After a little reflection, I realized I had a bit of an Eat, Pray, Love experience in 2014. (Since it sounds cheesy, let me explain.) I began to find myself by isolating myself and then getting to know the person who emerged.
Last year, I got divorced (which is of course a story for another day). I changed jobs shortly after, so that I could deploy to Afghanistan. I felt like I needed to get away from all the small stressors of life and my fear of being alone forever. Instead I needed desperately to take a deep breath and get to know the stranger I was with… myself. If you had asked me last fall, I would never would have been able to explain my sudden need to get out-of-town. I just knew that it was a necessity. Deploying for me was like taking a six month pause on real life, with the wonderful side benefit of building a little nest egg to minimize financial fears now that I am on my own.
Shortly before my six month deployment ended, I began this blog and met all of you. I have never felt so confident opening up to complete strangers and sharing so much of myself without judgement. And PS, it’s much easier than opening up to people I know… who knew? This has been a very positive experience for me. So thank you to all of you for being part of my year. No it’s not meditative yoga in India, but I find it a bit therapeutic and insightful at times.
At the end of my six month deployment, I took a solo trip to Italy. It wasn’t the original way the trip had been planned, but does anything go as planned? In the spirit of Carpe Diem and not letting other people take control my little world, I reimagined what at one time may have been an incredibly romantic trip into an adventurous solo journey. Traveling by myself made me incredibly confident (I didn’t miss any of my zillion train/hotel/bus/plane/boat reservations) and excited that whether I ever find love, I am still very capable of living out my travel dreams. It seems quite a good sign when you can stand your own company and talk to nearly no one over the course of a week. After being told I am quite embarrassing, it is nice to travel alone and not have travel fights because I’m traveling with the wrong person.
I began to date this year, which is not my favorite at all. I think that I’ve grown as a person and become so much more confident than the shell of myself that remained after my marriage crumpled. I am no longer putting on airs or pretending to be happy, but moving toward real happiness. It’s not easy, and there are days when the unexpected throws me for a loop, but everyone has bad days. I’m no longer pretending to be perfect, but enjoying learning my imperfections and making them my favorite parts and maybe one day someone else will see their loveliness as well.
After having quite a successful and happy year, December has been an utter tornado wrecking havoc in my world. Although it’s never good to wish for time to pass quickly, I cannot wait for 2013 to come to a close. I am hoping that 2014 will bring new opportunities in work, love and happiness with each passing day for me and to you all. Happy New Year!