I know its a little early and the year is nowhere near done. But the winds have started to change and that cool, Autumn breeze has shifted in and it makes me think of fall. Fall into winter and winter soon turns to spring, and soon it will be a new calendar year. I say calendar year because years are defined so differently depending on where you are on the planet. But one thing remains the same: time won’t stop- life goes on.
Thinking back over the year 2010 I feel like I have continued to change, evolve, grow. 27 years old, I am (I think I just said that in a Yoda voice in my mind- I am strange this I know). I have learned quite a bit this year, have been faced with the ups and downs that so many of us face. And yet, I am still here, standing, trucking along.
So I thought I would share the 10 things I have learned this year. I have probably learned more than 10 but here are just a random few.
1. “You’re Not Going to Die.”
I am a self admitted hypochondriac. A new illness every minute I am constantly self diagnosing myself through WebMD, Yahoo Health and other medical sites. A stiff neck and headache can quickly turn to a diagnosis of Aseptic Meningitis. And so I pick up the phone and call my mother, my father and my fiance to cry wolf. Somewhere in the back of my mind I know I am crying wolf. But I have usually worked myself up into such a frenzy that I need someone to tell me that I am being ridiculous and that person (although it can be all three of them) is usually my father.
“You’re not going to die,” he says.
And then I laugh, and say “You’re right.” And realize I am being a little insane. And sometimes a headache is just a headache.
2. “Wherever I Lay My Hat, That’s My Home.”
I have moved many a time over the years but this year- giving up my house (it was rented) was particularly tough. I believe it was because this house was the first one that I felt was entirely my own. I have lived with my parents, with roomates, with others but this little house we rented, Rob and I, was the first house I felt was really mine.
When we first saw the place we fell in love with it. It was late August and flowers were blooming in the front of the house. As we drove up the driveway I just knew it would be our house. The deck looked out over a beautiful yard and a stream ran by. A freight train would go back and forth right outside the house. We got used to the noise. When I left that house I would feel strange living in such silence.
But houses- just like people- whither over time. The flowers died. The cracks in the walls got larger. And when Rob lost his job and we had to move the house seemed different to me.
And yet…I cried, like a baby, at the thought of leaving this house. The one that was finally mine…was finally ours.
When we moved in with Rob’s father I thought, “This will never be home.”
But summer has faded into fall and as I walk up the driveway nowadays I feel, “Wow, it’s great to be home.” And when I put my feet up on the sofa I feel like, “Yes, this is nice.” And when we sit out on the back porch and listen to Dr. Dog, Sublime or James Brown, I think “I could get used to this.” But what I love most is when we get out on Rob’s roof, the place we used to spend so much time when we first started dating, and stare up at the stars together…then I really feel like “This is home.”
3. “All the Lonely People…Where Do They All Come From?”
I can be slightly neurotic when alone. My mother likes to say I have an “active imagination.” I think that is putting it mildly. One bump in the dark and I start to imagine the rapists and killers that are lurking in the bushes outside. I imagine they are literally millions of them wondering outside waiting for their first opportunity to break in.
So I have to get up- check the locks, check the windows, turn the TV on, turn the radio on, turn all the lights in the house on, check the doors again. Then sit there and try to distract myself from my impending doom. ‘Profit of doom,” my mother would say. “How do you get these things in your mind?”
Umm…I’m psychologically disturbed?
Maybe I should write horror. Honestly, it is disturbing the things I come up with. I have no idea where they come from. All I know is since I was a child they were there- tormenting me.
But this year in particular I have had to face myself..look myself in the mirror and say, “Ok, what is going on here?”
Why am I so scared to be alone?
Going back to the “Not going to die” lesson I came to the realization that there can’t possible be every serial killer or rapist just hanging around my house waiting for the chance that noone is home.
That is not to say I shouldn’t be aware of my surroundings or safe, but, I’m not going to sit and worry about it.
I’m not going to worry my life away- as Jason Mraz says. Thanks Mraz.
But the other thing I have come to realize is that I know so many super strong, super awesome women that also hate to be alone. These women (much like myself) always need the comfort of a relationship. They feel validated by a man and if they are not in one relationship then they move on to the next.
I know- serial monogamist. Guilty, as charged.
But it got me thinking…where did all these lonely people come from? (Tell me Paul, who?)
Why do we all feel so crazy on our own? I mean technically, I was on my own for 18 years and I seemed just fine. I didn’t need a man then- or to be surrounded by friends. I used to climb trees and sing songs and paint.
So I got back into painting this year and writing, and doing yoga, and dancing, and reading. I’m writing an awesome book in my mind right now. It’s called “Who is Suki?”
And through it all I am just trying to figure I actually am? And why do I hate being alone with myself?”
4. Driving is Very Much Like Life
I do a lot of driving. This year I have racked up the miles. From all around Delaware to Philly, Baltimore, DC, Virginia, Poconos, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and everywhere. I’ve been everywhere (ah yes, some Johnny Cash maybe for the ride?)
And while driving I always seem to think about life. Particularly when I drive on my own. I got to thinking about how life is very much like A. a car and B. driving a car.
A car needs to be treated with respect but sometimes we drive absentmindedly. I do not know how many people I see on their cell phones, shoveling breakfast, tuning out. They are on autopilot. And yes I have driven on autopilot many a time, “how did I get here again?”
But living life in autopilot? Now that’s a no, no. And yet, we are all guilty of it from time to time. It’s like you get so used to going through the motions that you forget what the process is all about. Why are we here? What are we doing? And most importantly…How did we get here?
Keeping your car in tune and tidy is just as important. If you don’t you are bound to break down.
Similarly keeping your body healthy is important. Eating right and exercise are just like that “tune up” your car looks forward to. If we don’t keep our body healthy we will inevitably break down. If you don’t take in enough gas- you are going to break down. Food is our life source.
I remember one of my most awesome professors (he was like seriously awesome), Dr. Alan Fox once said that “Food is energy, food is life.” He went on to say that food is not meant to be frozen or processed or stuffed with hormones. Food is a fresh fruit from a tree, a vegetable pulled from the Earth. The more we play around with our food and make it into something its not supposed to be, the more we decrease it’s life energy.
It’s the damn truth though sons!
Our relationships are like a car too- whether romantic or otherwise. Your passengers will be changing and you need to help them to their destination.
Who’s driving though? Are you driving? Are they? If they are driving you better watch how much control you give them. Where are they taking you? Maybe its time to get out the car. Maybe its time to take control- take the wheel.
Life is just like driving a car. Are you an active driver? Are you cautious? Or are you being reckless? Where are you going? Do you know?
Ask yourself these seriously.
And these are the four things I have learned in 2010. There are probably thousands more but these five seemed especially important.
What 4 things did you learn this year?