Today marks an anniversary, the end of my last relationship. I look to it not to dredge up a past that seems so long ago, but rather to honor how far I’ve come in a year.
Although the exact end date is debatable, I count from the last time I saw him. Even though I half expected it, I was stunned by how things ended. I tried to steer away from blaming myself or him, which would have been pointless, in an attempt to learn from the experience. I wanted to get something good out of it.
So began my new project: a deep, uncomfortable, scary, and enormously valuable hard look within at my relationship to relationships, to love, and to life.
As followers of this blog know, a lot has happened in the past year, life-changing stuff that has both challenged and nurtured me. It all really does make you stronger if you’re open to getting the lessons. It was still September when I asked my doctor about that odd-looking mole on my arm that would turn out to be melanoma, the first of two such diagnoses. A couple of surgeries later, I have mean scars and fewer lymph nodes; and I have a new relationship with my body, with life, with death, and with the sun.
At the end of the month, my loving roommate off and on since the dawn of the millennium, Amber, moved back in with me. We talk about everything, our lives running amazingly parallel, so we are able to offer each other tremendous support through life’s ups and downs. And she lends me really good books, some of which I’ve talked about here.
In October a friend introduced me to the Tuesday night meditation and “modern Buddhism” dharma talks at Saraha Buddhist Center. It’s a place I still go to regularly for refuge, wisdom, community, and peace of mind. If I seem different to you now, this is probably the single biggest reason why.
My writing has also been a wonderful refuge, feeding my soul and helping me to work things out. In November, encouraged by my stellar writing coach, I got more serious about it all, taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge. Writing some 52,000 words loosely based on my love life to date was cathartic in more ways than one.
(As a side note, I’ve gone back to work on some of the stories I wrote as part of that exercise, and am happily surprised that some of it is actually good, even if I do say so myself. I will post excerpts on here soon.)
That was also the month I reconnected with a beautiful man I love. We aren’t boyfriends, and that’s okay. By the time February 14 rolled around, I found myself getting quite comfortable with the idea of being single, something I couldn’t have imagined not so long ago. The Singles Awesomeness Day party may become an annual event.
Travel is always an opportunity to look at life afresh, and I’ve done a more than usual amount of it this past year. Sweeping out the cobwebs and confronting my self-cherishing during and after my trip to Peru, I’ve realigned and recommitted to what is important to me.
I went to the International AIDS Conference in July and found myself unexpectedly moved in ways I thought had died. I also made some nice personal connections on that trip without really trying. And I feel a closeness to my parents, to whom I dedicate this post, that goes deeper than ever before.
And so on. It hasn’t stopped. Throughout the year, incredible experiences and loving friends have continued to open my eyes, my mind, and my heart. I know I’m still learning, happy and strong, encouraged by how I’ve grown this past year. I’m incredibly grateful to all who love and support me. I could never have done it without you.