As the year draws to an end and the Christmas tree's go up, "what are you doing this weekend" is replaced with "what are you doing for new years eve" and I cannot help but reflect. This year my life has completely changed in pretty much every way.
It's funny because I didn't really realise that it is happening, it's not like the year you graduate school or the year you turn 21, it was more subtle, unmarked with celebration or ritual, but just as dramatic when you look back.
In some ways this time of year will always be the same. This time last year I was spending time with family, putting up the tree, going to see Christmas lights, buying present for my friends and a boy, working hard in retail and relaxing before the start up of uni again. In these ways my life is pretty much exactly the same, but all the details are different.
I am no longer speaking to, let alone buying presents for, the people that I was last year.
The friends I had then who I would have very easily put money on being in my life forever no longer want anything to do with me, after many tears and failed attempts to bridge a gap I have let them go, realising that some things you just can't fix. I still don't know what really happened or why I was exiled from their friendship but I wish them all the best a pray that life is kind to them. As hard as the loss was I have looked around and not only found out that I had so many friends around me already who I had neglected but also I made room for new friends, new experiences, letting people in that I wouldn't have in the little bubble I had created for myself. I have re-evoked friendships that I had let slip by the way side and I have made some of the best friends in the past year. A year ago I would have told you I would not be able to go on without the friends I had but after mourning the loss and picking myself back up I have realised that not only can I go on but I think I am happier, more myself and more free of judgment then I have felt in a long time.
The boy that I was buying presents for is no longer in my life, which is something I never thought I would have had the guts to do, replaced... no upgraded by a boy who makes me feel like the only girl in the room. He puts up with my tantrums, dries my tears when crying over friends, tells me I'm beautiful first thing in the morning and goes to battle to defend me and try to fix things for me. I have stopped making plans for me and started making plans for us, the idea of forever with just one person doesn't scare me anymore and in so many more ways than he knows he has loved me back to emotional health from the wreck I was after my last relationship. He is nothing like I thought I would ever go for and yet he is everything that I needed. If you had of told me this time last year that I would meet a boy who would teach me to trust again, remind me that I am beautiful and call me on my shit whilst still having the most amazing blue eyes I have ever seen I would have laughed at you, but somehow it has happened and I don't take a minute of it for granted.
I still work in retail but I now work in a job that I love with people that I adore and a discount on shoes that has created somewhat of a monster. I realise how many people hate their job and so I count myself lucky that I don't dread my long hours of getting paid to hang out with some of my best friends and try on pretty things. Likewise I am still waiting for uni to start but a different major in something I never thought I would be smart enough to get into, psychology, whilst still keeping my passion as a second major in english and creative writing. I am so excited at the prospect of spending my life helping people make their lives better and coming along side people who may have been on a similar journey to me.
Finally in November of this year I did something I have wanted to do for so many years; I visited an orphanage in a third world country, I met some of the most inspirational people. The workers who give their lives to look after these children and the children who have nothing and yet dream of doing great things with their lives. It humbled me and gave back bone to the shit I used to talk about helping people, when I myself had done nothing. It started a love affair to go to more places, see more things and keep injustice firmly in my sight so I can never become complacent about poverty or peoples needs in general.
I guess the reason I share this is to say that no matter where you find yourself this Christmas, no matter how you feel or how hopeless your situation may seem, sometimes all you have to do is hold on, wait out the storm and see whats waiting on the other side. The light you struggle to see at the end of the tunnel may be more than daylight, it may be the answer to your questions, the first steps of your dreams and the warmth of the love you have been waiting for. As cliche as it sounds, sometimes you have to hit the bottom and lose everything you held onto before you can be free to appreciate how great life can be.
All in all I am the happiest I can remember being, where I was lost and without direction last year, 12 months has brought me so much clarity and new opportunities. I have amazing friends who make me laugh until I can't breath, an amazing boyfriend who buys me teapots, an amazing job and an exciting new course I'm about to start.
I am so excited to see what 2012 has to bring, I don't know if it can top 2011 but maybe a trip to Europe can help... (talkin' to you Spyra)