I keep reading about ending the decade with closure. Closing a chapter to begin a fresh one. Making new goals to welcome a new future and I want to say, don’t fall for that. It’s pretty much bullshit. It really is, because all of your experiences, bad and good are a part of who you are right now. This moment. And this moment is what counts. It’s all we’ve got. A person in any situation must realize that they are a product of their past and the sooner you deal with that the better off you will be. Many of us have sad, turbulent or even tragic pasts, but we’ve survived them. They do not make us "broken" humans, they just make us human. Some of us have flourished, despite our emotional injuries. Our histories are part of our personal stories and you can’t erase or ignore it, so learn to bloom from it instead.
To say, 2019 was a tough year for me is an understatement. I had a lot of healing and letting go to do, even though I didn’t necessarily plan on it. Funny when I think back. I met a guy, Dhru Purohit, host of the Broken Brain podcast. (Great podcast, btw.) We had dinner with a group of folks and he asked me one very important question that drove many of my actions for the entire year. He asked, “what one thing do you wish for yourself this year?” My answer came quick after going through a strange, romantic heartache and the loss of a friend, I replied, “I wish to heal. I wish for a year of healing.” That conversation happened in January 2019. Little did I know I was going to break wide open several more times before I would fully appreciate that conversation.
It’s amazing what happens to a person when you survive the worst things you can imagine. You become in a sense, emotionally indestructible. You become confident that nothing and no one can destroy you because you are reborn. You will not come out the other side the same and that’s okay. You will need to accept this in order to move forward and the sooner you do, the sooner you can begin healing. It’s been my experience as a person interacting with others that most of us do not handle violations well. Some, personalize it and begin a courtship with hatred, some seek revenge and some simply ignore the pain and proceed to live in denial. None of this works in our favor. Something needs to be done with pain in order to transform and work on healing. It’s like trying to live with a broken cup in your hands. You can’t use it to drink out of of and you know you need to fix it in order for your cup to hold liquid and sustain you. Imagine every day you are thirsty and need to drink from this cup, but it’s broken and can’t contain a single drop, so another day passes by and you just become thirstier. Pain needs to be addressed for us. It’s going to surface at times when you least expect it. It will be triggered by others. It will follow you wherever you go. Those that don’t know it are only fooling themselves and are left to repeat actions and interactions until they become worn out from it. When you meet a person with many regrets you should know they also carry a great burden from unhealed pain.
I’m not big on the new year personal renewal stuff. You don’t need to suddenly lose weight, make more money than the previous year, get married or meet some arbitrary goal because magazines, marketing or Instagram influencers are telling you to do so. There is nothing you need to do except live your life. On your own terms, in the best way you can. What I wish I could express and share with anyone feeling like they’re behind on accomplishments is to stop chasing. Stop chasing “goals” and start living out your dreams. If you hate your job, (but don’t quit it because you won’t make as money doing something else) think of, how instead of fueling your fire with love, you’re fueling it with hate. It’s just not worth it. When I was working with children I would always cringe when grown ups would ask seven year olds what they wanted to be when they grew up. I couldn’t stand it and my heart would break when a perfectly self aware and happy little kid suddenly searched themselves for an answer that would satisfy an adult. This is what the new year pressure feels like to me. I wish more people would simply want to work on being happier. Whatever that looks like instead of making long lists of things they feel they need to do to keep up. Keep up with your seven year old self, I say.
I experienced a lot of personal loss, betrayal and hardship in 2019. People I thought I would love forever broke my heart and disappointed me in ways that couldn't be repaired. For me there is only one thing I insist on with full reciprocity: respect. Respect for my time, my thoughts, my kindness, my humanity. If I can’t receive that then I don’t want disrespectful people in my life. It pained me to remove a few people from my circle, but as I lost trust in them I also understood how little they valued themselves. It was easy to choose myself at that point. Maybe nothing was personal, maybe their unhealed hurt spilled over onto me. Maybe my hurt didn't react well with theirs. I’ve been patient trying to heal. It’s painful, but I’ve begun to practice an exercise that seems to help. Instead of being provoked by bad and hateful thoughts, I’ve decided to hate the things done and wish wellness to some of these folks. I’ve also done something I’ve never done before. Cut off communication, blocked or removed their presence without the need to resolve the pain with them. I realized I need to resolve the pain with myself. You can only heal yourself. You can never, ever heal another human being. You can only love them. Sometimes from a distance when you’ve realized they shouldn’t be a part of your life anymore.
As I let go of hurt and move towards myself and my dreams I’m sometimes haunted by a feeling of nostalgia for those that have become quiet ghosts. It’s okay, it’s normal because I’m human and driven by love. I guess in a way, that’s beautiful too. To have lingering ghosts in a very real existence makes life feel, lived. We all need to be haunted a little so we can appreciate what we have and to not take people, love or time for granted. It’s definitely been a year of healing, but I know it doesn’t end at any specific time. Healing is a practice you need to exercise until you breathe your last breath. Some of us will do well with it, some of us will die with untended broken hearts. And some of us will even allow our experiences to be the kindling we need to start the biggest fires of our lives. We'll create art from pain. It helps turn tragedy into beauty. (Sometimes even comedy.)
I hope you continue to dream and to shed some skin to make some of those dreams come true. I have become intolerant of all the boasting and bragging on social media about what people have, all they do, all they want without being honest about sacrifice and tumbling and breaking at times. It's not real and I for one am not going to believe or follow anyone that fails to show vulnerability. It's just not what is attractive to me. I want to continue to learn and grow and we grow when we can relate and resonate with the humanity of others. So, whatever you’re doing in your life, please know it’s okay when it doesn’t work out as planned. That just means there’s another plan for you. You will heal and you will survive.
Thank you for another year of adventures with me and our little company. It is always such a pleasure to be inspired by you. Happy, happy new year my friends. I wish you love and happiness.