Oh, 2011. I have so much to say about you, but I have no idea where to start.
You brought innumerable moments of exquisite bliss, soul crushing hardships, sun-filled happiness. Each day, week and month brought something new.
I rang in 2011 in an Irish Pub and hotel room in San Francisco with a man who I believed was the one I would be with for the rest of my life. I was engaged and had found out a few days earlier that we weren't pregnant. We remarked that it was sad, but good timing as we had wanted to go to Napa as part of our bucket list.
3 months later, I lost a friend suddenly, which made me question every decision I had been making. I started to question why my relationship was so complicated, whether I wanted to continue in my current line of work. It made me think about so much. Life was suddenly surprisingly short, and I didn't want to wait any more for things to happen. I put ultimatums on friendships and my relationship, I needed people in my life who could commit to being there, who had the same goals as I did.
Lying in bed Easter weekend, the person I had been best friends with for close to 17 years and I decided to call it quits. Just like that, we were done. It was simple-we just didn't want the same things in life. He hadn't wanted to tell me he didn't want kids as he wanted me, and didn't want to lose me. We cried with each other, not moving, not wanting to admit it was really over. We got up and bought a ham, and cooked one of the best last dinners we would have together. Some months later, he had a change of heart. I tried to keep him around as long as I could, but I couldn't get past the hurt. 2011 closed with us deciding it would be better to just go our separate ways completely.
2011 brought the realization that my father's PTSD will never be under control, and making the hard decision to cut him out of my life. It's painful watching the ones you love hurt themselves and others, and knowing that there isn't anything that you can do about it. I hope that some day he can be a part of my life again, but I'm not holding my breath.
But 2011 wasn't all bad, oh no!
I had lovely adventures-travelling through Washington, Oregon and Northern California and to Eastern Washington and Leavenworth. And I did get to drink plenty of Napa Valley Cabs.
I was promoted and received a nice raise, a lot earlier than expected. Work was busy, and we launched the Veterans Administration as a major pilot program.
I did crafts, and did some photography, although I didn't do any shows. I committed to making this a goal for 2012 though. I bought vintage and antique cameras, and tried my hand at painting.
I met an amazing man, at a time when my heart didn't want to be open to anyone. He offered me bacon before I even knew his name. He convinced me that I should give him my number, I convinced a stranger that this guy should cater his daughters wedding. I had known him for 2 hours. We went on a first date, ok...let me back up. We scheduled a first date, and I freaked out, so I pushed it out a few days. After all, I had been in a relationship for years. I wasn't ready. He was young. I was a mess. What if I got hurt again? After a quick pep talk from a friend, I jumped. We had our first date. I walked up, he was pacing and he looked nervous. It was cute. I was freaking out. Maybe it wasn't too late to run back to my car...and then he saw me and smiled. It was like seeing someone I had known all my life, and suddenly it was all ok. We sat outside at a local brewery, the sun was shining, and the beer was good. We talked about food, and our lives and what we both did. The conversation flowed naturally, there weren't awkward pauses. He insisted on paying the tab. I drove him to his house, a cute mint green craftsman. I liked him already. I blared Adele all the way home smiling. I sent my friend a text thanking him for making me say yes to the date. Our next date brought me to his house for a home cooked meal. He had worked hard to clean the house, threw his roommates out and even borrowed a tablecloth. He gathered flowers from his yard and the neighborhood. We had bacon wrapped dates with blue cheese, and bacon wrapped stuffed chicken. I brought wine. Again, the conversation flowed.
Weeks turned into months, and each day I find myself smiling about how bacon fixed a broken heart. I catch him looking at me, and I smile. I know I am loved and cared for, because of who I am and I am lucky to have found that. Not everyone finds so much love.
Despite the lows, this year was good. After all, how can you appreciate the great things, if you don't experience any hardships? I learned what I am willing to let go of, and what means enough for me to fight for. I learned that I am strong, capable and empowered. I can live on my own, I can do things, and I should never have to hope for the life I want. I have it.
Here's to an amazing 2012, my best to all of you. :)
“Sadness flies on the wings of the morning and out of the heart of darkness comes the light.” - Jean Giraudoux