This was not a good year for me by any stretch of the imagination.
And honestly, it’s only partly because of the fire. While that sucked, it’s pretty much behind me now. What’s not behind me is the persistent loneliness that was the dominant feeling of this year.
I remember back in 2008, I had a coworker who lost her apartment in a fire remarkably similar to mine– it was a fire that was caused by someone else’s cigarette, it killed one person, she had renter’s insurance, and her apartment wasn’t damaged as badly as the others, although she still had to move out. At the time, I felt so bad for her. Now that I’ve been through it myself, I find myself envying her, because there is one key difference between her experience and mine: she was (and still is) married. I had to go through the whole thing alone.
A few days ago, someone asked me who I call when I have a bad day. The question surprised me, because…I don’t call anyone when I have a bad day. Like, it doesn’t even occur to me to call anyone. And I realized that it’s something that people in good relationships take for granted: that when they have a bad day, someone will be there for them.
I might never have that.
The year certainly had its bright spots (my new job is definitely one of them), but overall, I spent too much of this year very unhappy. I’m doing my best to make changes in my life, although I know there’s no guarantee that I’ll be successful in making those changes.
But if I had to tell you one thing I’ve learned from this year, it’s this: it’s important to give yourself things to look forward to.
Buy a ticket to that thing you love. Plan a trip. Sign up for a race. Take a class. Mark your calendar for when that book/movie/TV show comes out. Do what you need to do to keep yourself going.
Because when your future seems uncertain, when you don’t know if your life will ever turn out the way you want it to, when it seems like all the good things in your life are behind you, the best thing you can do is give yourself a reason to look forward.