As this year comes to a close, I want to take a couple of minutes to reflect upon the past year and where I am now as a parent, woman, friend. It has been awhile since I have blogged so this may be a doozie, but that is not something that bothers me - my good friends will tell you that I tend to write novels anyway :)
I am not at all where I thought I would be right now. Going into my 29th year, I thought for sure I would be married with at least 2 kids, maybe even more. I would be starting my career as a teacher, excited to see young people light up and become passionate about something, much as I did in high school. I thought I would be settled down and getting into a sort of stride in my life.
But as all of us know, that is not the case. Here I am, a single Mom of one amazing little girl at 28 (almost 29), unable to finish my degree in secondary education for financial reasons, working at a job that I by no means hate, but never thought I would be working at. At I certainly have not settled down or found a stride in my life...at all. In fact, I just laughed typing that. Nothing about where I am is at all where I thought I would be. I have experienced a lot of heartache this year, which many do not know about. In fact, I could even tell you that there were probably times that my parents knew something was going on in the past 2 years they have lived with me, but it was very rare that I would actually cry or lash out emotionally about something. I have felt as though I have to be the stronghold of the family, of my family. I do not have a choice but to be strong and forge ahead. To fight my emotional battles by myself and not burden others with them. And there is nothing wrong with being strong and looking at the present and the future instead of the past. But emotionally, that is hard to through on your own and fight battles on your own. All of my friends who have loving partners, please remember this: CHERISH the partner you have. Never take for granted the love and emotional support they give you. You may have your family you grew up with (which is amazing), but raising children and moving forward with your life without that emotional partner...it is much harder than I ever imagined it would be. Even when your partner is away for a long period of time and taking care of the house and the kids seems unmanageable and you are about to pull your hair out, remember that you have that emotional partner who is there for you...to catch you when you fall emotionally. That equal who is always there to hold you up and you to hold them up. Do not forget that and please, do not take it for granted.
I have had dear friends who have gone through traumatic events in their lives this past year and I would have done ANYTHING to take on that burden for them. Anything. Those times make friendships stronger, even when the friendship itself changes. To know that there are people out there that will always be there for me, regardless of where we are at, and for them to know that I would do the same for them...THAT is all that matters. It really is. At the end of the day, having people who love you and you love them and you are there for each other...that is all that really matters.
So here I am, about to start 2014 with a large amount of student loan debt, no husband (or boyfriend to speak of), and not at all where I thought I would be in my career. And there are moments when the thought of that brings me down...a lot more than I would care to admit. However, I choose to live in the NOW. I choose to live in the present and look towards the future. I cannot do anything about my past -- the things that I cannot change. I can sit here and stew over them and see how I could have done this or that differently but ultimately, I am just allowing the past and the fear of the unknown to take a hold of me and suck life out of me. But I choose to not do that -- it is a choice. It is a choice that you make to say "horrible things have happened...I am not the person I was before. My life was shattered and I, as a person, am altered. But I am looking at the now. I will never forget the past and what has happened to me, but I am living for the present and the future." And that is something I tell myself every night before I go to sleep. I did the best I could today but I cannot change anything that happened. I cannot rewind time. Tomorrow is a new day - a fresh, clean day. No mistakes. I have to make NOW the best today I can...and every day after that.
With all that being said, I would not change a thing. I would do it all over again if I had to, without hesitation. I would take the good with the bad; endure the heartaches for all the moments of celebration and happiness. And I would do it over and over again without even thinking about it. And when I think about the hard times, and trust me, they were hard, I think about how much more FULL I am because of all the good times. How much light and joy is in my life because of my little Emmalynn. How I don't know how I would survive without her or how I survived before her. How EVERYTHING I do is for her.
And so 2014 is a year of living in the NOW (in case you hadn't figured that out yet :) ) -- being positive and looking forward, not back. Loving with everything I have and not putting up walls. Being the best person I can be and allowing myself to make mistakes. Allowing myself to feel pain and heartbreak. Allowing myself to learn from those experiences and move forward. In 2014, I will be the best mother I can be and the best friend I know how to be. I will continue to be there for those who need me and be a light for those who need one. But most of all, I will live in the present....live in the NOW. Do everything I can today to make it the best day possible and the same the next day, and the day after that. No holding back.
So Happy Almost 2014 -- make it a great year! Love harder, live better, never hold back.