Friday, June 22, 2012

What A Difference A Decade Makes

I refer to 2002 as my year of discombobulation. One hell of a year... my grandmother passed, my college sweetheart was found dead, I left a job I had for over a decade, and went through a painful breakup. Not all the events were bad- three of my best friends and my sister got married- but even so all that happiness for others (plus involvement in two of the weddings) while my world crashed around me plain wore me out. All the while, many old friends faded from my life and everywhere I turned was change, change, change. 

10 years later and I'm looking back at that time of my life and the things I've learned and how I worked through some of the discombobulation of that time. Here are 10 things I learned:

  • Time Heals: but it doesn't numb. I feel sadness for the ones I've loved and lost much less frequently after so much time has passed, but heartbreak over missing them still hits me a few times a year and that pain is as sharp and brutal. The key is to let the sadness remind us to appreciate all we have to be grateful for today. 
  • True Friends Stick: Most people are fair-weather friends but only a few people will have our backs and deserve our devotion. Nothing to be mad about, it's just helpful to know the difference between someone we are friendly with and a true friend.
  • Tell People Now: Mad at or in-love with someone- tell them now! We never know how long we have in this life and no grudge is worth keeping so fight it out and be done with it. Or profess your love. Life's too short to keep grudges or crushes to ourselves.
  • Forgive Everyone: No one who is good does anything purposely mean. It's not personal, it's simply the best they can manage at the time. The rotten ones that are evil at their core can't help themselves they are broken/sick. Forgive them because they are not well. Compassion brings peace when we realize everyone is doing the best they can with what they have to work with.  
  • Jump In: Life is not safe and we can't protect ourselves from most things in life so we might as well go for it. I try to remember when we go for something we end up with: what we wanted, a new starting point, or a lesson learned. Better any of that then regret for not trying.
  • Energy Ripples: All the good or bad energy we put out in the world eventually touches people and we rarely know its ultimate outcome. We might inspire or wound someone we have never met without even knowing it, so we need to be aware of the vibes we send out and be in touch with how powerful our words and actions are.
  • No = Not Them: If someone doesn't want to marry, hire, friend, etc. us then their no just means it's not for them. We can't take someone's no on as our own. Almost all great things (or maybe just all great stories told about greatness) start with a string of no's before they hit the right yes.
  • Drop The Past: We carry our baggage around with us and wonder why we have no room in our life for new people, things, love, experiences, etc. We need to clean up our messes and then just move on. Anything we carry with us should serve us or it's a waste of our energy and time.
  • I'm MEan: We are all mean in our own way and when we pretend that we haven't hurt people we are denying our nastiness and avoiding the me-ness of meanness. Owning up to our imperfections and cleaning up our messes and is a much more powerful way to get on with our lives. 
  • Life's A Story: We are the author of our life story. The bad news is we believe in our own stories so we often suffer because we can't see the truth of reality only our tainted version of it. The great news is we have the power to write our own stories and even retell them in a way that empowers us. 
The biggest thing I'm working on now is to turn the next decade into one worthy of the next 10 years of my life and the loved ones who are not here to live it with me. There are many things I want to do and see and be. Many chapters to be written, adventures to be had, and love to be lived. Looking forward to it!

What have you gone through and learned from in the last decade and what are you hoping to create in the one ahead?