I was given a bit of shock today, as I found out that I have to say goodbye to something that has been a part of my life for over 5 years. I must say that even though I wasn't all too surprised, the suddenness of it all really rocked me to my core. A year ago the stress of the situation would have probably made me crack. After all, I've got a much more solid foundation now than I did a year ago at this time, and it still threw me for a loop. It's funny how you can find yourself taking things for granted, only to have them pulled out from under you going "what just happened?" Come to think of it, I guess that's usually how it goes. The initial shock lasted about 45 minutes while I had this deer-in-the-headlights sort of feeling. "Did I really just have that conversation? I must have been dreaming." The tears that were shed were shed out of sadness, but also out of a sense of feeling like I had just been personally attacked and left for dead. I couldn't help but feel like my whole world was going to tumble down all around me.
After the shock wore off, I found myself falling into a loop of desperation - it's so-and-so's fault, and this thing happened that had nothing to do with me - that I have seen in other people and have despised them for having that attitude. I definitely played the blame game, and as I did, it was almost like I was watching myself from the outside. I didn't recognize myself and certainly didn't like myself in that moment. Although I have endured many things in my life that could easily allow me to play the victim card, I for one was not going to allow myself to go that way. Yes, the situation sucks. And yes, chances are when I have the conversation that is unavoidable, I am going to find out things about myself that I didn't want to know.
But I ultimately believe that this is how people grow and learn. We get too comfortable with ourselves and how we operate, and life has this funny way of coming along and reminding you that we must forever be vigilant about ourselves and our actions. Getting comfortable means getting sloppy, and once you get sloppy, you make mistakes. Isn't that what being human is all about - making mistakes and learning from them? The thing that is different between last year and now is that I'm armed with tools to help me cope with it. Last year, my stress levels were already operating at 80% capacity 24/7. I was overworked, tired, and on edge at all times. Now that I have gotten used to the stressors that caused my brain to overload, I have had time to re-evaluate how I react to the world around me. I recognized that I could no longer continue on the path that I was taking. Stress was taking its toll on me and the people around me that I love.
So now, faced with this challenge that has happened, all I can do is move forward. Forward into a world where I mitigate what can be mitigated, serve penance for my mistakes, and grow as a person. I'm not going to blame everyone and everything around me for what has happened. While circumstances arose that ultimately led to this point, no one circumstance or person can be blamed, including myself. What I will also not refuse to do is take a long, honest, hard look at myself and the mistakes I have made that were contributing factors to this goodbye. To turn a blind's eye to one's faults is to never learn from our mistakes, never grow as a person. I don't want that for myself. I'm short enough as it is.
And what about this goodbye? It's strange. I have mixed feelings. I know that I will learn from this situation, and ultimately it will help me be a better person in the long run. But at the same time, I am saddened to have to let go of something that has been a part of me for so long. It was there when I took my first steps, learning day-by-day what it is to be who I am. It was there as I endured the growing pains of pushing myself beyond what I thought my preparation taught me. Could it be that this goodbye was meant to be - a casualty of those growing pains? I may never know the answer to that question. One day in the future, as I look back on this situation I hope that I can say that this goodbye, as painful as it is, has taught me to push the envelope, reminded me to keep a watchful eye, and made me a better person. For now, saying goodbye has taught me that I still have a lot to learn, and for that I will be eternally grateful.