As 2016 comes to an end, I am anxiously waiting to tear the page off of the calendar to embark on the new challenges, chances and adventures that most hope a new year will bring. Because 2016 has been rough.
I started the year with the loss of a dear friend to suicide and ended it in with the loss of one of my closest friends in this entire world (juvenile statement – perhaps? Shut up! Stop judging!) to an incurable and very rare cancer, so yes, I can say with confidence that 2016 has been a rough and crappy year.
With all the life crap that has happened between these two defining moments of 2016 I learned some very valuable lessons:
Take control of your life:
· Don’t like your job – go find a new one.
· Bored with life’s mundane groundhogs day routine? Sign up for an art class, take yoga, go for a damn walk.
· Hard times financially? Pick up extra gigs; you have a skill set – use it.
· Want to lose weight? Eat right and exercise.
Step up, step up to the plate that is your life and take control of whatever you need to take control of and make your life worth living.
Respect and love yourself:
· Take care of yourself. Make yourself the priority.
Not much to say about this one – this is about that oxygen mask theory of self care – put on your oxygen mask before you can put it on for anyone else.
· Husband, wife, partner, friend hurt you or let you down? Let them know respectfully or let that shit go.
· Feel them emotions- all of them, don’t bury the sadness, the anger, the love, the joy. Feel it all.
There is no room in life to lie to yourself or others. The truth will always catch up to you. I am seeing with my own two eyes how the guilt associated with the lies that someone has told themselves and those they claim they loved eat away at them and it’s ugly. Someone once told me that guilt is a useless emotion unless you have something to be guilty about. Ain’t that the truth.
Keep your mouth shut:
· There is a time to talk and there is a time to shut up.
I learned this one very late in 2016. I said too many things in 2016. Shame on me, but moving on.
Just Show up:
· If you EVER question whether to reach out to someone during their darkest days, during the hard times, don’t … don’t question it one bit – SHOW UP – call, text, drop off a note at their house, anything. The person you are reaching out to will respond, it may not be immediately but they will respond and when they respond it will because your effort will have meant more than anything to that person during those dark days.
My sister- in-law’s BFF gave me this advice four years ago, and it got put to test this year more than ever. Showing up for my best friend and her family was imperative, and I am so glad I got this advice. Thank you Lileen!
· You are WORTH It. Don’t let anyone devalue your worth. Everything you want in life, YOU DESERVE! You’ll make mistakes but that doesn’t mean that you are not valuable. Something is clearly wrong with a person for them to want to deliberately be rude, hurtful and mean to another human being, to do this purposely with the intent to devalue is awful and even more pathetic when it is someone they supposedly love. I am telling you at this very moment – YOU ARE WORTH IT. Believe it, own it, live it! My favorite quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Ant that’s it. Those are the lessons I learned in 2016. When life unfolds and the crappy parts are laying at your feet you need to realize how important these life lessons are for survival.
We make life much harder than it really needs to be – we are our own worst enemy. STOP, collaborate and listen (c’mon I had too!) I lost a lot of me this year. I let too many factors seep into my soul and destroy a part of me, couple that with losing two friends under the age of 45 and yeah, it messes with you. But I know from experiencing the loss of my father that life moves on. The mourning does not end in a year, two years and I imagine never but if my dad’s death taught me anything it taught me that all the questions I have will be left unanswered. Trying to find the answers that will never be found is a waste of energy and thus you’ll be wishing your life away. You need to live through the mourning.
You have choices.
Make the good choices.
Life moves on.
Move with it.
You deserve it.
And as cliché as it sounds I plan on honoring the lives of my friends while living my own. I expect that I will continue to have good, bad and ugly days, and during the rough spots of my journey I fully expect my friends to guide me, they may haunt me as well but they will guide me.
Happy New Year!