What This Past Year Has Taught Me About Life

As 2016 comes to a close many of us take time to reflect on the current year and some of us make New Year’s resolutions for the next year that more than likely will last through the first week or two of January.

I for one am not a huge New Year resolution person. I like to continue on my life path year after year.  This consists of improving upon my self-acceptance, and to give more selflessly each year to others.  Sometimes I may add in a tid bit here and there; step out of my comfort zone more, go on a solo vacation and/or solo back packing trip, volunteer more.

This year has not been kind to me. In fact, the past two years have been my hardest years I’ve had in a really long time. In 2015 I found out about my now ex-husband’s affair, which could parallel a Jerry Springer episode. (Ashley Madison mistress, fucking in marital bed while I was working, introducing my daughter to said mistress while we were still married)  And that is just the tip of the ice burg. This  year my beloved dad, the only parent I have had the past 30 years died two months after getting diagnosed with cancer.

While I was going through my divorce I read somewhere that divorce is the second most traumatic event one can go through behind the death of a loved one. So just to sum things up, I went through the two of the worst things that can happen to someone two years in a row.

What has helped me the past two years has been my amazing support system. My family and friends have been there for me when I was at my lowest of lows, and I will forever be grateful. Starting this blog has also helped.  I had wanted to start one for many years and after my separation I figured there was no better time than to lay it all out there for thousands of people to read. I was amazed at how many people related to my story and commented how they too felt like I had at one time or another. In times of sorrow and despair it helps more than I ever realized to know that you’re not alone. It was validation that no, I wasn’t crazy.  I was grieving and doing what I had to in order to survive the day.

I have spent the last year dating myself and getting to know the new me. I got myself a therapist, and have done a ton of self-work in the process. I’m getting closer and closer to where I want and need to be.

What has helped me the most through this year is living a life of gratitude. That has actually been what has saved me through this giant sad and tragic ordeal. Every morning when I wake up I thank God that I woke up. As hard, shitty and unfair life is sometimes, I still want to be a part of it. Because there is other days when life is good, people are kind and there is love to feel and reciprocate. I am grateful that I have my health. I read horrible stories on social media about too many lives cut short due to cancer and other unfathomable diseases. I always say that as long as I have my health, everything else is just gravy.

My dad was the most positive person I have known. Everyone loved my dad and I mean everyone. We didn’t have enough chairs at his Celebration of Life because so many people showed up to pay their respects. As young as I can remember my dad always instilled positive values to my sister and I. Growing up my dad would always tell me after I would say I couldn’t do something that there is no such word at can’t. He would tell me that I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up, that our minds were more powerful than we realized and with a positive attitude and visualization of what I wanted, I could achieve.

He lived with those philosophies his entire life. But, he still died 2 months after getting diagnosed with cancer.

I was pissed! His positive attitude didn’t get him out of this. Yet I know firsthand of people that don’t appreciate life and have a bad attitude that have beat the odds when it came to their health and they are still around. What the hell?!

My rose colored glasses were gone. I had moments where I doubted living a positive life even mattered in the grand scheme of things. Shitty things just sometimes happen to us no matter how we choose to live our lives. Good or bad.

But, I had an epiphany the other day. Even though shitty things happen to good people all the time, I’m still going to live my life with a glass half full attitude. Even if my life is cut short or something else bad happens, at least I’ll have been a joyful person while still here.

And that my friend is what I’ll take into 2017. You always have to look on the bright side, even when life doesn’t seem too bright. Count what blessings you have, because I can bet you have more than you realize.

Divorce, Grief, Holidays

December, why oh why do you hate me so much?

Oh December, why do you hate me so much? Thirty years ago you decided that December 20th would be a great day for my 39 year old mother to die, leaving a 12 year old pre-pubescent seventh grader with buck teeth and a mullet left to figure out life on her own.  Fast forward 29 years and you decide that December 27th would be a fantastic time for my husband’s mistress to call me to let me know about their year and a half long affair. Why, why must you hurt me so?

I have hated the holidays ever since that fateful December day in 1985, when my family decided that even though my 39 year old mother’s funeral was on December 23rd we should move on like business as usual and celebrate Christmas Eve as we had in years pass by eating an amazing meal my Aunt would cook and all the adults would drink too much while all of us kids waiting eagerly for the large sum of money waiting for us in a card from our generous Aunt. I remember that particular Christmas Eve as if I was watching it from a dream. I was 12 years old, and my life as I had known had been turned upside down.  Everyone was acting as if nothing had happened even though just the day before they had attended my mom, their Aunt’s, their daughter’s, their wife’s funeral. But, that’s pretty typical of my family and so many others. If you don’t talk about your hurt/anger/frustration it’ll magically go away. Isn’t that how it works? Not so much.

It’s three days before Christmas and I’m STILL waiting to get into the Christmas spirit. But, having a six year old little girl who loves this time of year means that I need to suck it up and put on my happy face. I am so grateful that in the first holiday season since my divorce I get to spend it with my daughter. I am not sure how I would have survived this holiday alone. But, I don’t know how I’m going to survive next year, or the next. It seems that no matter how great my life is, as soon as December hits all I want to do is lay in bed, pull the covers over my head and not get out until January 1st. EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.  I have self-diagnosed myself as having PTSD. I believe that as soon as December hits I morph into a confused, naïve, shy twelve year old girl who’s life is about to change the course forever.

I feel guilty when so many people are gushing and shouting from the rooftop how magical this holiday season is. I feel like a scrooge and I want to tell these people to fuck off. I can’t even muster up the energy to listen to Christmas songs in my car. I bit the bullet one day while my daughter and I were in the car and I asked her if she wanted to listen to any Christmas songs and by the grace of God she didn’t want to.

Whew, got out of that one.

What’s strange is that as miserable as I have felt all month, on the actual anniversary of my mother’s passing, I didn’t feel anything. Nothing! And this was the 30th year she has not been in my life. Isn’t that weird?

I  guess the beauty of life is that in order to truly enjoy the good moments, we need the bad in order to feel true happiness and be grateful for those amazing moments.  As I have come to realize life is a roller coaster. And when push comes to shove, I’ll take the bad because I know how good the good can be.