There have been many years in my life I was more than happy to see end with not much more than a ‘Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.’ I felt that way about 2011 frequently, in fact. But I’ve come to realize that every hardship was necessary for my personal growth even if it felt excruciating at the time. While moving on is certainly healthy and necessary, I think it’s also important to honor the year passed, the battles we fought (both those won and lost), acknowledge the pain we experienced and spend some time ruminating on lessons learned.
I had very high hopes for 2011. My 33rd year, I thought, would be a lucky one for me, worlds better than the previous year. But then, that’s what everyone always thinks, right? I don’t know that lucky would be the right word to use for my 2011 but it was a very important year.
I had to dig deep and admit to myself that my heart just wasn’t in my current profession any longer, and then dig even deeper to discover what it was I truly wanted to do. Once I figured that out, I had to deal with the reality of my decision: I had to return to school, more than 11 years after receiving my Bachelors degree.
My divorce was finalized in July and I’m finally feeling a sense of closure with that entire chapter of my life.
I took a hiatus from belly dance to work on body image issues and I found the fat acceptance community. I broke free from a lifelong cycle of dieting and decided to just let my body be what it wants to be.
I began to create a personal self-care plan and made myself a priority in my own life. I’m finally learning to cut myself some slack.
I also dealt with some toxic friendships, a terribly mismanaged and negative workplace and a very serious case of burnout with a tinge of compassion fatigue. All but the first will unfortunately continue into the New Year but I am finally learning safe coping skills and strategies to keep me sane in such an unhealthy environment.
Concerns over money, health and work often ground my wheels to a halt and my frustration and worry caused me to lose sight of larger efforts, both personally and professionally. But sitting here now, writing this, I realize how much I accomplished and how much I have grown over this past year. For that, I will gently kiss 2011 goodbye and bid her a graceful exit. I’m ready to usher in 2012 with welcoming arms and my resilient Appalachian spirit. I’m ready for whatever you’ve got to throw at me, 2012.