Happy New Year,
This is an excerpt from the January 2011 post of my blog:
Will 2011 be a better year for me? I hope so. If I decide to adopt the positive-thinking only policy, I stand a good chance of getting through the year happy and intact. Then again, accidents happen. Bad things happen to good people. My best answer is that a happy new year has yet to be determined. That's life.
I can answer that I did, indeed, come through 2011 intact and relatively unscathed. It had its highs and lows and October had its mega-lows and it wasn't merely because the calendar reminded me that I was a year older.
I had an unexpected falling-out with a person close to me, of all days ... Thanksgiving. As if that wasn't upsetting enough, that same afternoon, I received hate mail on my blog. Yes, hate mail. I'm not talkin' bout a difference of opinion. I'm talkin' scathing, venomous hatred. Let's call this person 'Anonymous' as he/she didn't have the guts to sign their real or user name. Anonymous called me a horrible person, as if they knew me intimately. I'm mystified how a person can make assumptions about my life from reading a few blogs. My blogs are carefully chosen snippets from my life and not meant to be interpreted as a personal journal. With a verbal attack coming on the heels of the falling-out only hours before, I was overwhelmed with hurt and shock. I felt emotionally tasered. It took me weeks of sadness, tears and self-doubt to claw my way back to Ground Zero. Truthfully, I took it on - all the anger and hatred. The thing that stung the most, other than being called a horrible person, was having my writing described as 'amateurish'. I've been published several times and earned a diploma in Creative Writing, thank you very much.
In 2011, my eldest relocated to a different university, which as any mother knows, is bittersweet. My youngest turned 16 and obtained her Learner's driving license. Now, THAT is unnerving ... and she better not expect me to teach her ... that's hard to do when you're crouched behind the front seat, eyes squeezed shut. I had two lovely vacations. Our youngest went to summer camp for a week, so my husband and I took advantage and enjoyed a childless holiday. Remember those?
I mended a few fences and strengthed friendships, new and old. I thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas season this year. The trick is to prepare early. You might think I'm crazy but I start writing Christmas cards in September. If you write only a few at a time and pace yourself, it does not become a last-minute overwhelming task. I buy gifts all year-round when I see something that catches my eye. By the fall, I had amassed a drawer full of stocking stuffers and gifts. I enjoyed wrapping gifts and adorning them with pretty bows, turning them into paper art. Pacing is paramount and I'm still honing that alien concept.
The fibromyalgia seemed no better or no worse until winter hit. The cold weather had never aggravated the pain in years past, so I was surprised and more than a little p.o'ed when it made its shivery debut. Now I could identify with so many others that complained of the cold exacerbating their pain. I didn't want to go out at night because the shivering was so bad. My hands and feet took the worst of it - I didn't even have to go outside for them to feel painfully cold. Who wears gloves inside the house? I went through accidental withdrawal when I fudged up prescribed medication. That was no fun at all. I was dizzy, my ears rang, my blood pressure dropped steeply and I slept constantly. Worst of all were the bizarre, violent nightmares. I didn't know what was wrong with me. Ironically, it was through one of my troubled dreams that I found the answer. I woke up and instantly knew that I was in anti-depressant withdrawal. At least it was easily remedied and I was back up to regular fibro speed within a few days.
So, did I adopt a positive-only mindset? I'd like to think I did ... with a few, minor setbacks. I read the book, The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin, who spent a year researching, reading and journaling about happiness for her book. The key concept in Ms. Rubin's book was attitude and why dropping a bad one and replacing it with a positive one, ultimately, makes life simpler, leading to more satisifaction, which equals more happiness.
It's all about intention, making a concerted effort to harness your strength and to look around you for the good (and it's there) when everything seems hopeless. Find the lesson in your challenges. Learn from it, then let it go. Psychological and spiritual growth is desirable and I'd like to think I grew up a little last year.
And to Anonymous? Neener, neener, neener!
Well, I didn't say I grew up completely.