In a parallel universe, I would be dressed up to the nines, counting down to the new year with nary a care in the world and a glass of tipple in my hand, and I would look to 2018 with optimism and anticipation.
In this world, I fell asleep before the clock struck twelve yesterday night. M and I were in our PJs, watching Crown on Netflix, but I was too exhausted to stay awake for 2018 to come along. Now, it sounds like I was really looking forward to the new year and that I was just wiped out of energy to be up for the countdown, but the truth is I’m not sure if I am all that ready for the marathon that is Jan-Dec. Let me explain, so stick around for a bit, will you?
2017 was a mixed bag of everything. It wasn’t as generally-wonderful as 2016 was to me; I hit some real lows in 2017, so I should want to run from that year as fast as I can. But those troughs revealed some of the most teachable moments, powerful motivations and miracles in my life. As some wise men once said, you can’t hit rock bottom without coming back up.
One of the most teachable moments that shook my world showed up when I was working hard to fulfil an unprecedented number of orders for the Christmas bake sale. For three weeks, I was slogging away in the kitchen, smashing out trays and trays of cookies. The first few days were a little rough, as I was not yet on a fluid routine. With a bit of practice, I was soon going at it like I was just breathing; it was as if the brain stem took over and I was on auto-pilot. That was when a startling clarity emerged. While my hands were curiously busy and mindlessly purposeful with cookie dough, I was free to think a wee bit much and soon, I was consumed with thoughts that ripped me apart. Certain people from my past came up. How much we once meant to one another. How rifts grew out of nowhere and caught me off-guard. As I diced another piece of chocolate and measured another gram of flour, I asked, “Was it me? Did I do something wrong? Did I not do enough?” I made about 17900 cookies this Christmas, so you can imagine how deeply I plunged into self-blame, how messed up and confused I was in those three weeks, how intensely I felt about this loss. It was utterly heart-wrenching and painful, because I dissected every moment I shared with these people and re-lived every bit of joy and heartbreak. But there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I am now fully aware of what happened, thanks to the time that baking and packing 17900 cookies had accorded me. By the time I delivered the final carton of cookies, I have pummelled my thoughts so much that I know I had reached out as much as I could, that I tried to be there when they needed a friend. But the doors were slammed in my face and there was nothing more I could do, given what I knew and my circumstances then. I had done my very best but that was clearly not good enough for them, for reasons that still elude me. It dawned on me that I have spent far too much time (years!) thinking and tearing up about people who don’t even bat an eyelid when it comes to me, and that it is time to move on. Because there are people in my life who I want to and should share Life with. They have waited in the wings for me to get out of this grief, helping me out of a mess that they didn’t create, and they shouldn’t. Instead, they love me deeply and I want to love them more than ever. The people who really matter, who show up even when I am being a troll, they are the ones I should be losing sleep over.
That brings me to the single, most powerful source of motivation that was gifted to me in 2017. Love. Of course, it has taken various forms all my life but 2017 was the year it shone like a knight in spanking new armour. My family since I was born, M since he promised to love me, my kids who want me to be in their Everyday, my small but wonderful bunch of mummy friends who let me be me. Without them, I would have sunk. Without them, I don’t know where I will be today. I would be ill and I would still be in bed. I would not have a reason to wake up to everyday. Because of them, I emerge victorious with small wins every single day. I no longer am plagued by crippling headaches like I was for 8 months last year. I stepped out of my comfort zone much to their generous support and encouragement, and pushed my boundaries at work on borrowed courage. Because of them, I am beginning to learn to be kinder to myself, to slowly recognise that I am enough, and that I am unique and I value-add to their lives. I don’t want to go into too much detail here because those of you who know, you know anyway, and I thank you for sticking around even when I am not the easiest person to love.
Lastly, the fact that I am alive, being given the gift of everyday to receive and give Love, to know and learn the nuances of Life, to understand pain and get up regardless and move inch by inch till I get somewhere that is less painful, to have transitioned from being on my knees feeling broken and unworthy to standing on my feet and saying thank you for Grace, to have been there and to want to help others who may be going through the same thing, these are miracles.
So you see, 2017 had been fleshed out with a bit of everything, a little too intense for my liking, hence my hesitation in moving towards 2018. But I know that I have to first know what’s weighing me down before I can let go of them and fly.
Here’s to a bumpy 2018. I know you are going to be rough but I know Love, Life and Grace will sustain me, so…I choose you.