2012 was supposed to be my ‘drama free year’. I’m pretty sure I used up my entire year’s worth of ‘good things happening’ by mid-January and given a choice I wouldn’t have it any other way. If nothing spectacularly good ever happens to me for the rest of my life, I still wouldn’t trade seeing my daughter’s beautiful smiling face in the back of the federal police four wheel drive after being terrified for days I would never see her again. Not even remotely how I expected to start 2012. The opposite of drama free, the start of 2012 was one of the worst experiences of my life.
The plan (the universe is still pissing itself laughing) for 2012 was a fresh start. Because, lets face it, 2011 and 2010 were absolute shit. 2010 is officially on record as the worst overall year of my life because the shit just kept on coming. I can’t think of a single good thing that happened that entire year and it holds the record for the most entries on the ‘bad things happened’ list of my life. You name it, it happened in 2010. A horrible death, the loss of a child, months of debilitating illness, heartbreak, financial disaster, job issues, starting from scratch. The universe tipped my life upside down and all the loose change and spare bandaids fell out and I spent most of 2011 picking everything back up. What fun. (correction, two good things happened that year, my beautiful baby cousin was born, I was lucky to see her as a newborn and have loved every minute of watching her grow since, and I reconnected with a bunch of family that I hadn’t seen in years and I am so grateful that I have them in my life)
2011 overall wasn’t a bad year. In between bouts of crippling anxiety, the tediously slow mending of a shattered heart, and remembering where I had put myself, I had a great time with great friends. I had fun. I learned ballet. I went camping. My first tupperware party. My first adult shop party. My first corset party. Weekly breakfasts and coffees with the girls. Dinners out with friends. Movie nights with wine and cheese and maltesers. If I could have picked up all my friends and transported them to another town, I would have in a heartbeat (although they probably wouldn’t have liked that… although I did move to the beach, so maybe they would have…). Because to completely put the past behind me, I had to leave the place with all the memories. Everywhere I went had a memory attached to it. It was ‘our’ town, only it wasn’t anymore, it was ‘their’ town, and that’s okay, I just didn’t want to live there. I didn’t want to spent my life reminded of what was gone. Even surrounded by happiness and fun, everything made me sad and I’d had enough of being sad.
So 2012 was supposed to be all about rebuilding, making an awesome life for ourselves, remembering how life used to be. Instead I spent it in and out of courthouses, driving and driving, talking to lawyers, writing and reading page after page of legal documents, and visiting my fabulous support people who helped me through every step of the way, as well as mourning a loved family member taken so unexpectedly it felt like the biggest tree in the forest had just fallen with no warning. In between all that I moved house three times, settled my daughter into a new school, made friends, joined the P&C, studied, and spent a wonderful amount of time at the beach. It never felt like I gained any momentum though, the year was planned around court dates and meetings and long drives to nowhere fun and packing and an indeterminate future.
It doesn’t feel like I have gotten very far in the last few years. I haven’t had any of the big milestones that a lot of my friends and family have had – engagements, marriage, babies, houses, overseas holidays, new jobs, graduating. When I compare, I feel like a failure, even though I know that I am not. I have survived a hell of a lot of really crappy things and that is something. I decided to move somewhere that my family could grow, I chose an amazing new town to call home, I am building a whole new life from the ground up, I am making my own happiness. It may not be a diamond ring or a promotion or a diploma, but it’s enough for now. I am so happy for everyone in my life, there are some great things happening for them, some of my closest friends have new little baby bundles and I get to cuddle them and smoosh them, people I started uni with years ago are graduating this year and I am so proud of them. Everyone deserves happiness and it makes me happy that so many people I love are finding it.
I am refusing to make plans for 2013. I am refusing to make resolutions. I know what I want to do in the next twelve months. I know that the universe will throw all kinds of monkey poo at me, especially when I’m not looking. I know that the universe will give me what I need when I need it, not when I think I need it. I know that the lessons I have learned over the last few years are lifelong and while I will always make mistakes I won’t be making those ones again. I know that it’s time to push the reset button and finally get my fresh start (don’t even think about it, universe, I’m watching you). And in the words of the imaginatively talented wordsmith Neil Gaiman…
“So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them.
And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.
So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.”