Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: The Year I Grew Up

What a year! I'm not really one for ranking people or events and I (thankfully) forget easily that the weather was particularly bad a certain summer that other people refer to as the "worst ever". Rain? So what? Similarly, I would not really label years as "the best" or "worst" of my life since I hope to have many more years ahead of me. 
2018 has definitely been a pivotal year for me, though, as I felt I could finally drag myself out of a spiral of having my happiness and self-assurance determined by people (well, men) in whose priorities I came 2987th, if that. A friend of mine had told me about a decade ago already "you know, it's not that hard to just ignore a ringing phone". While I not only understood what she was trying to tell me, but actually agreed and knew she was right, I had always felt this urge to have the last word. in an argument, to "make sense" of what, deep down, I knew I would never be able to rationalise, to find closure...or to just get some extra airtime to convince somebody that I was awesome and loveable. Turns out you can indeed NOT have the last word, not react to a message and not offer the other cheek when you were already slapped before (metaphorically, not literally) several times. Accepting that some things are just not meant to be and there's little you can do to change the situation does not mean you need to sulk or be bitter, either. You can just let go, think of the good times you had and not dwell on the others. Wow, almost easy.
Acting on my words only took me 46 years, I know. Won't lie: it really made me proud when some people whose opinion I value remarked on how impressed they were by my "transformation" and mature behaviour. I'm still impressed by myself, at times ;-p
This does not mean that I don't get nostalgic and wistful. I do. I think of the lovely ski weekend I had last year, that was exactly like I had always wished for, or holding hands under the table at a fancy restaurant. And quite a few things that don't have their place in a nice, family-safe blog, wink, wink. These are exactly the good times I will remember and while I have not even been looking for someone after the very unexpected and unpleasant end of my "non-relationship" this March, I did not mind being "alone" at all, because I knew I needed the time to focus on what I really wanted and needed. It was quite a novel experience, having so much extra time in my life that was not wasted obsessing over texts or e-mails, not waiting for somebody to call.
Another thing I had been told echoed in my ears: a few years ago, my cousin had replied to my complaints that all I wanted was somebody to "be nice to me" with a wry "Do you really? I am getting exactly the opposite impression." It was true: while I kept telling myself I was so over the drama, I secretly put myself into situations where I knew there would be drama. No more, though. So over drama. Bring on the nice, please! I can handle it now.
The other thing that made me realise I've grown up was an incident at work this autumn. At a meeting with almost 20 colleagues a notoriously choleric team-mate lost his composure and verbally attacked me. He behaved like a stubborn little child, whereas I remained completely calm (which no doubt enraged him all the more). Inwardly, I was boiling as the whole incident was so sudden and unexpected I had not prepared myself for it. People who witnessed the scene were more shocked than I was and some of them congratulated me on keeping my cool afterwards. "I admire you", an elder colleague told. me. "If it had been me, I'd have left and not returned that day." I have to say, I was very proud of myself, knowing that a few years ago, tears would have shot into my eyes and I would have walked out, too.
It's very empowering, not seeing yourself as a victim, but as the person who wrote the script for challenging and bewildering situations you may find yourself in. Here's to an exciting 2019!

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