2021 was the hardest, most painful year I’ve ever experienced but I can’t hate it. After looking back on the emotional rollercoaster of the past 12 months there is one recurring theme, relationships.
It started off with my relationship with my children becoming multifaceted. I was not only playing the role of mom but also teacher, guidance counselor, classmate, cafeteria monitor, etc. And that continued through the end of April when they finally went back to school fulltime for four entire weeks. The online/remote/distance learning for over a year and with two children starting at a new school that had an intense and demanding course load (they both went from being in one classroom with one teacher to having multiple periods with 6 different teachers all while learning to navigate the various online learning platforms) really took its toll on me. From the moment I woke up I was “working”…working to keep the dog quiet so he didn’t disrupt class (that in itself was exhausting, we live on a corner lot & ever person, car, squirrel, and leaf is a threat, lol), working on meals, strategically dancing past screens with piles of laundry, worrying about the kids mental health, their physical health and getting them outdoors, on park trails, and ultimately just feeling extremely depleted every day. I could have really used a break, a little help with someone cooking just one meal, or taking care of just one load of laundry, or a simple hug. I was depleted, I had no more to give, for the first time ever I couldn’t be the glue for my marriage…I couldn’t pull strength from an empty well. After 18 years of doing it all I needed help. Asking for help really takes humility and for that humility to be met with indifference was heartbreaking. But trying to be the ever optimist I looked at the good that was occurring in life. The assisted living facility that my grandfather lived in had finally raised their ban on visitors and we were able to see him after 1-1/2 years! And see him we did!!
After only communicating via the phone and window (we all Caroled at his window last Christmas and we’re so looking forward to celebrating with him this Christmas) words can’t describe the feeling of actually being with him in person. We had four amazing months with him and he even contacted and survived Covid but on October 13 after a few days in hospice his heart was done. He went peacefully. On that same day my husband filed for divorce. The next three weeks were a pain filled blur, almost like an out of body experience, as if you’re living life but it’s surreal.
We had the viewing and funeral for my grandfather, I was served divorce papers, my uncle passed away, and we had my uncle’s funeral all in the span of 3 weeks. All while still trying to put the finishing touches on Halloween costumes, being a substitute teacher (that’s literally like going to the first day of work everyday…I’ve had fights in my classes, soft lockdowns, etc.) getting candy/treats for class, and juggling the prospects of a totally unknown future. So why exactly can’t I hate 2021?
I can’t hate 2021 because it has taught me to reevaluate EVERY SINGLE relationship I have! Relationships with family, friends, acquaintances, etc. I’m no longer prioritizing relationships where there isn’t mutual investment.
I’m done being the only person in a relationship doing all the heavy lifting. I’m done being in relationships where adults won’t take responsibility for their own actions & instead project them onto others. I’m done with not being a priority. I’m done making excuses for other adults. I’m done with others trying to make me feel guilty for their shortcomings. I’m done with people showing me who they really are and me second guessing it.
Life isn’t short, it’s fast, and I refuse to waste what I have left on those who don’t see me & spending quality time with me as something that should not only be valued but treasured!
Thank you 2021 for showing me my worth. Thank you for the heartache and pain, and allowing me to realize that I must FEEL it all, all the pain and process it and work through it in order for growth to happen. No more false/ toxic positivity. No more faking or making excuses for others so they look good. We need to live in our truth, own it, & grow from it. So thank you 2021 for one heck of a growth year!
How have you grown in 2021? What are you looking forward to in 2022?