As with the close of any door, we turn and look back on the events that led us through the threshold and ahead to any opportunity that may come our way. Some we plan for, others we can’t imagine. 2017 was a hard year filled with negativity, fear, anger, but also hope, love, and abundance. As I write this, two of my favorite people are getting married in front of their friends and family. I learned a lot about myself this year, some thing’s I liked and others I don’t, but I learned that I am in control of the things I want to change.
There are two quotes by Byron Katie, which I hold close to my heart, “We all get what we need, exactly when we need it,” and “To believe a thought is to exist in an imaginary world, however real it may seem.” I hold onto these, because when we feel like we are at our worst, deep in the shadows, unable to pull ourselves up, know that there is always light and there is always a way. In my darkest of moments I got what I needed, because it was when I needed it. The universe knew it to be true; therefore I knew it to be true, or rather I had to trust it to be true. I’m not saying there won’t be down and dark days, but it’s how we handle them, believe them, and use them that matters.
I cried more often than not, quietly and alone, afraid to let others in and would often run or bury myself into something busy so I wouldn’t have to face the darkness I was feeling. When asked, “How are you?” I would often answer, “Great!” even though I wasn’t. I questioned myself, believed the negative thoughts about myself, told myself everything was ok when it wasn’t. I was unable to see that the universe was providing me with what I needed. I experienced depression like I hadn’t before, because I gave into it. I let it pull me down into the deepest of wells because I pulled myself down to the deepest of wells. As I write this I realize that others might be questioning my words, stating, “that’s not how depression works,” and you would be correct. It’s how it worked for me. It might be different for you. My experience with depression is unique to me.
I experienced really low lows and really high highs this year. I questioned myself, my existence, my purpose, but I also saw my reason, my path, and myself. I said yes to something that scared me a year ago, but was unprepared for the journey it would take me on. I started on a path to reconnect spiritually. This practice opened my eyes to my potential and taught me some wonderful life lessons, one of which being God doesn’t punish or give us more than we can handle. God wants for us. I fell in love with myself, but I had to find myself along the way.
Throughout this year I realized that happiness is relative. It is in the eye of the beholder and what makes one person “happy”, might make another person question. This was a concept I struggled to understand. What does happiness look like? We are conditioned to believe happiness is a trait everyone must have through wealth, love, big purchases, big life events, important career choices, being right, but happiness is not something we universally come across. What makes a person happy is unique. I found myself not being happy. Even as I write this I realize I’m not happy. I have happy moments, but overall I’m not…and you know what? That’s ok. I will be. I’m on a path to being happy, my happy, and I’m ok with that not looking right to everyone.
2017 was a year of self-discovery I used the word hate more often than I’d like to admit, when the truth is I don’t hate. I argued with others both online and off, when in reality I like discussion and respect all views. I found myself needing to prove others wrong, but who was I to say I was right? I stopped looking inward and instead looked for answers outside of myself in superficial ways. I disconnected from the very thing I need to be connected to the most; myself. I discovered myself in ways that most wouldn’t understand, and came out the other side knowing “I’m a fucking great human.” I love this saying, curse word and all, because it is true. Sexuality, gender, wealth, occupation, education, none of this matters to me, not in the grand scheme of things. I am me, a fucking great human being who wants the same for everyone.
So why am I writing all this down? Why am I pouring out my life over the last year in a long-winded, over indulgent piece of writing? Because I believe in the power of the word and bottling all of this up did nothing for me, but saying it aloud could help others. It certainly helps me. I’m writing about 2017, but in reality I have probably been feeling this way, much longer. I became depressed. I turned away from those who love me, hid my true feelings, even myself because I didn’t want to make others uncomfortable. I lied to myself about the reasons, used the current political and social climate as a cause, but that’s only because I allowed it do so. None of this was the cause, just the excuse.
My point is this, 2017 is coming to a close and I’m still here. I’m happy I’m here. I found love, reason, and a light within. I procrastinated important happenings in my life because I couldn’t get out of bed or find the correct words to put on the page. I allowed myself to believe my own negative thoughts. I don’t want to close 2017 thinking of the negative things that I experienced or believed, so I want to list out a few of the positive experiences that occurred over this past year. I want to end 2017 just how I will start 2018; with gratitude. I am grateful for
- Shooting footage for a documentary film about the town I spent many summers
- Starting a Masters program in Mental Health Counseling
- Turning in the proposal for my PhD in Media Psychology
- Making new friends
- Finding a spiritual family
- Losing a car in a car accident, but finding a better one
- Not getting hurt in said car accident
- Being able to see my family multiple times in one year
- Moving into a rental home we love
- Reconnecting with a love for story
- Learning to start each day with gratitude
- Celebrating our one year wedding anniversary
- Accepting myself as a fucking great human being
I don’t believe in resolutions. For one I never keep them and they feel good in the moment. This year, as I ring in 2018, I am not making resolutions for the year but instead keeping the door open for new possibilities. A great friend and wise person once told me that, “if you feel that this is in your highest good then of course I support your decision,” and this is a sentiment I need to reach for myself. In some ways I feel that I have found my highest good and in others I found that I ran away from it, but most of all I know that my highest good is the one thing I need to strive.
“If you find internal work exciting, you’ll look forward to the worst that can happen, because you won’t find a problem that can’t be solved from the inside.”
– Byron Katie