As we approach the end of another year, rather than making resolutions, I am much more prone to looking back and the last year, and measuring the success by comparing where I am in live to this time last year.
Wow, the end of 2011 looks very different than then end of 2010 did!
First off, the obvious. Last year I was working at a different firm and living in a different state than I am now. It was difficult to pick up and leave Ohio behind. I’d lived there for 25 years. I have family there, and dear friends who I would miss seeing on a regular basis, not to mention the 6-7 months that I’d be living apart from my own wife after I moved down here. This has been a huge change, and the change has provided a number of challenges, some of which I knew going in while others were fairly unexpected:
- I missed my wife, more than I even thought I would. I went in thinking it would be like she was traveling for work, only for a couple of months at a time. I forgot just how much I depended on having friends around when Angela wasn’t. Now that I was the one away, from her and friends, there were moments of profound loneliness. On the other hand, there was the knowledge that this was temporary, and was a step to us living in the South, which was the goal.
- Despite all the advances in online resources to connect with local people, it’s really hard to meet people and develop friendships when you work very different hours than they do. Greenville, SC is not friendly to those of us who work until 8 in the evening. This is not NY, DC, or even Columbus. Much of Greenville closes down not much after I get done working in the evening.
- On the flip side, Facebook, email, texting, etc. gave me a way to keep in touch with those friends I was leaving behind in Ohio. It’s not the same as being able to spend time with them in person, but when it’s all you have, it’s a godsend. I’m eternally grateful to the folks who have kept in touch and provided a sense of community from far away. I look forward to showing some of those far flung friends the beauty that is the mountains of the Western Carolinas some day soon too!
- I never knew so many people up north had such difficulty with the concept that there is a North and a South Carolina. For the record, we live in SOUTH Carolina, though we are close to the border. 😉
- Of all the stress involved in moving and starting a new job, none of it compares to picking out the house you and your wife are going to live in, when she’s not here to have any input.
- When you change this much at once, it’s difficult to find the same routines again. I sort of “fell” into new routines, and struggled to get back to doing things like writing, or taking the camera out to explore, the same way I had before. Heck, even living with a spouse is a routine you have to get back into after being apart that long!
- Now that we are both here, and settled in to our new home, knowing that we made it through all of these changes gives me a sense of confidence in myself, and our marriage, that I have never known before. Other survivors of childhood abuse can understand what it’s like to not develop self-confidence, and being deathly afraid of change, but the ones who can look that fear in the eye and do it anyway, get to see so much growth and healing. I wouldn’t have had this much growth in one year without these challenges.
I will say that the big lesson I will take away from this year, is to always look forward. Getting through all this new “stuff” alone was much less about the strength of my character than it was about knowing what the goals were and being able to see where it fit in with what we wanted from our lives. There was a point to all of this, and that knowledge made it possible to carry on through the stress and loneliness. I think that’s a pretty important thing to keep in mind as we struggle through healing from abuse. There is a point to the struggle.
If I had a resolution, it would be to find my routine again, to get back to doing the things that make me happy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly happy with the choices we made this year, but I’d like to maybe have some time to be a little less overwhelmed and find happiness in the small details of life again.
I hope that whether 2012 brings you tremendous changes, or just small ones, that they bring you much joy and happiness going forward!