I met a man a year and a half ago whose laughter, smile, eyes, talent, personality, and kindness lit up my life in a way I always dreamed of but never expected. I hadn’t “given up” really, but I thought my chances for a relationship like this were long over; I was too old, too set in my ways, too demanding of what I wanted and what I needed, to be particularly compatible with anybody. I have looked at his face every single day since our first date and every single day I think how glad I am that I met him. I can’t pretend that it has been perfect for every single one of those days…We have had some difficulties and we have had a few sad and stressful times, but that’s life and those experiences, both the good and the bad, got us to where we are today.
New Year’s Eve for me has always been a time to reflect on the days behind me and to think about the days ahead of me & while I know nothing about baseball, and sports analogies seem uncharacteristic of me, I do think of a year as the hits and the misses of the last 525,600 minutes. Every year I grow older, and hopefully wiser, I know better that I can do nothing about those days of my past but that I can do much better with those days in front of me.
In 2011 I was involved with a man who used an expression about how being in love “halves your sadnesses and doubles your joys” but the months that I was in that relationship, I was more sad and less joyful than I think I’d ever been. I let myself be fooled and acted foolish, and when it was finally over I felt stupid. I like to think that all bad experiences lead to valuable learning tools, and I have, during these 18 months of happiness, thought back on that difficult experience and I feel like I do not even know that person… what on earth was she thinking, where was her backbone and confidence??!! It’s embarrassing, when you have to accept responsibility for stupid things you have done and said, and we all have at one time or another done stupid things and said stupid things. I have learned since that awful time that being in love actually can halve your sadness and double your joy, BUT you have to be in love with a good quality person who is good for you…I have learned that I love myself and my life so much more, because I have been surrounded for these 18 months by a quality, creative, passionate, loving person…and those characteristics of his, bring out those same qualities in me.
So we are today on the edge of a new year, and I can think of no better time to take a look at who I am, who I want to be, who I thought I was, who I tried to be…that sort of self-reflection that is sometimes necessary when you wish to keep your past in your past and press on ahead. Most events of our lives are hit or miss…there is much mediocrity to be sure, but in general I think things are good or bad, happy or sad. I have had jobs that did not work out and I have had relationships that did not work out, and I have had many situations in life that were pretty sweet in my daydreaming moments but horribly sour in my waking moments, but despite the few lows and misses in a life filled mostly with smiles and hits, I have used the bad situations and uncomfortable experiences to teach me something…I may not always know what I want, but with each failure and with each miss I’ve learned what I don’t want.
When I was in that low place of 2011 I was given a copy of a poem by David Whyte called Sweet Darkness. I was asked to read it by a woman who cared about me & thought it might help me get my head on straight, to look at things from a different perspective and to turn myself around… “* Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own…There you can be sure you are not beyond love…The night will give you a horizon further than you can see…You must learn one thing: the world was made to be free in…Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your alone-ness to learn, anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.*”
I had that last line on my refrigerator for months…*anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.* It was such a powerful statement and rang like a gong in my head when I finally felt “healed” from that bizarre situation…which now seems like a lifetime ago. I read it every single day for months. I honestly can’t recall the day I took it down in 2012, or the day I read it and realized that wound had healed. I can’t write with any certainty the day or time of year that I realized I was in a relationship where the person who says to me the words, “I LOVE You” brought me more alive than I ever imagined I could be. Tonight when I count my blessings of the last 364 days, and make my wishes for the next 365, I am going to give an extra special thanks to the universe, for not giving up on me despite my frequent failings and misses, and for bringing a ‘hit’ into my life that makes almost every day feel like a home run…