I write today feeling gratitude for 2014, not because of any grand accomplishment or list I feel like making, but because I made it through one of my darkest years, 2013, and came out on the other side.
Two years ago, I was living with a man who had stopped loving me. I thought we were going to be married: we’d picked out the engagement ring, we’d talked of marriage, we’d talked of having children, and then, suddenly, it all fell apart. He left, without warning, without a conversation, to be with another woman. It was cruel. And I was completely broken.
On New Year’s Eve 2012, we went out to dinner and then karaoke with friends. Earlier that day, I’d spent hundreds of dollars on clothes I couldn’t afford, not because I had nothing to wear but because I was trying to fill something up in myself I didn’t know I was missing. I didn’t consciously know he was cheating on me. I didn’t consciously know our relationship was ending. I only consciously knew that I had the things I thought I needed in life to be happy: friends, an almost-husband, designer clothes. Of course, I was wrong.
It has been almost two years that he’s been out of my life. Two years without any romantic love or boyfriend or real prospect of having a boyfriend. And yet. I have felt more love in these two years for myself, for my family, for my friends, than I ever did when I was in that relationship.
Today, my day looked like this:
—Woke up after nine hours of sleep.
—Made Nutribullet smoothie with walnuts, kale, bananas, almond milk, honey.
—Fifteen minutes of meditation using the Headspace app. (It’s not free if you want more than the intro pack. I subscribed and it’s been worth it for me.)
—Vinyasa yoga class
—Thai food lunch
I couldn’t have had a day like this—a completely healthy, joyous, on-my-own day—when I was with my boyfriend. I relied on him for too much. I didn’t take care of myself the way I do now. It’s taken me almost two years, but finally, I feel grateful to him for having released me to make my own way and become the person that I am now.
At a certain point, you realize that it is the struggles, the pain, the mistakes of your life that teach you how to live. My yoga teacher said at one point during the practice today: Without darkness, there is no light. If you have had a year defined by struggle, then you have every reason to feel gratitude for having survived it. Look toward the light in the New Year.
It will find you.