The quote on the page of my personal journal for one year ago, December 31, 2015, is by Lao Tzu: When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. Next to that, I wrote: Who am I without you? I still have no definitive answer one year later, but clearly, I am not the same person. Here are a few quick looks back:
A look at my calendar shows that I was certainly active, literally in every month of the year. I had 4 personal trips to see siblings or kids, and also was able to add on personal days to 5 of the 6 work trips I took so that I could see family and friends. Seven times I had company visiting me. It’s no wonder that I was in desperate need of some quiet time by November when I left my job. But being involved with my family is a significant, non-negotiable part of who I am, and so is supporting them. A new baby, a wedding, a few birthdays…and giving of my time to show people around this area, were the times that saved me when I obsessed about my priorities and considered the uncertainties of this Solowing future.
A look at my checkbook shows that I also didn’t stay home too much even when I was in town. I ate out several times every week; I spent quite a bit on gasoline going hither and yon, and I managed to buy about two dozen books. I also spent a huge chunk on restyling the house – from paint to furniture to floors. And when I felt like I was unable to stop worrying about having enough, living by myself in this big house with no safety net of a second income, far away from everyone, I gave some money away to those who needed it more than me. I ended the year with a positive bank balance and no income for the foreseeable future but I feel okay about that.
If that’s all that went into the equation to describe a year in the life of me, it would be an acceptable balance. But it’s the intangibles that tell the story of the subtle changes in me. A year ago I tried to run away, and now I am staying home. I stopped crying somewhere around spring, and last week with my daughter I laughed so much it nearly became a giggle-fit and I had tears (of joy). I was sleep-deprived and lethargic until late fall, but now I can stay up until 10:30 or 11:00 and don’t even need a nap the next day. (Seriously.) For months, I couldn’t concentrate and read more than a page or two in a book, but now I am back to reading 2-3 books per week. (The current ones are The Brothers Karamazov and Simple Abundance. Last week I read The Enlightened Gardener while on vacation.) But the big deal is that I even am on this sabbatical for this coming year: that I found the strength again to trust myself to walk into the unknown, and I gave myself permission to examine my life, to listen to my own self tell me whatever it has to say, to be open to … well, just to be open – heart, mind, and soul.
The past doesn’t exist anymore; it’s gone; it’s only memories now. I have fully blessed Kevin’s passing, and at the same time, blessed myself here in the present. There are differences in New Year’s Resolutions, bucket lists, vision boards, goals, and everyday to-do lists. I think I’ll work on a little of each today and tomorrow, and ring in 2016 as a girl with options.