Especially when we're already down.
A few weeks ago I had a 'down' and found myself thinking what a crap 2012 I'd had. Well, what nonsense. I haven't at all. In fact I've had rather a good year if I choose to look at everything I've achieved and been a part of. A 366 challenge completed, LPI accreditation, CPD Gold, head-hunted for a new job, 2 new blogs started, weight loss maintained and gym routine upped, 2 new qualifications, some lovely holidays and short breaks whilst still making a sizeable dent in my credit card debts, went to the London 2012 Olympics and the Paralympics Closing ceremony, waved a patriotic flag or too for the Queen's Jubilee, made new friends, got back in touch with old friends, and so on. Sounds pretty good to me and if I look back at my photo challenge, it looks pretty damn good too! In fact, what a wonderful year I've had!
So why did it feel crap the other week?
Because of one little thing that happened not long before. No, not that, because of the way I was looking at what had happened not long before. On Thanksgiving, ironically.
Thanksgiving. What a wonderful tradition and festival that is. A whole day dedicated to gratitude. Many a study shows and many a religion knows that practising gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to boost our happiness levels. As well as just being a lovely thing to do really. Having spent all of 2012 recognising 3 things I'm grateful for every day (yes, every day, even 22nd November), I've started my own grateful 365 project for 2013 and combined it with last year's photo a day challenge so that for every day of 2013 I have to take a photograph of something I am grateful for. It was mulling over the idea of a day of thanksgiving that led me to thinking...why not a whole year of thanksgiving, rather than just one day?
But I digress (as usual). So what did November 22nd spell for me? Well, to cut a 3 month long story short, it spelled the end of my probationary period and with it the end of my new job. And therefore the end of my salary, the chance to pay off my credit cards, the bonus potential and more besides. Just before Christmas. Suffice to say it felt pretty bleak.
But even then I could sense a glimmer in there somewhere.
For a start, I'd hated it. A lot (another over egging of the negative there...I didn't hate all of it all of the time but generally speaking, 'twas not good). It was making me miserable. And ill. It was like trying to squeeze a round peg into a square hole. I know that's an awful cliche but it really did feel like that. There's a reason for having a probationary period. It's to check you and the job are a good fit. We weren't and it was pretty uncomfortable. So underneath the panic and various other emotions, was also a giant feeling of relief and freedom.
Freedom. That was a new one. Freedom and space to now really think about what it is I want to do. Not what I think I need to earn or what everybody else thinks I should be doing. Scary as hell but liberating. And no matter how down I've been on certain days since (very), or how hopeless everything feels from time to time (totally), I still wouldn't wish things to have panned out any other way really. I've been tempted to regret certain decisions that led me here, but really, what would be the point in that? I'm pretty sure taking the leap and discovering it wasn't for me after all is a million times better than not trying and never knowing and always asking "what if?".
About a month after Thanksgiving came the so called 'end of the world' on December 21st. How apt I thought, during another low. But when I read that the end of the Mayan calendar is actually a time for rejuvenation and renewal, for fresh starts and new perspectives rather than for doom and gloom, I saw some parallels. This is not the end of the world at all. Far from it. This is an opportunity. I now have choices. I have a chance to rebuild my life from the ground up. I'm not saying it will be easy...it already isn't! But if I get it right it will be worth it. And, thankfully, I also have the most incredibly supportive family around me who have my back in the meantime.
I remembered recently as well something that was said to me when I went for an aura reading back in the summer. The reading showed a whole load of creative excitement bubbling and the guy asked me if I was about to start a new job. Amazed I said yes. But he nodded and stroked his chin pensively (he actually did) and then said "mmm, I don't think this excitement is all for the new job. I think this creative energy is for what happens next". He didn't expand as to what that might be, but it'll be fun finding out...I have lots of ideas up my sleeve so we shall see.
So, to get back to the earlier point, turns out my 2012 was actually pretty good despite a few bumps along the way.
And it would seem I'm not the only one. Alex stumbled upon an article in The Spectator (full version here) about how 2012 was in fact the best year on record. Ever. Fact. It's a really fantastic article and I encourage you to read it if you haven't already. What I found even more interesting than the article itself, was the content and tone of the comments underneath. Nearly every single one of them poo pooing the positive evidence and clinging on to some negative point or other. Another perfect example of how the human race finds it SO hard to accept positivity and much easier to draw on the negative.
All of this reminds me of a quote from A Tale of Two Cities:
'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us"
It's a shame that more people don't focus on the best of times, couldn't just say: "Wow, that's fantastic".
So, I'm going to say it. 2012 was fantastic. New Year's eve was fantastic. Not having to traipse into London every day to do a job I don't want to do is fantastic, for now at least.
And 2013 will be whatever we make of it and all that it brings.
Happy New Year.