infect the world with my toxicity…

Finally I just…gave up. My friends self-selected down to a smaller core group. I stayed home more…. More time alone. More time hiding.

Losing yourself does not happen all at once. Losing yourself happens one no at a time. No to going out tonight. No to catching up with that old college roommate. No to attending that party. No to going on a vacation. No to making a new friend. Losing yourself happens one pound at a time. ~Year of Yes

Oh, did I not mention my weight gain over the last few years of losing myself. I won’t share the number, but it’s significant.

So there I was on Thanksgiving weekend. Alone, both by circumstance and choice. Fall is my busiest and craziest time of the year at work so I wanted to take the weekend to rest, and since there really wasn’t anything planned, it worked out.

I’d been somewhat aware of my anger and self-destruction so I’d focused sometime on my weight loss and lost some weight. I’d also started meditating and had begun to feel peace more often. I was stressed at work, but it wasn’t manifesting itself as anger as often. I thought I was on a better path, but it was the freaking holidays and they get me every damn time.

So there I was, and all that I’d been feeling for so many years overwhelmed me and all I could think was how I couldn’t do this anymore. How I’d lost my strength and the thought of not having to keep trying sounded like such an easy answer to all of it. And so I accepted the tears and all of my emotions rushed out of me in a tidal wave of tears and it may sound trite, but I felt cleansed. The anger and resentment that had been controlling me, that had made me want to be so controlling was replaced by calm and peace and it’s carried over the last weeks of the year.

I don’t make new years resolutions, though I respect those that do—shoutout to the #newyearnewme peeps—and can understand that sometimes a new year, much like a new day, a new week, etc… can bring with it the feeling of opportunity for better/different/more.

My better/different/more began on that Thanksgiving weekend during which I resolved to live a different life than I’d been living. To reconnect with my family and with the friends who managed to love me at worst and not run away from me; to accept and appreciate the reality of my life, and to adjust my dreams to that reality.

So as I finish this tale of woe is me, I’ve come to the conclusion that though the  execution of this post may be different than it’s initial intention, the original title still fits. When a kid is angry and not themselves, a time out can work, so that’s what 2015 was, my year on a self-imposed time-out with a lot of lessons in between. I am better for it.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Update…the plan has been postponed, so no announcement for the time being.

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