It's the time of year when people make top ten (or top thirteen) lists. Reflecting on this year, what jumps out at me is that this year, I worked at questioning my assumptions.
Questioning, for me, is nothing new. I've toyed with writing my own "This I believe" essay, and usually when I think about it, it goes right back to being curious and inquisitive (for me personally).
The cliche is that life is a journey, change is the only constant, etc.
When I started out on my own, however, I didn't realize that so much that I knew or intrinsically understood would change. That some things I depended on wouldn't be there, but other unexpected things *would* be there. And, this isn't an every five years or every ten years exercise.
Yearly, monthly, even daily, I come into contact with things that force me to adjust my expectations, to process new information and to set new boundaries. On my good days, I recognize just how much I have to be grateful for (which is, frankly, quite a lot).
Some of my more jaded readers might question - isn't that what everyone does? Doesn't everyone ask lots of questions and take inventories of their actions/behaviors? But the reality, which I see here in my 30s, is that not everyone does. Some are just trying to survive - or to make it through the day. For some, it seems to me it goes back to Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
This must sound out of touch without concrete examples - but since I have such a wide variety of reader(s), I don't want to give away too many details. I do think this post "the hamster wheel" is a good example.
Figuring out that I had to take care of myself, that I am responsible for myself and my feelings. Again, the assumption I had was that I would take care of other people, and in return, when I was in need, they would take care of me. All of this unspoken, of course. I'm not advocating radical selfishness here, just that setting boundaries, saying no, speaking up about my feelings was/is important. No one else is going to do it for me, or is even able to do it for me. As always, this sound painfully obvious, but it really wasn't for me. Not inconveniencing other people, disappointing people (particularly loved ones) was a greater motivation.
Various relationships started and ended this year of friends and family members. And this year, for the first time, (see here and here) I realized that what these loved ones were doing, which relationships they were in (or not in) was really none of my business.
I confess, I had always assumed that other people's relationships did affect me.
I don't know why I thought this. And I knew that before (people's relationships are their own), but I had never acknowledged that there was a part of me that really did want to get in the middle, wanted to understand, wanted to label whatever else was going on for other people. Now it's true, figuring out whether or not to invite someone to a gathering (if the relationship is rocky) or whether or not to send a request to someone (an ex) on a popular social networking site can be difficult/tricky.
But in the end, however, it goes back to letting go of control, and the illusion of control. And without question, I have no control over other people or their relationships. Again, seems obvious to other people, but for some reason it just wasn't for me.
So all in all, it was a good year. I'm glad to keep growing and re-evaulating everything. Thanks for staying with me throughout this journey.