It's New Year's Eve and like everyone else, I'm thinking about the year behind me, the year ahead of me and the person I am right now. So where have I been, where I am going and what have I learned?
January 2014 marked one year since we lost Grams. I learned that with that kind of loss, life is never quite the same. We live with memories that conjure up smiles and laughs but also an ache that will never go away, one that I'm learning to live with. Now that we're coming up on almost two years since she left, I can hardly believe it's been that long. But, I realize each day how much of her is a part of me and how strong I am because of her.
February, the month of love, I fell more for Rich and happier every day that he is in my life...though March took him away for three months (#englandstolemyboyfriend). During those three months, with yoga teacher training nearing its end, I found I had become part of a small family I am eternally grateful for. All that I've learned from my months of training and through my friendships with those eight people is irreplaceable. Not sure what I would have done without them.
April brought me to England, where for the first time in my international travels, I found myself with a deep affinity for America. (You'd think squatting over a hole in Beijing would have inspired that same emotion, but not so much.) There were times walking around Leeds I nearly went up to other tourist-looking people to ask if they were from the states. I managed to refrain from quizzing strangers, and continued to wander around with not so much homesickness, but a feeling of disconnect.
A few days after coming home, I, for the first time in my life, was laid off. Which, like many people said to me at the time, may have been the best thing that's ever happened to me. My life veered off course and the road less traveled has been a really great, albeit sometimes extremely stressful, one. With a lot more time on my hands, I got to focus on yoga and finishing up teacher training strong. I felt, for the first time since graduating college, that I truly owned my life and my time.
By July, I was freelancing and finding that I could get by on my own. I took time to figure out what I "really wanted to do when I grew up" and found that it's what I've always loved doing—writing. Though money-wise it wasn't quite enough, I started making a small living writing and designing. I was, though, working from my kitchen table, casting aside years of a hellish commute, which was fantastic. I dabbled more in the "do things that scare you" arena and found the payoffs to be huge.
August brought me new clients and a bit of a breather from worrying about money and bills. I made some amazing new friends through my new gigs that I am inspired by and look up to. But just as quickly as I felt I had started moving in the right direction, I did fall off course for a bit, which brought with it health problems and headaches (not to mention BILLS — thank you overpriced and lackluster health insurance plan). But that too was a gift.
In November, I made the decision to go to India for 14 days. Still not working full-time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go since I didn't have to ask anyone but myself for the time off. I struggled with the decision for awhile because, well, it scared the crap out of me. Despite having been all over the world, this was out of my comfort zone. I'm going with strangers, it's the longest trip I've ever taken, and hell, I don't have a full-time job so handing over that credit card wasn't easy! I so wanted to be the girl that could just pick up and go to India. But then I realized...I could. So I am.
This year I learned that I need to listen to my gut. Not I should...I need. I learned that my intuition is pretty spot on, I just need to learn how to trust that feeling better...and breathe. Even for the little things like that voice in my head that said, "I think you may have dropped your glasses on the bus," that I ignored, when, in fact, I had dropped my glasses on the bus.
And now that 2014 is coming down to its last hours, I'm excited for the new year and what it holds for me. One of the most valuable lessons for me this year has been learning how to be grateful. Even in those moments when it feels like everything is falling apart, to try to find the purpose in them and be grateful. I'm grateful I had the time I had in teacher training; I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned in losing my job and perceived security; I'm grateful I've been able to earn a living doing things that make me happy; I'm beyond grateful for the people in my life; I'm grateful that for the times I took one step forward only to take two back, that I was given the chance to do so.
I'm not saying I've by any means mastered this, because if you know me, you know I can be quite the little stress ball, but it's something I'm going to continue to work on in 2015 and beyond. One of my yoga teachers posted this earlier today and I think it sums up the year (and all years) beautifully:
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful - Gautama Buddha
So cheers to what we've learned, have yet to learn and what we can teach each other. Happy 2015.