Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Success & Re-evaluation

As Christmas creeps ever closer, I am having good days and bad days, and gradually the good are beginning to outnumber the bad. In the past year the circumstances have forced me to step back and re-evaluate my life, and what's truly important. I had truly become complacent, and lost sight of the direction I was headed. I lost sight of ME, in my drive to be helpful, and a 'good friend' and somewhere along the line, I forgot that not only am I a good friend, I have some very good friends as well.
My success is not measured by the number of people that I rescue or help, nor is it measured by the work I do. I am a good person, a good friend, and sometimes shit happens, deserved or not. I am in the process of starting over, from the lowest I have ever been. Everything I own could be packed into a 10x20 storage building. Growing up, it seemed that everyone around me had more than we did. Oh, we were not poor, by any means, but we did live fairly modestly, and didn't have a lot of modern material things, or the latest gadgets, but I also understood that THINGS were just that, and that possessions don't equate with happiness, love, or contentment. Even as an adult, I have tended to purchase items I really want, after considering my options, AND whether or not I truly want to invest my money into a particular item, rather than competing to keep up with the Jones', Smith's, or anyone else. Sure, I have many things that truly are luxury items, rather than necessities, and very few of them are collecting dust from disuse.

I have never been in this situation before… I always had Mom to fall back on, in the event of a crisis, but not this time. I have had to reach out and ask for help, which has always been hard for me to do, whether it was schoolwork, or moving. I suppose that my mother and grandmother did a bit too good of a job teaching me to be self-reliant and not allow myself to become dependent on anyone else, because having to ask for help makes me feel weak, helpless, and like a failure, when that it truly not the case. The failure that I have experienced in the last 18 months or so is not truly MY failure, it is the failure of other people to do the right and moral thing. My only failing is in being too trusting and trying to provide a safety net. I have long considered myself blessed to have friends that I can trust, and while this year has shifted where some of those friends are on the true and reliable friend spectrum, I see a much clearer picture of many of those people that have shifted. And, truth be told, I've discovered a level to some of the relationships in my life that is much stronger than I imagined it was, and for that, I am grateful.

Over the weekend, I closed a chapter that a year ago, I would never have dreamed would close as it did, when I turned the keys over to the house that I once thought I would eventually purchase. It was a great size for me, and while there were a few little quirks about it, it could have been truly perfect for me, had I ever managed to sort through all the crap that I had been either carrying around for the last 7 years, but also that which I accumulated in the 19 months that I lived there, so that I could organize effectively. On my way out the door, after walking through with my friend and landlord, I smudged the whole house with a sage stick, in an effort to cleanse any negative energy still floating around and leave it with a clean slate. I am hopeful that closing that chapter, and the negativity that ultimately I came to have to live with while I was there will free me to move on to bigger and better things. I am truly blessed by the fact that while my living situation is far from perfect, it is MUCH closer to perfect than what many people have, as I do know where I will lay my head each night, and I know where my next meal will come from, and I can have my cats with me.

This will not be an easy journey, finding my way back to where I should be, emotionally, and physically, not to mention spiritually. Christmas, Yule, Chanukkah, each have their own traditions and ideas, yet somehow they work together, at least in my little head. I think that the most prevalent theme across all 3 is Light. Winter Solstice (Yule) celebrates the longest night of the year, which then gives rise to lengthening periods of light during the day. Chanukkah celebrates the 8 nights of light provided by only one night's worth of oil. Christmas the birth of Christ, believed to be the light of the world. I've been perhaps not in full darkness, but certainly not fully in the light that is available, sometimes by my own choice, sometimes as a result of the depression that does run in my family, sometimes simply because the combination of depression and other people's choices which affect me directly become overwhelming, and in an effort to not hurt the people around me, I withdraw into the darkness in order to try and find a little peace.

Tonight's list of things I am grateful for (aside from the obvious warm bed and a safe roof over my head)

  1. Friends and family that loves and accepts me for who I am, and not what I can do for them, or anyone else.
  2. Knowledge that I do not have to be perfect in anyone's eyes, and that striving to be so hurts me more than it does anyone else
  3. The ability and willingness to measure my success by its own yardstick, independent of material or superficial things or events

And on that note, it is off to bed with my sleepy little brain.

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