Life, Love, Personal Development

Last Year’s Woman

And all the rain falls down, amen
On the works of last year’s man.
-Leonard Cohen, “Last Year’s Man”

It’s the reason I love to write, the reason why I’ve kept a journal in some form or another since I was young — it’s that outlet in which to sort out the entanglement of emotions you’re feeling, a way to put to paper what you’re experiencing in that very moment…

A chance to remember where you’ve been so you can be proud of where you are.

At least, that’s where I finally am now.

Later, many years from now, when I unpack a forgotten box or search back through the saved files on my computer, I hope that I will take a moment and read through those scribbled entries in that rediscovered journal, the words on this blog that captured my thoughts, my life, my memories. A life is but a story, and I’m telling mine in the only way I know how — through words. Through something that enables me to both process and share…For a future, to remember the past.

This year, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to look back when it’s all so fresh, so familiar, still so close to heart, though, with everything I’ve been through, truthfully it feels like a lifetime. Healing from illness, fighting the darkness and often myself, learning to love myself again (and to let love in), realizing a dream…I can’t say this past year has been easy, but looking back, it has most definitely been unexpectedly worth it.

Thanks to everyone who has been here through every step of this journey — your emails, comments, chats, and even simple hellos are what helped me through the blue days, and your friendship is what brought on so many yellow ones.

And if ever the clouds threaten to engulf me again, I know that there’s sunshine — in each of you — just waiting to help me push through.

So here’s to the coming year, and here’s to every single one of you!

Reflection is pretty much what this blog is all about — looking back in order to move forward. As such, it was pretty incredible to go through the posts and see just how much has changed in what is really such a short amount of time. Below is a sampling of entries that have rounded out a whirlwind of a year...

Show Me A Smile Then
(Posted: January 5, 2010)

Life comes minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day and sometimes that’s exactly what it takes to get where you want to go. Sometimes, it takes a lot of just getting through, just getting by. Sometimes, it takes more than words of inspiration.

Sometimes it takes all you have just to walk out the door in the morning.

Finding Courage In The Everyday
(Posted: January 21, 2010)

There’s courage in acknowledging fear, walking side by side with it, then finding the strength to bid that fear farewell. There’s courage in looking at yourself – all your flaws and insecurities that hold you back, the regrets that linger, the memories that last — and loving yourself regardless.

Maybe there’s even courage in a smile, when that next one once seemed so far away.

Don’t You Love In Vain
(Posted: February 7, 2010)
Hold on. Love now. Love always.

Because it does matter; it is enough.

And that love that you feel? That will never, ever leave you.

Clinging To A Past That Doesn’t Let You Choose
(Posted: February 9, 2010)

There are memories stored in places, moments frozen in time and marked by the structures that housed our dreams, our laughter, our tears, and ourselves. And while someday I know I’ll love another place, while someday there will be another home, there are these moments and memories I’ll always return to.

Captive On A Carousel of Time
(Posted: February 25, 2010)

Maybe we longed for this time because every memory that makes you smile or laugh or cry or cringe is a culmination of you. Maybe looking back to then helps us better understand our now, to see how far we’ve come and how far we want to go.

The Things We Carry
(Posted: March 22, 2010)

And so, as these moments come and go, though they may be fleeting, we smile to ourselves, close our eyes, and imprint the moment on our memory with a whispered reminder:

Keep this.

Losing My Religion
(Posted: April 4, 2010)

Over the years, though my belief  in religion faded, my spirituality only continued to blossom. And while there were times when that belief wavered, when anger and pain clouded my personal faith, there remained, still, a lingering sense that there was something greater than even ourselves, that there was something timeless and beautiful and full of hope and purpose.

It’s Kinda Tough Getting Older
(Posted: April 26, 2010)

You know where you’re going and who you’re becoming. You’re an adult now — isn’t that what this means? You’re ready for it, you’ve prepared for it, you’re eager for an entire future that lies ahead, just waiting for you. You never stop to think that life can turn out so differently than what you have planned.

Maybe, just maybe, thinking fondly on the past helps us look forward to a better future.

As Our Lives Change
(Posted: June 27, 2010)

People come in and out of our lives and there’s no one to blame — least of all ourselves. Yet there are those who will always remain, no matter how you change, no matter how far apart you are, no matter how long it has been.

The Writing’s On The Wall
(Posted: July 26, 2010)

Yet, never once, despite all of these emotions, has there been even the smallest shred of doubt that this isn’t the right decision, that this isn’t meant to be, that this is the next step on my journey.

Conversations With The Universe
(Posted: September 7, 2010)

I know how you work, it’s that whole “get it out, then figure it out” reflex of yours. And you know what? That’s ok, too. Because this life? It’s not easy. It’s not designed to be that way. If it were easy, we’d all be partying it up with cheesy popcorn and Chex Mix and those really, really spicy Doritos and tootsie rolls.

This Is Not Goodbye
(Posted: October 3, 2010)

I used to think that goodbye meant goodbye for now, see you later, I’ll be back soon…

Until the day I began to fear that goodbye meant forever.

Until I realized that goodbye still means goodbye, for now…

Life And Love And Now
(Posted: October 21, 2010)
I’m falling in love again…
Falling head-first, maddeningly in love.

A Young Love Story
(Posted: November 16, 2010)

It was especially hard, not just because he was that first love, but because I had been surrounded by loss then — permanent losses — and, somehow, I think I wrapped them all up together in my mind, like one vast void of abandonment, an emptiness in my heart that I wondered would ever fill back up.

Awakening To An Embrace
(Posted: December 2, 2010)

But most importantly, I’ve found myself again. I’ve reawakened that part of myself that has always found beauty and passion in everything — everything. I’ve rediscovered that girl who thrives on independence but values the comfort of those she holds dearest, the woman who knows her heart is sensitive, but can find a strength there just the same.

Portrait of a Young Woman
(Posted: December 21, 2010)

Susan, I have something to tell you. I have so very many things to tell you — that you’ll meet your best friends in college, that you’ll go back to France as you’ve always dreamed, that you’ll find your place, buy a house when you’re still single (bet you can’t see that one coming) — but this is the most important, the message I hope you keep tucked away in that special corner of your heart, that part that is reserved just for you and no one else, to draw from its strength when you need it, to remember when you feel lost and alone:

I’m proud of you.

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