It’s been a while. So, pardon me while I get some thoughts out. It’s time to clear my head.
Years come and years go, and I think we can all comfortably say that some are better than others. But good or bad, once they’re over, we don’t have the power to change anything about them. And because we can’t change what’s been, we use each new year as an excuse to start again – whatever that means for each of us.
When bookending a year, we’re compelled to reflect on what was – evaluate our past, if you will. And in all honesty, when appraising my own, there were times I felt a little “less blessed” than others. The good old primitive “inequity of God” debate comes to mind. But I quickly remind myself that “fair” was never a promise that was made in life, and as sad as it is, injustice is a key theme in our world. In one way or another, we are all challenged – certainly some more than others. So, for me to believe I am less blessed than anyone else is a criminal thought and a mindset I need to shift. I am blessed – just in a different way than you.
Let’s get into 2019. I’m late to the party. I mean, it’s already February! I’d imagine last year was the greatest for some. For others – maybe not so great. For me? Was it my hardest year? Not by far. I have a few of those under my belt. I’m sure they’ll be topped. I just hope it isn’t anytime soon. Did 2019 have hard times? Yes. I lost my grandpa and another childless year went by in a flash. Did 2019 bring good times? For sure. There were the usual friends and family. There were lots of smiles. We celebrated my husband’s 40th in a big way and my nephew’s 1st. So, yes. 2019 bestowed many gifts but also demanded many sacrifices, and in those ways, it was like all the other years. But we didn’t just close out a year. We sunsetted a decade. So, what was that like?
Every decade is owner to crisis. Thankfully, during our first decade on earth, we’re usually too young to recognize the scope of one. So, while we are all certainly affected and molded by what happens to us as children, there is some sort of protective forcefield surrounding us at that time, and we are temporarily rescued from some of the harshnesses of reality. Not to say those wounds don’t reveal themselves later on or deepen as we get older – because it’s likely they will.
Decade two I’d categorize as wild, unruly, awkward and dysfunctional. As my husband points out, it is the one decade where you go from a child to a teenager to an adult. This transition is fast, disorienting, and weird. But at the time, we’re surrounded by others who are just like us – allies in discomfort – and we somehow plow through.
Then there are our twenties. The time when we are learning so much yet think we already know it all. It’s a time of insecurity, constant comparison, excuses, regrets – but also freedom and fun. Sometimes, I’m unsure how my friends and I survived half of those years, but here we are. We live to tell (or to not).
And now, here I am. Crawling toward 39 (basically 40) at what sometimes feels like a snail’s pace and at other times seems faster than the speed of light. I’ve come to realize that when you want something, life can torture you with its leisurely pace. And when you want to slow things down, it can torment you with a sudden shift to the fast lane. The thirties for me held some of the hardest “adulting” ever. Some dark times. The first half was chock full of adulting and hit me like a ton of bricks. No forcefield. No army of awkward clones to protect me or make me feel supported and understood. No control. No pause. No exit. Just plenty of confusion, surprise, sadness, stress, and angst like none I had ever experienced. But I struggled through those tough times and survived to use their lessons, learning slowly that each brick thrown can either be an element of destruction or an invaluable coping mechanism for the future – tools to add to my big bag of tricks. If you have enough experience (albeit hard) to afford you what you truly need in life – wisdom, patience, resilience, humility, compassion, gratitude, knowledge, and acceptance – don’t be angered by it, be thankful for it. Be content.
With all that said, these are the things I am thankful to know and happy to share…
- We have no control over many things in life. Determine what you can control and focus on that.
- You can and will be surprised by the same things over and over again. Try not to be surprised. 😉
- No one escapes unscathed. Be kind to those you know nothing about.
- Silent battles are the hardest fought.
- There is always something gained from something lost.
- Social media can be the devil – hindering growth and diminishing self-worth. But it can also help in many ways. Find those ways.
- You will never be as young as you are today. This is a good one and something I never truly thought about until recently.
- Regrets are truly a waste of time.
We know what we did with the past years of our lives. What will we do with the next ones? Remember, we aren’t promised a fair life, and no one owes us a thing. You could be the kindest person, the brightest student, the hardest worker, or the sweetest friend, and still, life owes you nothing. Don’t await payment or reward. Stick to your path of goodness. Take time to recognize your shortcomings and try to improve, but be very proud of your achievements, no matter how small they may seem because it’s important to be proud of yourself. And most importantly, never believe you are less blessed than the next person. We are all blessed in our own ways.