Final Thoughts on 2021
WE MADE IT!!!!!
As we roll up 2021 for storage and begin to unpack 2022, I wanted to send a message of love and encouragement. This year has been a LOT. The last three years have tested the limits of everyone’s resolve. And this season, in particular, September to December, has been emotionally, mentally, and financially taxing. My circumstance is unique, but with price hikes, the holidays, and Omicron, I get that sense that many of us are falling headfirst into burnout. So, as we close out 2021, I ask that everyone take some time to rest and recharge. It is well deserved.
I haven’t been very active this year. It’s been a chrysalis year for me, I think. Not a lot happened on the outside. I wouldn’t categorize it as a particularly productive year, but a shit ton happened internally. Many of the lessons life has been spoon-feeding over years were dropped on my head like a piano from the 12th floor. This means I was forced to conclude several chapters in my life.
The biggest lesson of 2021 is to be careful what you ask for. Really, the lesson is to be prepared for it to look nothing like what you expected, especially when you ask for change. Specifically, I asked for change and asked to be taught how to surrender. What I had not anticipated was a cosmic time-out. I was basically put in a glass box, forced to watch my world fall apart and reforge, while I was completely unable to control anything around me. Surrender is NOT something I am comfortable with. Actually, I’d rather walk on Legos. Surrender always seems like something that would be great, but my soul knows I prefer the stability of even imaginary control. But I asked for flow and surrender, and life granted me that wish. To be honest, I am exhausted. This year was worse than the year I asked for help growing patience. That year, every irritating and sloth-like person in a ten-mile radius found me in my most inattentive mood. I should have learned then.
At the beginning of 2021, I had a dream that was a clear message to get in sync and flow. In the dream, I was swimming in a river. My goal was to get to a building that was downriver just off the bank. From my location, it was around a bend, but not very far. I was swimming upstream, thinking I could swim to a certain point, get out and walk back down along the grass and follow the river back to the building. Yup. You read that right. I was swimming upstream, against the current, and losing the battle, only to have to walk back downstream to get the building. So, I was damn near drowning trying to fight the current to get to a point that is safe to climb out, so I can walk. Fish were passing me, swimming in the right direction. One slowed enough to give me a strange look, and that prompted me to pray for strength. In answer, more fish swam by me, going in the right direction. The message of the dream was clear. I was in resistance and working too hard. I needed to go with the flow.
Admittedly, I processed this dream cerebrally. I simply ramped up my meditation and tarot practice and learned more painting techniques. Clearly, by the first couple of paragraphs, that did not work at all.
Strangely, I don’t remember much of 2021 before June. It’s a blur in a Groundhog Day type fashion. This is partly because we were all still working and schooling at home, but also because things weren’t much different from what I’d been experiencing in 2020. What was different was my soul-deep weariness of it all. I was growing exasperated by the way things were for my family and me because I knew with my whole heart that it did not have to be that way. I knew we were stuck, I was stuck, and I was absolutely sick of it. Like many others, the shelter in place order shined a glaring light on my life and I finally had to come to grips that I wasn’t happy, and my life wasn’t going to get any better with therapy or a change in job or perspective. It needed to be broken down and built back up.
I’d like to pause here to acknowledge the point in which I prayed a prayer of surrender and rescue, completely believing the transformation would be mild. In my head, there was couple’s counseling, the private school for Monster, a new job that would help allow us to pay for the aforementioned private school, and we’d find money to renovate. The worst-case scenario was the fence would remain broken, we’d need to switch counselors, and maybe I’d have to go on a mild anti-anxiety medication for the panic attacks.
That is not what I got.
The last six months of 2021 are hard to explain. On one hand, they were most definitely not the hardest I’ve ever faced as far as life events go. On the other, emotionally they were the most taxing I’ve had to deal with in years. Considering I started this blog four years ago as a way to process my depression and grief, that should tell you how things have been going.
Unfortunately, much of this story isn’t mine to tell. What I can say is, the school my son got into closed, which was a blessing in disguise because we got zero financial aid, and payments were going to be tough. Additionally, my job decided we’d go back to the office on a rotating schedule so I wouldn’t lose remote work completely. During that time, I had to unfairly reprimand someone on my team and they, rightly, quit not long after. I got saddled with a group of people who were tasked by another person outside of my division to inventory my job and tell me what technology I needed to be more effective. Surprise, surprise. We bought products I asked for in 2020 before the pandemic shut down all nonessential spending. This little experiment tested my patience to high heaven and made me long for the billable hour system. The number of hours I spent proving that I did my due diligence the first time around are precious moments I can never get back. We got the product, so yay for me and my team. Another plus? One more thing on my exit list is checked off. One more plus? If I didn’t know what I was worth before, I know that shit now. These were all mild irritations compared to the other stuff. My son contracted a non-Covid related illness, but we dodged a bullet on the potential severity of the infection and we’re praying there are no long-term effects. Coach also got sick, then had what some call a dark night of the soul that led to a breakdown.
Of course, all of this, and more, happened at the same between September and December 1. By December 2, I was a husk. I was perpetually exhausted and could not function properly. Seriously. The crazy, nonsensical sentences I sometimes strung together were funny but concerning.
So, I have random thoughts about 2021 that I need to get off my chest, and I have a few final thoughts about 2021. I’m just going to list them and explain the ones that hit me the hardest or need explanation.
- F U Covid. No explanation necessary.
- This year went by super fast.
- Social media algorithms are serious business and need to be treated as such.
- Everything is a lesson. Everything.
- Because everything is a lesson, coincidence does not exist.
- Ask, and you shall receive.
- Be careful how you phrase what you ask for.
- Be prepared for the universe to make room for that ask.
- Hibernation is work too.
- Demolition isn’t always pretty, but it is sometimes the only way to make things better.
- You can want something with all your heart and grieve the old at the same time.
I want to talk about grief a little bit. We all understand grief as it pertains to losing a person, either through passing or some other means. We pay less attention to the grief that comes with transitions. And so many feel like it is ungrateful to feel that way, especially if you prayed for or manifested something. Here’s a reminder that two things that can be true at once. Just because you prayed for the outcome, doesn’t mean you were prepared for the path there or the aftermath. It is so damn hard to let go of “used to be.” Even if it was difficult, it was still familiar and there is comfort in the familiar whether it’s dysfunctional or no longer serving you. Elevation and transition often create feelings of separation or insecurity which can be painful.
It is OKAY if you feel a little grief during your transition as long as you do not dwell there. Acknowledge your feelings, wrap yourself in gratitude, and step into your new moment.
Let me tell you that I prayed for change. I prayed for a shift to take place and when it came it looked nothing like what I imagined. I was shocked and blindsided, and honestly, I felt guilty and triggered by the entire situation. I could have filled buckets with the tears I cried. But let me tell you that hindsight is 20/20 because now that I’m on the other side, done with the grief and guilt, and over the situation, I see that the way it worked out was a much more permanent and QUICKER solution than the one I’d envisioned. However, I will be the first to say that I prayed hard, but I was not ready, and I had no clue of what was required to make my prayers come true.
At no point did I expect the mini tornado that blew through aspects of my life. Demolition is not pretty, but sometimes it is the only way to make things better. This is true of houses and people. Look I am the queen of quick fixes. Life comes at you fast and sometimes you need to make do with what you have. Finding a good workaround is an art form and I have mastered it. I am learning that sometimes your life needs to be broken into pieces before you can create the one you want. Sometimes, patchwork, no matter how well-executed, will not suffice.
Now, “pieces” look different on everyone. My rock bottom may not be anything like someone else’s. And more often than not, your entire world doesn’t need to be demolished, just parts of it. Still, it is not a pretty sight. There might be some angry words, ugly crying, binge eating… You know that scene in a movie where the person is down for the count… there are empty wrappers all over the place, etc. Yup, demolition can look like that. Or, in my case, it looked like spending hours, watching that moment happen on screen in romance movies. During my demolition period, often called a Tower Moment, I wondered what my life would look like if it was edited into two hours, and it wasn’t inspiring. Still, the demolition was in my best interest, so I had to just get through it.
After enduring the Trying Fall of 2021, (yes, that’s what I’m calling it), I decided I needed to do something for myself. So, I thought I would throw myself a party before Christmas Eve. It was supposed to be me, a playlist, my favorite food, and some cookies. Well, first, my husband was home, then my kid wasn’t feeling well, then I got hit with major PMS, then Christmas Eve. And here we are. So, my party ended up being one hour of me dancing around the living room while trying to articulate what I accomplished this year. I eventually gave up and just started yelling “good job” to my reflection. It was the lamest party ever. I should have just rescheduled, but I had to congratulate myself for remembering to take time to recognize my achievements.
Here we are, in the final hours before the new year and I want to congratulate you for making it one more year. You’ve endured yet another year of a pandemic all the while living your daily life, and surviving all the other things that your life has thrown at you. You are amazing. Sit with that for just a little while before your clock strikes twelve and you ring in the new year.
May 2022 bring you peace, fun, and wonderful new experiences. Happy New Year!