I have a confession to make. The countdown to the New Year has not always been a gleeful time for me. Sure, there have been years where I have been preoccupied by a fabulous party or a winter getaway. But for the most part, the end of the year has been a ripe opportunity for some serious self mutilation— what I didn’t do, how I fucked up or what I could have done better.
But this year is different. This year when I ponder what I learned, the challenges I faced, how I’ve grown and what I would do differently– I have come to the conclusion that the list of things to celebrate is significantly bigger than the other.
This is not because I did better this year. In some ways I probably made more “mistakes” than ever. The difference is that this year I am willing to celebrate my mistakes as much as my moments of glory. This is because I know that the moments I stumble, get sidetracked, say the wrong thing, lose my focus, get frustrated, scared, act out of anger or get triggered are really moments of grace in disguise. I know this because I am now able to see them and embrace them. “There I go again” I can say to myself. “There I go speaking out of anger” I can admit. Because I know that with every admission, every imperfect moment that I own up to, I can start to forgive myself.
And its a really good thing that I am a celebratory mood. Because I just had to tell my 11 year old daughter than her father (my ex husband) is moving more than 1,200 miles away after the New Year. I had to explain to her that his leaving is not because she is unlovable, but because her father is incapable of loving himself. I had to tell her when she asks me why this terrible thing is happening to her that terrible things happen to people all the time. To grown ups. To kids. But these are things that make you Strong. Brave. Capable. Bad Ass. These are the life lessons that will instill in my daughter the ability to take care of herself and to love herself.
And maybe some of this celebratory cheer rubbed off on my ex husband. Because the other day he gave me the apology I have been waiting six years to hear. The heartfelt, no bullshit, crying kind meant to right all the wrongs he caused. And even though at the time I accepted it wholeheartedly I have since realized that what I had been waiting for all these years was meaningless. This is because the person who owed me an apology all these years was not him but me. And this apology is not the “I am sorry for what I did to you kind. ” Its the real kind. The one that goes like this: I’m sorry I tried to be perfect all these years. I’m sorry I don’t give you room to stumble. I’m sorry I didn’t grant you permission to lose yourself and find yourself again and again and again.
This is something to celebrate!
And I hope you will join me….