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Why Sometimes Your Worst Year, Can Really Be Your Best

For me, 2013 was the year of saying goodbye. I said goodbye to family members, friends, my job, that boy and some serious crutches (not the wooden or metal variety – the emotional kind). Financially, 2013 started off great. I got a huge raise at work, which was followed by a rather large bonus (the kind that made my hands tremble, regardless of the fact that the government basically got half. Jerks). With those two items in tow, my dad declared 2013 “My Year.” My dad tends to say the wrong things at the wrong time, and this was no different. He jinxed the SHIT out of 2013. After my promotion and raise, I settled into the fact that while I might not love, or particularly even care, for the job I had, the money was fantastic and I truly loved the people I worked with. I was comfortable. Being comfortable was the best thing about my life. Kind of lame.

Nothing really exciting ever happened, but at least nothing SUPER shitty was happening either. I still had some lingering hangups from 2012, but they were all of my own doing. I had the power to keep clinging or let them go. I kept clinging. Even if sometimes they made me sad, they gave me a sense of comfort. Comfort was the watchword for 2013, until it wasn’t.

When you have certain things going for you, and the things that aren’t going for you are largely of your own doing, people kind of get tired of hearing about your hangups. I get that now. Stop complaining about the way that you are treated at work, and the people who piss you off on a daily basis. Friends let you unload a few times, and then, after that, tough love seeps in. You hate your job or how you are treated? Or you simply just don’t feel passionate about it? DO SOMETHING ELSE. If money means most to you, then keep doing what you are doing, but shut the f-ck up. In the end, staying at that job, not being passionate about the work I was doing – that was MY choice…until it wasn’t, but more on that later.

This was also the year of the relationship. Not for me, but for pretty much every friend in my life. Now, I am super used to being the single friend….but being the ONLY single friend, that was a new 2013 low. Instead of doing the healthy thing and maybe trying to find one of those relationship things (because my friends really seemed to like them) I stuck with what was comfortable. Turns out, what is comfortable for me, was carrying on this casual, unspoken song and dance, from one of my good ol’ 2012 “hangups”. Again, don’t complain to your friends about not being able to find someone, when you refuse to look beyond this casual-cling, that you know, deep down, is not going anywhere. Seriously, girl. Get a grip. You are better than that.

So, I had those things stacking up in my “ugh, this sucks” bank when the summer came. Now, if you know me, you know I live and breath for the summer. The warm weather, the late nights, the patio beers, the tan! Oh my God, don’t even get me started. Seriously. This is probably why I typically only date people in the summer. I just feel so good and carefree, that I think it radiates off of me, and I just attract more people (also because I have probably just spent the fall and winter getting over the guy from the summer before and then the warm weather hits and I am like “F-ck it! Liking him is boring and you are cute. Let’s do this!”). Anyway, this past summer started off pretty shitty. There was a whole “thing” that happened with the company I worked for, and in an instant, all those people that I loved either quit or were let go. I literally cried the day it happened. It was one of those sinking feelings that spreads across your entire body….kind of like being dumped. That was the day I lost any interest in that company. It became a paycheque and nothing more. I could feel my own expiry date creep up with every passing day.

On October 9th, 2013, my time was up. One of the only co-workers left that I still had any kind of relationship with, and one of my best friends, took me out for drinks. They told me how I was going to be fine and that everything would work out. Fortunately for them, they were still both employed and making good money. Unfortunately for me, I was about to face the kind of financial situation that would cause panic attacks and far too many nights spent with tear stains on my face, asking the universe how the hell I was ever going to rebound. I needed an escape. What better place to turn, then to another aspect of your life that makes you feel jumbled and unstable?

I turned to my friend, but more, but not really more. You know what kills something casual? Three days alone with only you and that other person. At some point during a “casual binge” I will call it, you either decide that things need to progress or things need to stop. Lucky for me, I already knew what I wanted and what he didn’t. After my “escape” with him, I knew we had reached the point where that elusive conversation of “what the hell?” needed to happen. I already knew what his answer would be. Because of that, our discussion was never about us moving forward. I approached him, full-well knowing that we needed to stop. I needed to hear him say it. I needed to hear him tell me that he understood why we needed to stop. I just needed…

This took place about a month after I lost my job. It compounded. Other little things added on top of my shit pile and I declared 2013 the year of pure suckage. Nothing could get worse. And then I found that I had alienated one of my very best friends while being wrapped up in my own petty bullshit. And then my grandmother died. And then….and then…

This is kind of where you hit a wall. You can feel yourself starting to shut down. Everything seems wrong. This is when you can either cave to your sadness and frustration, or you can dust that dirt off yo’ shoulder and start thinking “maybe everything is right”. Don’t get me wrong, I had my moment of, ok, this is it. My life is a shit storm, let me just lie here…in my shit (metaphorically speaking, of course). Once you get past your “feel sorry for me” phase, you can begin to look at things differently.

That job you lost, that is causing you financial insecurity? Well, for starters, you aren’t going to be unemployed for the rest of your life, so get over being broke most of the time and just deal. The bright side of this, is that the Universe finally gave you the push that you needed, to go after something that you are passionate about. You were never going to make that leap on your own. You knew that. The Universe knew that. So, being the tough-ass bitch that she is, she popped your water wings. Start swimming. I started applying for jobs in communications, pr and social media; areas where I thrive. I reached out to publications and asked if they needed any freelance writers. I have had few interviews, and a lot of publications didn’t get back to me, but I still feel like I am on the right path. When you let your heart and guts lead the way, the Universe will reward you. Just before Christmas, I was graciously given the opportunity to write for She Does The City and my first piece was published on December 23rd. It was welcomed with “Great work – pitch us story ideas in the new year”. Progress.
I have a second interview next week, with a Company I am pretty excited about and a position I have dreamed about. This is a good thing.

That person that doesn’t want to be with you? Feel that bruise on your ego. Process the knowledge that the way you interact with that person is about to change. Accept it. Move on. If you aren’t right for them, then they aren’t right for you either. Get to know what you want and don’t want; what you deserve. Pay attention to those signs that let you know that what you are wrapped up in will never work in the long run. This is not a bad thing. This is a good thing. When you stop blinding yourself by the wrong person, you make way for the right one. It will happen when it is supposed to and not a moment sooner. I don’t believe in bad timing. If you are supposed to be with someone, you wouldn’t have met them at the wrong time. This is a good thing.

That friend that has called you out for not being there for them? Put your guard down. Stop that part of you that wants to defend. You aren’t a bad person. Sometimes, we just need a wake up call. Now that things are on the table, you can start paying more attention to who and what you are giving your time and energy to. Pick the people and things that are always there for you. Maybe you two will enter into a new phase of your friendship; one that is even better than before. This is a good thing.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to deal with death. When my grandmother died, I began thinking about all the time spent with her when I was younger. A flood of memories, from what felt like a better time in my life, invaded my thoughts for days. I began thinking about everyone that I had lost. My grandma, my grandfather, my friend from high school, and a couple of people that had to put distance between themselves and me, in order to move on with their lives. I realized that all my missing and longing was selfish. My grandma, grandfather and friend, were all sick. Their lives here on earth were merely shells of what they were before they fell ill. They were going to be at peace. I was the one who was going to feel the sting of their absence. I have to be happy for them. They are better off now. Same goes for the people that are still alive, but are no longer really a part of my life. I have to acknowledge and accept that the choices that they have made, were what they needed to do to be happy. If you take a step back from how you feel and if you truly want the people you care about to be happy, it makes things a little easier. If someone is not meant to be in your life, friend or otherwise, let it be. Everything works out the way that it should in the end. This is a good thing.

All I know, is if I wouldn’t have lost that job, I wouldn’t currently be headed towards one I am actually passionate about. If I didn’t step outside of my comfort zone and acknowledge that the arrangement I had with that boy needed to end, I wouldn’t feel the clarity, peace of mind and willingness to meet someone better suited for me, that I do now. If I hadn’t lost sight of the people that truly matter in my life and didn’t have a friend that cared enough to let me know, then I might be sitting here right now, minus one of my very best friends. That phone call opened my eyes to how amazing my actual, always-there-for-me, good friends, truly are. You are gems and I love you all more than you know. If I didn’t feel those nights of loneliness and crave a sense of stability in my life, I wouldn’t have my pup, Bosco. He is the love of my life.

So yeah, a lot of shitty things happened this year – that is life. I like to think that they opened the door for better and greater experiences. I have no idea what is going to happen from one minute to the next, but I have never felt more sure of myself and my surroundings. So, to 2014, I say: “Do the damn thing. What’s my name. What’s my name.”

Seriously guys, What’s Your Fantasy by Ludacris has been stuck in my head for a week now! I need it out!!

Happy 2014!

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One thought on “Why Sometimes Your Worst Year, Can Really Be Your Best

  1. When I think of 2014, I think of it as 20-Forward. Sounds like your attitude reflects that. Great job Nicole… seriously your insights were awesome to read and I wish you the best! Looking forward to partying with you this year. 🙂

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