In preparation for the end of the year, I decided to pull together a list of things I’d like to write about in the last month. This year, December has five Mondays, the last one coincidentally the very last day of the calendar. So I will spend these last Mondays writing about the years: last year, this year, and next.
Today’s topic is “I’m sorry”, where I wrap up all the burdens of negativity for the year and prepare to toss it out the proverbial window.
What were some of your regrets from this year?
Ahh, this question! If I could have only one regret in my life, it would be that I had regrets at all. Alas, I have too many. They more or less take two forms: rushing into making mistakes, and shying away from opportunities.
My very first Facebook post of the year, dated January 1 2012, said: “This year, I will find my muchness.” I’m not so confident about having accomplished that. It didn’t even take me long to forget that vow, and I hate that.
I regret swallowing my pride for the wrong people, and mixing up my priorities. I regret being so scared, and I regret holding on to my excuses. I regret all the times I ranted instead of doing something. I regret not aiming higher, and I regret not finding someone to talk to when I first started getting bad.
Write a list of things that you need to let go of next year.
– I need to let go of my bitterness.
– I need to let go of the things that I no longer can do anything about. Like the people I cannot save, the people I cannot change, and most especially the people that are not my responsibility to save or change.
– I need to let go of the people who wanted me for a while, but no longer do.
– I need to let go of the things I don’t know. (Tougher than you’d think, because I am a control freak with knowledge!)
– I need to let go of my fears (of being wrong, of failing at the first try, of being weak, of being laughed at).
– I need to let go of my weaknesses, and prove to myself once and for all that weaknesses can be conquered.
What was the toughest thing you had to do this year, and how did you do it?
I have three answers: two specific instances, and one that spreads over a longer period and is a bit more vague.
The first was having to work with difficult people. Before then, I avoided difficult work relationships by avoiding work relationships, but I obviously couldn’t do that forever. It got so rough and tiresome that I seriously considered giving up my role (which was something I really loved). I roughed it through anyway, and I found myself in a whirlwind of confrontations and messy attempts at mending.
The second was my break-up. Ten months is a big deal, clearly, and I’m not the type to do well with loneliness. But here’s something I believe in: if you have to hesitate about saying yes to love, you might as well say no. There simply was no half-a**ing love, and if I had stayed in that relationship, that’s what I would have been doing. So I took a few minutes of heart-stopping recklessness to say the words.
“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”
— Paper Towns, John Green
The third is something I seem to go through every year, although it never gets any less difficult–depression. Sometimes I can pinpoint the cause of my gloom, and therefore make it look smaller and ‘defeatable’. Sometimes, like this year, it sneaks up on me so softly and silently that I don’t realize it’s there until I notice how empty I am. And, like most times, I got through it with a lot of support from people who love me.
Write a message to someone you want to say sorry to.I’m sorry for the mind games. Occasionally, I reasoned that I was trying to pull something out of you. Often, it bothered me that I was turning you into something you maybe didn’t want to be. I’m sorry for leaving for the wrong reasons. I’m sorry for not being honest about those reasons. You never took the truth well, and so, believe it or not, I did it for you. I’m sorry for asking for more than you could give. I’ve told you my reasons for that. I’m sorry it was harder for you than it was for me, and I’m sorry if you’re still hurting.
Write a message to someone you need to forgive.I don’t want to be angry anymore. I don’t want to be defensive anymore, I don’t want to have to bite my tongue down anymore. It’s hard for me to admit it, but we’re just the same. We are people, we feel hurt, and we hurt people. We’re both normal people who do good and bad things. I’m not going to claim to be the bigger person by forgiving you; I need forgiveness too. That feeling doesn’t really go away, but maybe this one can. You may not even want my forgiveness, but I want my peace. I’m letting go. I’m really letting go this time.