However! It's also that time of year where I get real thinky. So I don a Shetland sweater on my back porch and stare wistfully into the setting sun, gripping my tumbler of Scotch with dry, work weary hands, feeling the bitter November winds blowing my sparse hair around my sun beaten face, looking, searching, sorting the meanings of all my yesteryears, digging for the rewards and gratitude that lies within my mistakes, my fallen lovers, my empty bottles, my wasted youth, pulling my scarf up near to my winter numbed ears as the gravity of my decisions comes, settles into my cold, cold, skin.
It's more like, I'm blowing off work for Facebook and I start to think, "hey, I'm pretty happy right now. Actually happy." For a year that started off incredibly rocky, sad, confused, and wasted, things have turned for the best in a shocking, unexpected manner. It's taken a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, but I do have a lot to be happy and thankful about this year.
And so, without further ado, Shit I'm Thankful For: 2013
Honesty with myself and the desire to be better. 2012 was an incredibly hard year. My relationship with Addie, which had been suffering from not-healed wounds we both inflicted on each other, had come to an end. I abruptly moved back to Virginia, back in with my parents, and almost immediately started drowning. I started another relationship too quickly and ruined it. I spent nearly every day feeling guilty, miserable, out of control, unable to identify why, just that it felt like I was failing. I had an irreplaceable support system, and a burgeoning free lance career, but I still felt like I was crumbling.
By mid-summer, I was having weekly breakdowns. By the fall, they were almost daily. While work, vacation planning and time with friends throughout the holiday season brought some relief, it was short lived. I boarded the plane to Sydney in December racked with self-doubt and like, ennui, if we want to all "I paid too much for an English degree" about it.
My time in Sydney was eye-opening. I was a 16 hour time difference away, and without an immediate means to contact anyone, unless I was at home with a computer. So I had a lot of time to myself to truly decompress and think. And I had a lot of soul bearing conversations. And I came to a lot of conclusions about myself that, while true, left me bottomed out. When I got home, I was a mess.
I immediately started a new, unexciting office job. I lost my writing mojo. I let my free lance gigs wither away. I ignored my phone. I stayed in and watched hours of Teen Mom. I was digging into the same depressive hole I'd been digging for years. I finally hit the bottom somewhere in February. I was folding clothes in my room, talking with someone on the phone, and out of nowhere I had a break down and wailed about how I couldn't handle myself anymore. So, after toying with the idea of therapy for months, I finally made an appointment and got myself on the couch.
Therapy doesn't work for everyone. But, it has been the best decision I've ever made. It's worked because I wanted it to work. Depression weighed on me until I was powerless. But for once, I wanted to fight it back. You have to want to fight it back. You have to want to make a positive change for yourself. You have to want to work on changing the way you think and the way you process and the way you behave. You have to be honest with yourself. You have to be honest with the people in your life. You have to want to put that effort into actually changing yourself. Otherwise, it's just putting a pretty blanket over dirty sheets.
Am I "cured"? No. And I'll likely never be. There are still parts of my dented psyche that gnaw and spit at me, but I'm now better able to overcome them once they do. I'm feeling more self-assured, more satisfied, and more secure than I've felt in the last decade. And this is a no-brainer, but I couldn't have done any of this without the support structure I have. I have the best, most patient, understanding, funny, badass, giving and thoughtful people in the world at my back.
So, yeah. I'm still thankful for medicine and for advances in hygiene and for being able to eat 9,000 calories in a day and for living in a country where I'm not stoned to death for driving and for the ability to read and for Joseph Gordon Levitt, but mostly I'm thankful for a life-changing year. I'm thankful for support. I'm thankful for the clarity that comes with discovery. I'm thankful for Joel. I'm really just beyond thankful for everyone and everything in my life.
And I'm really, thankful for James Franco and Seth Rogen. (I watch this video way more than necessary.)
Here's to 2013. I'm glad we're pals now.