2015 was my hardest year ever. No contest.
Just the level of chaos was bizarre. A BB through my living room window. Car problems. House problems. New windows. A bullet through the living room window into the new TV.
And the medical drama. An abnormal mammogram for me. Blood in Barry’s urine. Chronically high PSA levels. Barry deciding not to get a biopsy to determine the probability of (and possible spreading of) cancer.
What good came out of 2015? I’ve always wanted to simplify my life. To a great extent, I’ve done so now—albeit not always voluntarily. I’ve gotten rid of almost everything in the basement. I’ve whacked everything in the yard down to a more manageable form. I truly believe that I have less stuff now than when we lived in the apartment. That is huge.
And I’ve learned who I can and cannot count on in times of need. The blinders (and sometimes the gloves) are off. No more pretense. I know who can trusted and for what. At the top of the list are my parents. When my friends were all letting me down, my folks were there for me. They gave me a car. Can anyone say “Holy crap!”? And my mom showed me her totally awesome household abilities. There is just about nothing she hasn’t at least attempted in the past. She doesn’t always know what does work, but she can tell me if something is a royally bad idea. I don’t see her dying with Alzheimer’s like her mom. I envision her death as a fall off the roof or something falling on top of her. She has inspired confidence in me. If she can do something, I should be able to do it.
That confidence is what I am leaning on now. I’ve handled so much that I feel like I can handle almost anything. Maybe not all at once, but in bite-size chunks. I put the house up for sale and have done dozens of other things by myself I never thought I could or would have to do.
My life now is more authentic, perhaps by default. Having limited emotional, time, energy, and financial resources has forced me to let go of everything that no longer serves me (or maybe never did but I wasn’t honest about it). I see one-way relationships for the parasites they are, demanding access to my precious resources and then not finding my needs to be convenient for them. I’ve had to get more realistic about finances. The other day, the local neighbor kid came by. He has done a ton of yard work for me and I have paid him handsomely for it. He wanted to earn $40 for a ticket to Indiana. I explained that we were not rich and that the nice car in my driveway was given to me by my mom. Forty bucks is a lot of money in my world. I am authentically broke. Reality bites sometimes. Deluding myself into believing that I have social and financial resources that I do not actually possess has cost me dearly emotionally and that’s a price I am unwilling to pay any longer. If I am authentically pathetic, so be it.
Everything seems to come down to what I am and am not willing to invest my time, energy, and money into. Becoming realistic regarding my limits has been almost unbearably painful. Just because a relationship worked in my twenties doesn’t necessarily mean that maintaining it today is a worthwhile endeavor.
What do I want to take with me when I leave Michigan? What’s worth preserving? The less crowded my life is with things and people that serve no purpose, the more flexibility I have. Flexibility is more important to me than almost anything else I can think of.
Who knows? My values will probably change as time goes on, but that’s where I am at today. I don’t know if my life is any better today than a year ago, but I have a clarity about certain issues that I couldn’t even dream of this time last year. I am walking into 2016 clear-eyed and capable. Nothing beats clarity. I never had this kind of clarity going to church. Thank you, Zen.