As we end this crazy year I thought I would share what I have discovered from 2020. In a nutshell, my takeaway is that, “I am nobody.” I have felt invisible for a long time but this year I have had the time to understand why this has become my belief with 55 years on this earth.
A terrible tornado tore through Nashville, a pandemic caused a lockdown the week of my birthday, a fight for equality created anger across the country as did politics and a bomb went off just miles from where I live. These are only a few of the things that have happened, they all enhanced my loneliness laced with fear and I believe we all have experienced mixed emotions throughout this historical year.
Experiences over the many months of mask mandates and lock downs have sparked a deep internal search for me to understand and define my own “meaning for life.” This year generated deep anger, hatred, confusion, kindness and unity all intertwined with good and bad musings tangled together. My questioning of the police, of our racial divides, of politics, of wealth and of health concerns all at heightened levels. The stress, isolation and life limits have haunted me with an unknown future.
I don’t believe it is possible that a single person on this earth can say they enjoyed the ride, whether the year brought great things, tragic things or a mix of both. A toxic election year riddled with conspiracy theories, immigration concerns, gender and race inequality reminders, deadly natural disasters, pockets of harsh unemployment, small business losses and the list could go on and on. It’s been really hard, it’s been sad, it’s been eye opening and quite often it’s been embarrassing. Yet…somehow I see a small glimmer in it all.
With all things in my life I tend to take more time than most to get from point A to point B. I often woller in my own sadness longer than I should knowing the work and the pain involved for change take effort. The desire to uncover the core of what is bothering me is a difficult process. I have always struggled with a lack of self love, allowed self hatred to stay at the edge of everything I believe myself to be, knowing I have the power to change my way of thinking.
We all carry some deeply rooted issue out of some event from our troubled past. That issue can be healed but it is always there taunting us like an addict needing his or her fix. As a perfectionist I struggle most with following through and I often become paralyzed in a space of incompletion. It tends to lead to self anger, self sabotage and self pity. I then withdraw from the outside world quietly and privately for a while. Eventually I get so tired of my self loathing that I begin doing the work that will make me feel better about myself. I have my triggers, my reasons and I know I have the power for change when I am ready, there is no place for blame outside of myself. When I am ready, I dive back into life and begin the process of uncovering what needs to happen. I know from experience the cost of remaining in that dark space becomes more difficult with every day I choose to stay.
This year I knew income would be a negative factor for me but rather than focus on that fear, I focused on what I might be able to do with all of the time and isolation. I wanted to use it to learn new things and to reinvent myself. How could I enhance my life, my existence and how could I determine what was important to me? With age I had discovered these things were not as clear as they were in my 20’s and 30’s. I am not the best at following rules, I don’t enjoy attention and I have never been inspired by money. I have always tried to choose my path based on internal feelings, from internal emotions through life experiences. I know that my need to be accepted and loved comes from childhood and the role my mom and dad seemed to play in my mind. I observed how their unique creative endeavours helped them stand out and most often brought them admiration. In my own attempts I have often felt awkward, misunderstood and viewed as being weird.
The first thing I noticed with the navigation of Covid culture as I dove into my inner crud was how much I missed what I took for granted with regards to public social activity. As a bit of an introvert, I missed time with friends at parties, music events and happy hours. I missed hugs, visiting people in person and even networking. Like most everyone else, over time I grew tired of the constant concern of worrying about my parents health, my friends health and my own. The worry over medical issues or bills with no income constantly resides in the back of my mind.
As I grew accustomed to the acceptance of time marching on I started to dig into where my thoughts were about my life. I have always focused on my career and it was what always kept me moving forward no matter what was happening with my friendships or romances. With no real ability to do much with what was happening outside of my control it was the first time I was forced to find other things to focus my attention on. It did not take long for me to see where my life had taken me.
My mind was cluttered each night reminiscing about my past life…childhood, college days, marriage, career, divorce and all the inbetweens. I cried for days on end, some days I didn’t answer my phone, didn’t get out of bed, ate too much crappy food and felt at times I was in a very dark and unhealthy space. As I watched families reconnecting, friends growing in their relationships and coworkers excelling with their creativity I felt lost, empty and alone. I was angry at myself for not being able to create, for not feeling inspired and it made all of my life failures feel enlarged exponentially. I knew that I needed to stop comparing myself to everyone else online and figure out what made me feel joy.
I began to distance myself from social media, I started to read more, to watch DIY videos, take online classes and allowed myself to learn new things. I paid attention to how each made me feel inside. I slowly started getting excited about what I might be able to do that would make me happy. I kept asking myself….what brings me joy and I continued having frank, sometimes seething conversations with God.
So here I am at the end of the year putting it all into some sort of prospective. How can I move forward in the coming year with excitement rather than complacency? Unfortunately I have not created any great or meaningful pieces of art. I have not done anything exceptional that I can share, I haven’t grown my business with some amazing pivot and I have nothing interesting to really say. Unlike so many who were able to move forward in a positive way immediately I have spent the past 10 months being stuck in my head.
I haven’t lived the typical American life I thought that I would have in my younger days. I have no kids, no partner to share a future with and life is not going to return to normal any time soon. My business is down almost 50% and it feels daunting trying to figure out how to fix what I have spent the past 25 years working towards. It seems there are just more mountains to climb and that the place I am today is nothing I was ever prepared for nor thought could be possible.
My thoughts lately have been in realizing my time is limited, and I need to start taking that more seriously rather than just going with the flow of life. With all of this deep thinking my desire has been to find some sort of “PURPOSE” with my life.
"I am nobody, there isn't anything interesting about me, I have nothing important to offer and there is no one who needs me."
Perhaps this is a midlife crisis of sorts. Rather than continuing to live life in hopes that someday I might be “somebody” I am now rethinking “what do I HAVE to offer?” It isn’t about ME or my career anymore, I am tired of me! What can I contribute that will bring joy to others?
Moving forward in 2021 this is where I plan to start. I am nobody but I may have some things I can offer of myself that might mean something to someone else. I am ready to investigate this in the coming year, this is where I am at this moment knowing I am on a better path and I am ok. As bad as 2020 was it woke me up and I am determined to find out what I have to offer the world and what brings me joy. Stay tuned!
I would love to know what you all are feeling, where you are and what you can share about your experiences this year. What do you hope for in the coming year?
Wishing you all a happy NYE. Be kind, sending love, please pass it on….and feel free to share. xo