While years will always end on December 31st, this particular year, I became much more cognizant of the different seasons that we all go through, and it is how we deal with those seasons that determine what comes next in our lives. Did we just wait impatiently for the season to end? Did we pray, study, or try to learn from the season?
Overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that both I and my daughter were involved in (for the wrong reasons), and emotionally drained from those background episodes that we all go through (and a couple of incredibly devastating items that exposed me to a type of pain I had never experienced and hope to never go through again), the burnout that had been threatening to take over for years finally tapped me on the shoulder and loudly announced it's presence. Either deal with it, or it would deal with me.
So I took a month off. Of EVERYTHING, except work. That month was the first time in memory that I wasn't always waiting for one thing or another to end. I suddenly found myself more aware of what I actually did with my time, my actual feelings about what was going on around me, and the reality that all my impatient waiting around for this event or that tantrum to end was just me trying to force an end to a particularly painful season, because all of the distractions I'd lined up to help me deal with it had stopped working long before I ever admitted it to myself.
As my daughter started high school, and slowly added, or added back, activities that meant the most to her, I had to come to the realization that, first and foremost, I had to learn to prioritize myself. For me, that started with not making decisions based on what I feared was being said about me when I was not present to defend myself, which in turn completely freed me from putting myself in situations where all I could do was wait for the eternal "it", whatever "it" was, to be over. It took me far too long to figure out that this was no way to live.
This is where I get honest about therapy: had I not found a good therapist (who understood both my Christian perspective and my worldly perspective, as well as the sometimes difficult intersections where they overlapped), I don't know that I would have ever gotten to the point where I realized that occasionally, my own inner voice was was the relentless master in the endless game of three dimensional chess that my life had become, that I was destined never to win.
While the sun sets slowly over 2018, for the first time I am actually looking forward to the new year. Not just rushing to be done with all of the bad, but finally, the feeling that I may actually done with this season, and prepared to move on to the next.
So one year ends, and another begins, as we move from season to season in our lives.
But is this season really over, or did we just try to bring it to an end because we were tired of dealing with it?