As the year draws to a close I find myself reflecting upon the past calendar year. It was filled with a lot of ups and downs and one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. Perhaps that is why sitting here now I cannot help but to think about the beauty of new beginnings and all that can be learned from them.
2018 was a year of change and learning curves. For the first time in my life I found myself becoming negative, which is insane for someone that is fundamentally an eternal optimist, but the year did a number on me… physically, mentally, emotionally and everything in between. A lot of things did not work out that seemed like they should have, I did a lot of things that were not necessarily aligned with who I am and I lost one of the oldest relationships I had with my only sibling.
My brother and I had no relationship for the majority of 2018, the reasons for which I may never know. I had no idea how much this relationship meant to me until it was gone and boy did that loss do a number on me. I was distraught emotionally, mentally drained and physically ill. I had never seen the manifestation of the emotional and mental in physical form until this year. First in a severe illness then in the injury of not one, but both of my ankles, robbing me of my only sanity, yoga, running and working out.
However, in reconciliation I have seen the beauty of the new beginning. Will our relationship ever be the same? No, that is truly impossible as I am not the same person and there are some hurts that you never get over. Nevertheless, we are forming and negotiating a new relationship, which in many ways may be better.
Our old relationship was one that was more like parent and child, as I raised my brother after my mother passed away. This was most likely why I felt the way I did, like someone had ripped out my heart stomped on it and then thrown some semblance of it back into my body. That relationship was severed beyond repair. I will never be able to trust him or have that kind of unfiltered, raw respect and love for him again, but what I have been working endlessly towards is figuring out how to create a newer, healthier relationship with him for myself. Sometimes it is a walk in the park, other times I definitely think back to what happened and wonder what are you doing? He never even told you why he did it, he’ll definitely do it again, why waste your time? However, in those times I think about the new relationship we have been creating and
see the beauty that the painful ending created in the new beginning.
My brother and I are able to do fun things together and get to know each other as two adults that are only a few years apart in age, as opposed to a child and mother. I feel that this second chance at our relationship will ultimately be a great thing for both of us and allow us to both grow as people and develop a friendship and mutual respect.
However, what I learned from all of that is that it is so incredibly easy to get bogged down by all the negative or perceived negative things that happen to us and to lose sight of the journey we are actually on.
I have been working with a career coach for almost two years now and it took her and my partner saying STOP before I realized the self-fulfilling prophecy I was creating. I always used to say that everyone was allowed to wallow for a day about a bad thing that happened to them and then they had to move on, but over the course of the past year I forgot how to do that. I was so concerned with making it through the hour, day, week, that I lost sight of what I was actually working towards.
I think a lot of this had to do with fear. Fear of admitting that I was scared, fear of what other people would think, fear of failing again after so much perceived failure, fear of going back to school, fear of not getting into school, fear of forever working a meaningless job, my life had become defined by fear.
That night I sat down in the midst of the first snowstorm of the season and thought for the first time about what I wanted to do with my career life. This seems insane, I know, but never once had I ever thought about what I wanted to do. I just followed a path that was laid out for me graduate college, get an office job, do the job…… That night I visualized my future life: getting into graduate school for public health and social work, learning, volunteering, completing fieldwork, graduating, developing a program for schools to educate youth on nutrition and healthy living, developing a separate program for adults on the same topic, making sure people know how to manage chronic illness with not just medication, the list went on and on and you know what for the first time in a long time I was happy, so happy that I forgot about working in a warehouse and all the opportunities that had not worked out. I found the joy in the unknown, in a new beginning, and everything that that entails. It may not work out the way I imagined, but I now have that drive and passion and a much clearer vision of who I am and what I want and perhaps most importantly have learned to find the beauty in starting over again.
“And suddenly you know, it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”