Just as Kirsten blogged about her Year of Broken Things
, I've been pondering the theme for my year. Sure, I could make it a broken things theme for the calendar year--a home burglary, a deceased grandmother, a stolen car, a cat with an abscessed jaw--but those things, while they cannot be trivialized, haven't coalesced into a concrete central motif.
This year's theme appears to be about overcoming fear, with emphasis on overcoming an ingrained flight response to confrontation, honesty, and discomfort. Rather than being up front when something upsets me, my natural inclination is to say nothing and grumble under my breath out of some misguided notions of harmony. I prefer something safe and mildly unpleasant or upsetting over taking any risks and seeing just how bad a situation can turn. Someone whose wisdom I value has written herself notes stating "leap, and the net will appear," all over her home, and because of a few invitations to visit, that message is sinking into me.
In this vein, I continue to be amazed and surprised at the ways in which my interactions with friends have contributed to this year's theme.
My recent rekindling of a friendship with B. has brought so many wonderful and unexpected things, and the timing of our reconnection has benefited me in ways I never foresaw, all beginning with that single, crucial hurdle over my trepidation in opening up a connection with him. That fear, which in many ways was more intense than most others, encompassed both my complete avoidance of confrontation and honesty about how our friendship had deteriorated and my dread of upgrading the tropical depression of grief over the loss to a full-force hurricane of angry and hurtful barbs we could have hurled at each other. But he was worth overcoming my fears for.
And though B. would never take or even acknowledge credit for it, he made the net appear when I leapt. He unintentionally inspired me to put other wheels in motion.
Offshoots of this courage continue to sprout around me. I found the courage to follow my own advice to a friend and confront her about something bothering me--something which happily turned out to be a simple miscommunication between us. Fear didn't overwhelm me when I was dealing with a possible change in jobs and negotiating with my current employer, which has netted me a promotion. I found the means, strength, and diplomacy not to burn my bridge with the company I turned down, which resulted in an open-ended job offer and no hurt feelings.
Ages ago it seems, I read that a person has a social, intellectual, and spiritual side, and that one side should never develop at the expense of the other two. That may or may not be true, but I'm certainly guilty of living the life of the mind while my social and spiritual sides atrophied. To prevent this trend from becoming irreversible, I've dived into actively pushing myself into social situations where my hermit-self would have a ready-made laundry list of excuses not to attend, and as a result, unfamiliar social situations are less nerve-wracking than before. And despite its awkwardness, I started dipping my toes back into the dating pool, with mixed results but much less anxiety and hesitation than before.
After my previous trip to Montana, I worried that I was slipping into something that has plagued me since I left home to attend college--the nagging sense that my heart will always be wherever I'm not currently living. When I was attending college out of state, I missed my home state. When I moved to California, I longed for the Pacific Northwest. And after I visited friends in Montana twice, I started getting that sense of dread at returning home and yearning for more time in the mountains.
But I don't feel that now. Sure, I'd love to have a home in Montana and visit whenever the mood struck me, but I'd hate living in that climate year-round, even with the intelligent, kind-hearted folks out there. And I'm reasonably happy where I am. Rootless thing that I was, I've put roots down here. And I feel nothing if not serenely calm about the idea of staying here in the lush Pacific Northwest, untroubled by the thought of what I might be missing in Montana. Make no mistake, I intend to keep visiting, but for the foreseeable future, I'll dance in the rain.
I've had fewer bouts of insomnia. I rarely feel the need to nap on the couch, and I can get up earlier than I used to with less grogginess. I feel healthier and more alive than ever before. I can conclude only that overcoming fear must be good for one's health.
The latter part of this year has left me feeling incredibly blessed, so much so that I'm finding it difficult to blog about all the crap going on in the world. I'm not swallowing the blue pill
, mind you--I can't willfully blind myself to what's around me. But to quote a movie
I love "I guess I could be pretty pissed off... but it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world."