Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reflections on the Last of 2010 & Gearing Up for 2011

I kind of laugh to myself when I see that the last time that I posted was the first day of December. December was a busy month for me. And while it seemed like a long month, the time also feels like it just somehow slipped away.

My main focus has been finishing up the fall semester. Going to grad school full-time certainly keeps me busy! I had a bunch of papers and projects due at the end while also juggling a trip to Mexico with some friends. The trip was a bit of impulse, but I am glad that I was able to grab a bit of sunshine and to get away from the coldest days yet this winter with temperatures in the negatives. It was really nice to spend some time with my friends and just be silly. We went snorkeling, made friendship bracelets and sat around in a lukewarm tub talking and giggling.

Christmas was okay. That really does sum it up. In one of my classes, the discussion of death came up. It was said that sometimes the second year can be the hardest for families. And I think that can be related to divorce, as it is often compared to a death. For me, I wouldn't necessarily say that this Christmas was worse because it wasn't, but it was still tough. Last year was just so painful and miserable, but there was a certain amount of numbness to it. This year was hard because I think I am just more aware. It wasn't a soulful pain, but more of a lingering disappointment and frustrated kind of pain. It was more of that feeling of failure--the failure of my marriage and where I had hoped I would be in my life right now. And there is no escaping it, just waiting for more time to pass to make it less difficult. And while I know that my life is in a better place right now than it has been in a long time, I can't help but feel like a failure as a person sometimes.

As I stood in the gift shop on my trip in Mexico, I happened to see some Christmas ornaments. I used to find so much joy in searching and picking out an ornament from my travels. But all I felt was sadness. It reminded me of all the places I went with my ex and feeling like so much has been tainted. I didn't put up a tree this year. Part of me feels like blindly donating all of my Christmas stuff and just starting over. But then part of me thinks that maybe I would want to hold onto a few things--a few things that hold good memories for me that are not so connected to my ex. What I will probably do is go through the boxes and pare it down. And I think it was good that I did not try to do it during Christmastime.

I did send a short list of Christmas cards this year (on the 23rd). Baby steps, right?

Spending time with family was bittersweet. Christmas Day is usually spent with my dad's side of the family, but that fell apart this year over some family politics. It is sad to see the distance in my dad's side of the family. While there are close relationships among the family, there really isn't a solid cohesion with the family as a whole. It is a big family with a lot of history and sometimes I wish people could set aside differences and just be.

Christmas Eve is spent with my mom's side of the family. I love my cousins and watching the pride they have in being parents is something special. K and O were a delight to watch as they opened their presents. My brother's girlfriend said it best, watching as O was eating her candy cane, "I think that was just the most delicious bite of candy cane that I have ever seen!" And I got to hold two babies--so tiny and cute. The part that was surprisingly difficult was watching as my dad scooped up Little J who is one month old and my mom cooing over Baby K who is such a happy sweetheart. While I am thankful that my parents get to have a kind of grandparent experience, I am sad that I could not be the one to give that to them. And then I feel selfishly self-centered for even thinking it.

I was heartbroken and sad when I was going through IF, but now I have feelings of frustration in starting over and kind of feeling like certain parts of my life are on hold. It was the first time that I felt like the biological clock was ticking--which I have been trying very much to quell. I don't want to spend my time wishing for babies or to just end of up with some guy just to be married. I don't want to take for granted the wonderful opportunities and people in my life right now.

For example, I don't just want to rush through my grad school experience just to get it done. I need to remember to take it in and to make the most of it while I am in it. There is no sense in wishing away time, even if I really would like to be more settled in my life and have a professional job.

And I want to enjoy my relationship with RJ and to be present with him, not trying to force it to be something it is not. Things have been very good for us. I loved the Christmas presents he got for me--a card with a wonderful note and drawing supplies. About a month ago, I showed RJ some of my drawings from the classes I took in Atlanta. He showed a real interest and appreciation for my drawings. So, his gift felt really special. We also had a fun New Years Eve having dinner in with some of my friends. And I really like that RJ spends time with me and my friends and that I get to spend time with him and some of his friends. There is a balance there that I can really appreciate.

2010 was a good year and I hope that 2011 is even better! Wow, how so much can change in just a year. My life is in a place I would not have imagined at this time last year. I really didn't know what to think as everything just seemed so new again. Usually when I figure out that things are going well, that is the time that I start to over analyze and worry. No, not this time. So, I think my mantra for the beginning part of the year will be: Relax and breathe. Go with the flow and what will be, will be. Trust you will know what you need to do, when you know it.

Now I need to get cracking on the last bit of work with my summer internship applications. Those are due January 5th (i.e. back into the hole from which I came). Wish me luck and I hope I get some good interviews with some good results!!!

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2011 and may it bring you wonder and delight!

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