What was the best lesson you learned about yourself this year? How will you apply this lesson going forward?
Without a doubt, the unpleasant fact that I’m far prouder than any human being has a right to be. The less-than-savoury realization that my desire to never ask for help, to avoid putting other people out, comes not from a truly good place, but from a place that is sometimes good and more often than not fueled by a bad strain of I told you so type thinking. As in, I told you that life in Edinburgh could work! I told you that I could live abroad and have a life and pay my loans and write and work and do it all by myself! I don’t need help! I have everything inside of me that’s necessary!
It took a night of insistent hunger to wake me up to this. It took a meal of fries and gravy , and a most wonderful, unexpected gift from an unnamed work friend, to show me that it is okay to lean on other people everyone once in a while. To admit that you struggle, that you can get depressed, that (maybe most importantly?) you can work really hard and get everything that you want and still be upset, still not feel like things are right, and not be a failure.
And what a wonderful lesson, in a way. Unpleasant, yes. But waiting on the other side of that lesson was rest, and a new beginning, and an opportunity to jump in and do precisely that thing which I’ve been longing to do all these years. Suddenly I’ve let go and discovered that everything is easier.
It’s lovely. I hope I keep this with me, and don’t let it slide away as the year moves along. And I hope I don’t sound impossibly precious, seeing as how I’m currently living with my parents and it’s all fine and dandy and well to speak of letting go when you have no rent to pay and they foot all the bills. Remember, Amanda, six months in the future — when you’ve moved to Montréal (or elsewhere) and are struggling once more — it’ll be okay to lean on someone then, too, if occasion calls for it.
And if I have a chance to be that person someone else can lean on — let me do it with grace, and humour, and the kind of awareness that sees lessons in every smile on the street.