May 22

Everyone probably knows the quote that says The worst distance between two people is misunderstanding. Sometimes it reads as the longest distance, but the sentiment is the same. Failing to connect because you can’t grasp what the other person is saying over your own point of view, especially if your view is tinged with strong emotions. It’s a calamity to let misunderstandings with someone you care about  lie unresolved. Yet why is it so easy to let our emotions dictate our judgement? And sometimes so hard to extend the olive branch? Why do we sometimes persist in our stubbornness to the point of letting people go? Life is too brief to be unyielding. Pride is a false disguise for pain. It only makes the pain harder to bear.

I’m thankful today to have bridged the distance with someone I care about. It’s a weight lifted to have revisited where things went wrong without the burden of emotion and have an honest conversation about how to make things right again. To say I’m sorry and mean it and to hear the same back. There’s curative powers in being vulnerable. The relationship may not be the same as it was, but we have a different place to begin again and that’s the whole point. There’s no ending, just an evolution. And this time, the connection may be even better.

New Year

Today I could say that I’m grateful for a new year and new beginnings and all the typical stuff. It would be true, of course. However, today I’m really thankful for the past year. Specifically, I’m thankful for all the painful moments–and there were a lot of them.

In the middle of last year, I came to the realization that I needed to walk away from the man I loved. The end of any relationship is difficult, even when it’s a mutual mess and both sides are at the point of hating each other. It’s harder, I think, when you realize that loving each other isn’t enough. Sometimes it’s simply not good for the soul. Although the heart wants what the heart wants, it doesn’t always know what’s good for us. Walking away from this relationship was difficult for me on many levels, but mostly because it meant making myself a priority. Not an easy decision for someone conditioned otherwise.

The painful moments of that choice have led me to a point where I’ve learned to be on my own. Not just on my own, paying the bills and taking care of the house; I had done that before. But being alone. As Alanis Morissette sings, I declared a respite from the toils of liaison. Strangely, I didn’t yearn to fill the void with another relationship, although I had plenty of lonely moments. Instead, I spent more time with friends and more time by myself. I learned to appreciate being solitary.

In fact, last night I didn’t go anywhere. I had some invites, but I chose instead to stay home. I built a fire and watched bad tv. I ate whatever sounded good at the moment, which included strawberry pie, rutabaga, rice pudding, and wasabi pecans, and drank a Chocolate Cherry Bock. (Thankfully, I didn’t puke later from the combination.) I rearranged a bookshelf. I sang karaoke in the dark. (It was an easy crowd). Then, at midnight, I stopped flossing long enough to say Happy New Year to myself in the mirror. Overall, it was a good New Year’s Eve. I spent it alone, and that was ok. I’m not sure I would have been happy with that a year ago. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t be.

So while I hope for more good moments in 2014 than painful ones, I’m grateful for the turmoil of last year. I’m entering the new year a stronger person.