As 2011 comes to a close, I want to take time to reflect on my journey during this year. I initially wanted to title this post "2011: A Year of Loss." But, that sounded too negative, even though each loss provided me with personal insight. And I love the reflection in this window.
This has not been an easy year. I have been riding a roller coaster of emotions. I am ending this year as I started it, alone; but back in January, I was barely comprehending that I was being divorced, full of anger, hurt and confusion. Now, in December, I have come to understand, and accept, it was inevitable that my marriage end; though, he should have told me in a more honorable and dignified way he wanted out. And that hurt will take longer to heal. The final papers in my divorce arrived in August. Loss number one came with a mixture of both sadness and happiness that it was all over, and with a feeling of optimism that I would continue on my path on to a better future.
2011 has also been an interesting and productive year. I came to realize just how unhappy I had become and therefore the relationship had to change, or end. As a result, I learned to recognize my strengths and rely upon them as I adjust to my new life. I have come to change my attitude and accept there are reasons for everything, primarily as a learning experience, and therefore growth. I now also believe that our experiences happen at the time the Universe feels appropriate for our optimal growth potential. I now have a better grasp on what I need to do in my next relationship to make it work better. I have also learned the Universe has plans for me and all will be revealed at the proper time.
This year, I again experienced the pain of unrequited love. With the ending of my marriage, my new single life had begun. Was I ready for a single life? No. Was I ready to meet someone? Again, no. I knew I needed time to heal, to look into myself and decide what I wanted in my next partner. I knew I wanted someone who was chronologically, educationally, emotionally, and intellectually my contemporary. I also needed someone who would take care of me. But first, I needed to to expand my gay male social circle for I firmly believe a great relationship begins as a good friendship. And in this adventure, I did meet someone, fall in love with him, but after a while realized it wasn't going to work. I have chronicled this episode in "I Met a Man," from September of this year, so there is no need to revisit it here. My second loss brought me waves of happiness whenever I thought of or heard from him; and later, sadness mixed with hurt and disappointment when I realized it was one-sided.
Shortly after realizing that potential relationship wasn't going to work, I was emotionally wounded, albeit unintentionally, by a friend. The depth of how hurt I was told me how much I valued the friendship. Can it be saved? Possibly. In time I will heal and perhaps we can move on again. But, in friendship as in love, once burned, twice shy. I will be on my guard for any more slings and arrows, and I'm sure my friend will be as well after our conversation. The dynamic of this friendship is now forever changed, and for the moment it is painful loss number three.
This year, I also lost a wonderful friend and companion; my dog, Simba. I still come home expecting to see his cute face, twinkling eyes, and bushy tail, all excited to see me. This, too, has been described here in "A Poem to a Pom" from earlier this month. My fourth loss still brings me sadness with touches of nostalgia.
Each of these losses, while painful, especially with the last three happening within months of each other, has presented me with a lesson. It is now up to me to take those lessons and apply them to my life and attitude in order to continue moving forward. I realized I am strong enough to survive a major life change. I discovered I am again capable of a deep emotional love. I found pain can come from where it's least expected. I learned even out of love difficult decisions must be made for the greater good.
The reflection in the picture above is from the fill pump in the pond in front of the window. The lessons I am learning keep filling me with the experiences I need to reflect upon as I move forward on my path. Unlike the pond, where the water evaporates and those molecules may end up somewhere else, my experiences will always be there for me to learn from whenever I need them.