New Year’s Eve 2012: A Bittersweet Goodbye

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

When you look back on 2012, what single word would you use to describe your year? Was it a year of triumph, of joy, of wealth or misfortune? Was it a year of stability or change? Was it a year of loss, grief and pain? Was it a year of peace and tranquility? Is it a year you are glad to have lived or is the year for you already reminiscent of heartache, failure, struggle or regret? Is there, if you were to consider it, a theme to your year?

Another year has come, tarried awhile, and is on the verge of bidding us all adieu. This year no doubt brought its share of surprises, joys, disappointments, challenges and successes. Maybe, for some, it was a year almost completely pocked with pain or personal failure. Maybe, instead, the year painted broad brushstrokes of blessing on the canvas of your days.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me, that 2012 has not been a good friend to me. It stands as the worst year on record, since 2005. All the years before that were mostly miserable. 2005 marked my move toward freedom and health. Though it was a good year in some really big ways, that year, and the years immediately following were difficult. Divorce is rough on families and finances. Second divorces, devastating.

Tonight, will be a night of parties and hoopla for many. I have been invited to an event. I am undecided about attending. This indecision is unusual for me. Nobody enjoys festivity more than I do. Usually, I am the one throwing the party, exclaiming, “You all come!”, and passing out the bulk purchase of champagne glasses filled with the bubbly to any one passing by. Not this year.

I’m a bit surprised at my own reaction. Just two months ago, I was beginning to plan another New Year’s Eve celebration. It was going to be big. I couldn’t wait to kick this year out in style. Then I got the news about possibly having another battle with breast cancer, like the one I just finished, and all my enthusiasm left me. It looked like 2013 was going to be a repeat, only worse, of 2012. Sure, the “news” ended up being “nothing serious at this time”, but it hit me hard. Much harder than I realized. My perspective has changed. 2012 with all it’s pain and purging, has left and indelible mark on my soul.

The year cannot go down in my personal history, as a total loss, however. In spite of all the really discouraging, disappointing, and defeating circumstances this year threw at me, there’s another side to consider. There’s the internal side. The circumstances are the things in a life that everyone can see. These we evaluate as good, bad, joyous, sad, depending on who we are and what we think of the circumstances themselves. How we respond to the circumstances, is what happens on the inside, some of which people see, but not all of it can be seen. People could see that I’d chosen to be positive through my little bout of cancer. What they didn’t see and don’t know is the joy I experienced as I cycled from work to radiation treatments and then home. What they’ll never be able to tell, is that, instead of being a frightening or painful memory, this particular episode, lingers with light and golden hues of warmth, strength, joy, and happiness. There is absolutely nothing like being diagnosed with something potentially very terrifying, and staying strong through it. These days, are happy memories for me, not sad ones.

There are the hours and days, shortly after I realized the Non-Boyfriend, was soon to become the Gone Boyfriend. Those were painful at the time. Now, looking back, these memories and moments paint a different picture. Glimpses of my son riding with me while I brushed away tears, in an attempt to overwrite the memories of places and things that the three of us used to do together which formed the fabric of our days over the last two years. My son and I growing together, during this time. My admiration of the young man he is becoming. The realization that not only did I not miss the Gone Boyfriend, I was happier, truly, deeply happier than ever before in my life. These bits of color among the gray backdrop of rejection, suggest a different scene than merely one of loss and failure. The memories intertwine to create a collage of joy, strength, peace, and confidence.

Financial struggles overwhelmed me this year, culminating in the loss of our only family car. This event, too, was not without its silver lining. In fact, it is a silver lining so bright we are still squinting a bit emotionally from it. It resulted in a newer model car (2012), medical bills paid off, savings in the bank, and a Christmas we never expected. Go ahead. Splash a bit more color on the dreary canvas of 2012.

A few months ago, I was anticipating the end of a brutal year. No one could be more excited than I about sending this year packing and ringing in a New Year and a fresh start. The circumstances of my life have gone from the depths of despair to the height of hope and happiness. Those are simply circumstances. Give it time and it will all cycle through again. The significance in this year is not in what happened around me, so much as what happened in me. For this reason, as much as I struggled and anguished and stayed up nights more than ever this year, bidding 2012 good-bye will be bittersweet for me. I’d never want to go through it again. I’m optimistic there are better days ahead. The memories of this year are not sad, they are sweet. We suffer. We grow. We change. We learn. We hope again.

So, as I lift my glass to ring in a New Year, it will be with a lingering glance of gratitude back at the old year. I will whisper, under the toasts and cheers and celebratory hoopla, “Thank-you, 2012, you were so incredibly good to me.”

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?

About Miz Insomniac

Usually, it's the kids who grow up and leave home, but Miz Insomniac switched it up. When her kids grew up she decided to make her dreams come true so she flew the nest. After making 12 trips across the pond and back to Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East in 2014-15, Miz Insomniac now qualifies as a world traveler. She hasn't quite mastered the fine art of traveling light, but she knows how to manipulate travel plans to avoid missed flights and jet lag. A former hopeless romantic turned realist, she's stateside now reinventing her life in a new city, with new opportunities, and all the challenges that come with leaving a career, traveling abroad for a year, and then returning to a world that's nothing like she left it. Her overseas travel is by no means over, it's just not as frequent. She's different now, but remains a night owl. She writes when she should be sleeping...and while you probably are.

Posted on December 31, 2012, in Holidays, Lessons Learned and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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