Monday, December 20, 2010

Lessons from 2010

5 Lessons from a Tough Year

It's always this time of year that we begin to reflect. We consider what we achieved in the year, what we lost in the year and what we gained.

It's been a turbulent 2010. I lost a close friend recently to a tragic car accident. I lost relationships/friendships with people during this year. But for the first time in many years, I am ending the year reflecting more on the positive that came out of it.

I gained a Fiancee. I strengthened my relationship with my son to the point of being unbreakable. And, more to the point, I learn some valuable lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my life and help me to avoid mistakes of the past in the future years.

Here's just some of those lessons:

1) Staying silent does not make it any less real. I have never been good at vocalising how I feel about something. Extremes of negative emotion have often manifested themselves in other ways with me - excessive stress, moodiness or even ill health. At the beginning of this year I sought help, having been a cynic of such help for as long as I can remember. The first few months were just unbelievably hard. It's like my counsellor prodded the sleeping lions and suddenly I was dealing with feelings I forgot I even had - a lot of them and all at once. It was incredibly tough. I'm still having sessions every other week and I find it much easier these days. I've learn that it's ok to say, "Ouch... this fucking hurts like hell." It's alright to let people see that you are upset. I've learnt I do my family no favours by adopting the very British "stiff upper lip" pose. Human emotion is as natural as breathing.

2) Unconditional love is real. I've never believed in unconditional love. I've always assumed there was a clause to every connection of love between people. But this year is the first complete year I have had my son living with me. He's been grieving his Mother who passed away in october 2009 and it was a tough year for him. But to take the silver lining, he and I are so close now. And he taught me that unconditional love is a very real thing. There is nothing that boy could do to make me love him even an ounce less than I do. The same applies to my sister and to Chloe. Nothing could make me love them any less...

3) Silence is louder than screaming sometimes. Sometimes there is just no need for venemous words or fighting and silence speaks more volumes than anything else. Plus... with silence, you damage nothing. And perhaps when the clouds have lifted there is a possibility of repairing what was broken, not to a place where it was precisely what it was before... but at least to polish it up to something equally as important.

4) There's no such thing as "too busy." Granted, we can find ourselves completely bogged down with work and other commitments sometimes. But if something is important enough, you make time for it. Even if it takes special planning and it might only be a few minutes, even if it means getting up 5 minutes earlier or going to bed 5 minutes later, if something is important enough you simply have to find a way to make it fit into your day.

5) There's nothing as important as family. I've come to appreciate my family so much this year. It got a bit disjointed following the death of my Mother several years ago. But we've rebuilt it... the "next generation," if you will... and it's the fundamental source of life for me.

It's been a valuable learning year, very much a transitional year with ups and downs. But the future is looking sunny (despite the layer of ice on the ground outside) :)

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