Monday, September 17, 2012

Another Trip Around the Sun... Or, I Survived My Jesus Year

I survived my Jesus year.

The "Jesus year" refers to Jesus Christ's last year of life.  According to biblical scholars, Jesus died when he was 33 years old.  Jesus year is a pop culture reference and is thought to be the year to make life happen - have big realizations and transform one's life.  Go big or go home.  Be the change I wish to see in the world.  Stand up!  Be amazing!  Live to my fullest potential!  Transform my life into something incredible!

Or, at least stop feeling so crazy and out of control.

Last year, I turned 33 about a month after A. dumped me via text message and a month before F. and I began dating.  In addition to those events, I also left my job two weeks after my birthday.  I referred to 33 as my Jesus Year and anticipated the transformation that was going to take place throughout the year.  Admittedly, I expected to wake up the morning of my birthday and have everything figured out.  I was absolutely certain that all the lessons I learned from the previous years would lead to some pretty amazing moments and life would just be easy.

As it turns out, nothing was easy during my Jesus year.  My body reminded me that stress manifests itself in all kinds of fun ways, including my erratic heart beat and my sciatic nerve flare up (I had to even walk with a walker).  I felt myself fall into a pretty significant depression after leaving my job and I felt very lost for a long time.  F. and I had a pretty good run but we never quite got our relationship to where I wanted it to be.  Our conversations and interactions were amazing but we never quite felt like a couple.  I spent a little time with him in August (at an event) and while it was awkward at first, we were soon joking and talking and I felt the way I always felt with him - completely at ease and it was then that I realized that we always were just friends.  Granted, there was a deep sadness I felt when we broke up, but in all reality, I don't think we were ever really together.  I just liked the idea that someday, we would be.

Something important came of my relationship with F.  I realized that I have an incredible capacity to love someone. I remember the exact moment I made this realization.  I was standing by the river, looking out at the water.  The sky was vast and bright blue with huge, fluffy clouds that seemed to be completely still.  There was no sound except a few birds and the occasional rustle of leaves.  I felt movement within my body.  It was a rush of energy immediately followed by a feeling of calmness that I've never felt before.  Everything within me told me that I was open to love.  The feeling wasn't even about F.; I simply knew I was open to love.  After we broke up, the feeling remained and love isn't scary or unattainable.  Love simply is.

A long way from 33

I also learned that speaking up for myself and admitting when I'm right as well as when I'm wrong isn't going to mean the end of civilization as we know it.  There is a real power in being able to disagree with someone and learning to speak up for myself.  Knowing that I don't have to be apologetic for who I am just because someone else is in a bad space has given me a real sense of self.  Knowing that I'm only responsible for my actions has given me the space to defend myself in situations that I otherwise would  have beat myself up for.

When I turned 30 I finally began seeing that I am worth more than the scraps of affection I was desperately accepting.  When I was 31, I learned that I am capable of making some pretty stupid choices in the midst of heartbreak.  I went on strike shortly after turning 32 and that year I learned how to be alone and how to make peace with myself.  In retrospect, 33 felt like I was taking the lessons of 30, 31 and 32 and creating a solid foundation for myself.  I turned 34 a few days ago and when my good friend M. asked how 34 feels, honest is the first word that popped into my mind.  I feel like I can be honest with others and most importantly, myself.

I haven't quite figured life out.  I still grapple with feelings of failure and rejection.  I am still looking for a career path and relationships (romantic and otherwise) still confuse me.  As I wrote last week, I sometimes come down really hard on myself.  I'm not as disciplined as I should be.  I don't exercise enough and I enjoy beer and wine... a lot.  On the other hand, I've grown into my skin and I've stretched my wings.  I am learning to leave behind immature notions of passing up opportunities because of fear or other people's perceptions of me.  I am learning to ask for help when I need it.

I will become the woman I am destined to be, even if I have to kick and scream the whole way there.  Here's to surviving my Jesus year and to a year of reaping the benefits of some very profound lessons.

Next time: Follow the Leader 

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