2016 commenced with such high hopes, dreams and sense of belonging. At first glance life appeared great but the looming loss lurking below the fragility of the surface was soon broken like a croc lunging from the depths.
What did I learn from a year that nearly destroyed me?
The truth is 2016 sucked and I’m glad to see the back of the bastard! (Btw, what you read below is of course a censored and tame version of how I really felt and what I really thought at various stages through the year…)
The year began so very differently to the way it ended.
Relationally, I commenced 2016 celebrating an anniversary in a loving relationship (or so I thought) which had gradually stirred up in me a renewed sense of purpose, meaning, vitality and sense of joy. Simply, I loved being in love, in serving, in giving. My heart had enlarged and life was good.
Professionally, months earlier I’d succumbed to the squeeze and taken a payout as a way out of a role that had begun to suck my soul dry. Having come from an environment where I had a target on my back it was liberating to have embarked on a new business venture, something so randomly and completely different that some who knew me literally choked and spat with laughter when I told them. With this new venture came a sense of creative flair, entrepreneurial endeavour and a parental hope of building a nest egg for the boys and I, and the potential of an extended family not dissimilar to the Brady Bunch.
Oh my how differently things turned out!
I had my heart broken, dreams shattered, and lost not only my sense of belonging, but if truth be told, nearly lost my very self (and yes that is literal and not merely an existential, metaphorical or suggestive throw away).
It seems 2016 was destined to be a bitch of a year. Soon after building a deck for my partner and venturing into a shared holiday and an anniversary came the words “I can’t do this. It’s not you and the boys, it’s the girls and I. I’m not emotionally equipped to do this.” My heart sank and like bubble wrap being popped my inner world crumbled.
And that’s when it all began. So as I look back at the end of the year here’s what I was dealt. My heart burst. My eyes cried and my brain fried. My fridge died. My lawn mower died. My car died. I had a health scare. My house got egged. And worst of all, I ended up the year self/unemployed and financially broke. Joy oh joy let’s celebrate %#@*&! Christmas! Call me Mr Grinch! I was not in the mood for falsities, niceties, pretence nor pretending.
It’s why I chose not to blog in the lead up to Christmas nor New Years…for there were others I knew who had valid cause for celebrating, and celebrate they did, as they should. But celebrating wasn’t for me this year.
Yet, in the light of somehow surviving significant loss, and loneliness, from the shadows emerged a renewed sense of self, a sense of possibility and a very real sense of authenticity, which one could easily translate into I don’t give a shit what people think anymore.
Over coming days I’m going to reflect and write about my own grief & loss and share some of how I make sense of the changes, challenges, losses and gains from a year that I’m glad to see the back of!
I’ll also introduce my blog readers to a little Wellbeing Wheel that emerged during the depths of despair as I grappled with my own sense of finding a new compass for life. This wheel offers a framework for evaluating, and reevaluating values, goals and choices across six major spheres of ones life – a circle that intentionally reflects the importance of congruence and integration across life’s spheres.
Ironically, despite the monumental shifts in 2016, I face a new year, in many ways with the same hopes, dreams and sense of belonging. Perhaps that’s where romanticism meets resilience?