Dear 2013, Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out!

So I had initially written this whole long goodbye 2013 letter but I decided, after rereading it, that it was mainly for me. It was. I needed to write it. To word vomit out all the rottenness of the year and get it out of my system like a night out drinking. I cried as I wrote it. My rageypants fit a bit tighter as I got more pissed about things that happened this year. I ate a brownie. I cursed 2013. And then I just sat there. I reread it. I cried more. And then I decided that I didn’t want this to be the first post I made in 2014. I’m ready for a new year, a new start — I know it’s a mental thing but my brain likes the idea of a new year to let go of all the baggage I have carried this year.

Let’s get it out: This year SUCKED. There were good moments. Really fun, awesome moments. Things learned. Things tried. Memories I won’t forget. There were seriously awesome days. Those things kept me going. But there was this dark cloud that followed the whole year and liked to dump acid rain all over me at inopportune moments. I told Will often that I just wanted to quit life this year. I pleaded with him that it was a good idea to take what little money we had and just flee to an island somewhere and sell smoothies out of our shack. He often rolled his eyes at my solution to things. It’s no secret — I’ve been honest. I struggled this year.

Okay now that that’s out. Let’s talk about a few takeaways from this year that will be melded into the armor that I will wear into battle in 2014 — because I will fight to make things better, to be happy, to be stronger. Hear this rebel yell, 2014! I’m coming for you.

Perseverance

My dear friend Ginger had an awesome idea for a project and I loved seeing the outcome. She asked some bloggers and authors to give a word that summed up the year for them and it really made me think. I had a lot of negative words come to mind initially but I knew that’s not the direction I wanted to go in because I’m a glass half full kind of girl. There had to be some overarching theme of 2013 amidst all the really negative words I was thinking and all the things that had happened. And then it came to me — perseverance. I think this word sums up a lot of my life. In fact, in college I was given the perseverance award presented by the Business Department because everyone knew about my mom’s fight with brain cancer through most of my college career. I just persevere.

The official definition for perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

That pretty much sums it up. This year was a lot of just keep pushing through. Even when I wanted to lie down and quit, I just kept going even if nothing felt better. Even in the days where all I wanted to do was cry, I let myself cry, I dusted myself off and said, “Self, you will keep going.” I didn’t feel particularly in battle mode most of the time but it was more of a quiet perseverance this year for me. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. The biggest thing was the job thing — it’s demoralizing and exhausting to keep looking for work and knowing you are good enough but new rejections pummel you every day. I don’t see the fruits of that labor yet but I’m persevering knowing that soon enough I will be where I need to be career wise. Perseverance.

I’ve always known I can handle a lot, as hard and as weighty as it seems, but this year perseverance was everything. It was a new challenge for me and, even if the only thing I can say at the end of all this is, HEY I SURVIVED 2013..then by damn I’m going to put it on a t-shirt, bedazzle the shit out of it and embrace it.

Perspective

I find some irony in the fact that last year I was declaring myself DONE with a certain longstanding group of friends — my former bff included. And how did I spend one of my last days of 2013? Hanging out with my former bff who is now solidly my friend. For, you see, I did in fact cold turkey cut them out of my life. I did it. It was the best thing I did for myself. I needed to. I could have went about it differently for sure but that’s what I did. I did not speak to them for most of the year — until this Fall when I was invited to have dinner with the one person who had hurt me the most. And you know what I did? I said yes. Because I felt like I needed closure of some sort. I could see I was different now. I did what I needed — put some time and space in between me and them. And suddenly I realized they had NO bearing in my life anymore. It was the most freeing realization. I worried about them SO much and let them dictate my life to the point of being miserable and they NO LONGER HAD ANY HOLD ON ME. I did not care what they thought. I didn’t. AT ALL.

But at that dinner I realized my heart was not so bitter towards them anymore. I will never be a part of that group again but I proved to myself that I can be friendly with them and see them from time to time because there is history there. But I became myself again because I wasn’t letting my life be dictated by them anymore. I’ve changed my expectations on the friendship and gained perspective in my “timeout” from them.

And then I reconnected with my former bff. I apologized. I explained why I did what I did. She understood it. She forgave me. I forgave her. We will never be as close as we once were and that’s okay. We have a new friendship built on a foundation of 10 years of friendship and I’m excited to see where it goes.

Biggest takeaway: There is always room for forgiveness and healing in life.  I vow to take this lesson with me in 2014 and be more gracious in my forgiveness — without being walked all over. Sometimes it just takes a new perspective to see that your initial reaction wasn’t completely right. Yes, I did the right thing that I needed to do in the moment but I wasn’t altogether right about everything.

True, Genuine Friends Can Get You Through Anything

I don’t know where I would be without a select few people this year + the whole amazing community who in their own way were able to support me and encourage me.

This year I was largely a crappy friend. I have this tendency, when I am going through really hard times and am having the sads, to shut the world out. I did that. I’m not proud of it but I figure that most people don’t want to have a mopey friend. Luckily, I have a select few people who loved me in spite of all that, who encouraged me, inspired me and UNDERSTOOD without judgment. I don’t know what I would have done without them listening to me let it all out, for putting up with my scattered mind, for sending me encouraging links or quotes or a mood boosting playlist. I don’t know what I would have done without dance parties via text (yeah that forreal happened and it was epic) and lip syncing via text to Hold On by Wilson Phillips. I would not have survived without mutual bitch sessions, the kind texts asking me how an interview went, the brainstorming to get ourselves out of ruts, etc. I appreciated and needed their “keepin it real” advice and thoughts even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. They let me wallow but also kicked me in the pants and for that I am grateful.

I vow in 2014 to be the kind of friend I always was before and to shower these special people with so much love it is going to come out of their ears. I’ve always believed that friendship is give and takes and sometimes someone will need to carry a little more of the load when the other is down and my friends have proved that and I am ready to be there for them in a better way than I could this year.

Dance Parties Are Necessary

I am the dance party queen and I really outdid myself this year. Out of necessity. I don’t think I would have made it through some days without dance parties — both text dance parties with a friend and the ones I had in my kitchen. There were days that I just had to dance it out — a la Christina and Meredith style on Grey’s Anatomy. I made myself dance because it kept me from crying. I made myself dance even when I was crying. For at least a couple minutes I just acted ridiculous and silly and it helped. Even when Will walks in on them and makes me cry because he just doesn’t miss a beat and just joins in.

Sometimes You Just Have To Laugh

When all else fails, at different points we just had to laugh at ourselves and the bad things that happened this year. Some of our most hearty laughter came from the most ridiculous situations — my Nancy Drew stint when our car got broken into and tons of stuff was stolen, when our power was out for days and we had to stumble around our apartment in the dark, or when we talked about how we’d decorate our cardboard box when we eventually had no more money to afford our apartment. Sometimes laughter turned into crying and sometimes crying turned into laughter. I’m just so thankful for all the laughs Will and I had this year.

Defining Who You Are

One of the biggest things for me this year was thinking about my worth and who I am and what defines me. I’ve never been the type of person who was defined by a career or anything but not working for a year makes you feel all sorts of things about your worth and you realize how often we define ourselves by the things we do. Normal conversations often leads with, “So what do you do (for work)?” and when you aren’t working it causes you to have a bit of an existential crisis — even if you, like me, do not at all put all your value in your career. I’ve come to really realize that we can’t really define ourselves and put our worth in some of these things that we do because they can end, they can break, they can disappoint us and they could be gone in an instant. Like everything they have their place and their importance in our life but hinging our worth and who we are on one thing is scary. I resolve to NOT let myself fall in that trap when I get a job or really with anything — this blog, relationships, etc.

 

And those are a couple of the takeaways I’m bringing with me into 2014. I firmly believe there is always something to learn from the bad and the good and I can go into 2014 stronger, smarter, better and with even more perspective. I have high hopes for 2014. I’ve been really proactive already about making it a better year — really fixing the things that were bad this year. I made the most out of 2013 and, while I wouldn’t say it was the worst year I’ve ever had, I’m okay with letting it go and moving on. I already see myself changing and growing and really what more can I ask for. I’ve weathered that damn storm and it’s time to see what’s on the other side of it.

What lessons did you learn this year?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. Oh Jamie, my dear friend, how I love you. I’m just sorry it took me so long to start talking/harassing you. I’m glad how much closer we’ve come this sucky sucky year. It’s been hard on both of us, but 2014 will be better!

  2. Aww well this was SUCH a heartfelt and inspiring post Jamie <3 Like you, my 2013 was something of a living hell too — there were times when I just wished I could melt into a puddle of sludge and forget all of my obligations to the world. I always did feel as if I was struggling waaay too much in life for someone at sixteen, and it really saddens me too :( but I HAVE resolved to make things go my way this year, and this post definitely gave me the drive I needed to push forward with life and the blog :D And also, I'm glad to know that you and your friend got your closure, and that you fought through your problems this year by having dance parties, and spending time with real friends, and doing what you love and staying happy and cheerful whenever you can– and I want to be that sort of person too :D so yeah, thanks for such an inspiring post :)

  3. I can relate a lot to your post right now because I’m ending this year badly. My mom was diagnosed with cancer and everything has been just awful… But like you said on your post, I guess you have to survive. I think my biggest lesson this year is just to live without worrying, I mean, bad things will eventually happen so you better enjoy while you can.

    I wish you the best next year and I’ll be checking your blog from now on! :)

  4. This is such a beautiful post and I’m so inspired and thankful that it was the first thing I read in 2014. I know it might not always feel like it, but you’re a continual inspiration, Jamie. Perseverance truly is an apt description given what you were forced to shoulder in 2013. The thing I love most? That your choice of word still has a positive connotation, despite the struggles you faced. You did it! You survived! And although it may be difficult to see it now, I know you’ll come out of this entire experience stronger and wiser than ever before :)

    Your discussion of your lost and renewed friendships really touched close to home for me. I recently renewed a friendship with a girl who was one my best friend. We had known each other since we were six years old, but fell out during high school when she began dating someone I felt was verbally abusive and toxic. I refused to accept that sort of influence in my life and we unfortunately lost touch because of it. Ultimately, she chose him over me. Or, at least, that’s how I perceived it at the time. Five years later, after having no contact with one another, she called me out of the blue and we ended up talking all night. We’ve since tried to keep in touch, although it’s sometimes difficult. And while our friendship will never be as close or as strong as the one we had once formed as children, I’m thankful that I was able to renew it because of the foundation we had created together as children. I think the most important thing I learned from this experience, however, was that the forgiveness I gave was not for her, but for me. For years I would seethe with resentment and anger over the hurt feelings I had been forced to swallow and the things that had gone unsaid. It was eating me up inside and was like a poison. By moving past it, I was granting myself peace. Everything else was simply icing on the cake. While you’re never truly able to wipe the slate clean, it was a relief to let those feelings go and move on because all I was doing was hurting myself. Why allow her actions to continue to dictate my life? In truth, I doubt she ever realized the depth of hurt the rift between us caused me. It was a revelation to learn that only I had the ability to heal that wound. Because as much as her apology meant, it meant nothing without my acceptance and willingness to put it behind us. I was also happy to hear that you were able to free yourself from the concern over what your friends thought of you. This is a constant issue in my life and one I still struggle with to this day. I’m a notorious ‘people pleaser’ and will go out of my way to make sure everyone else is happy, even at my own expense. I admire your ability to rise above this! Can you teach me your secret?

    If you ever need to talk or simply want to have a dance party that stretches from the U.S. to Canada, I would be more than happy to give you my number! I can lip sync song lyrics via text with the best of them, if I do say so myself ;)

    Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2014!

  5. This is an excellent post. Thank you so much for sharing all of that. I found it very inspiring.

    I really hope that you have an amazing 2014!

  6. What a crazy, beautiful life this is, huh Jamie? My ears are always open, as they have been this past year. I will be here for you, always. You’re such a bright light in this world, Jamie, and I just know you’ll find your purpose to shine. 2014 is here now. Live it up girl… Or better yet, dance it up ;) Love you! xoxo

  7. I’m really sorry it was a sucky year, but that’s okay! We just have better things to look forward to! 2012 was my worst year, and this year hasn’t been much better. Thanks for posting this. I’ve had much trouble with friends (being a crappy friend, losing groups, or cutting them off, trying to rebuild), lost my mother to cancer in middle school, had a long period of joblessness, and I feel like the lessons life has handed me through all that, and in this year, mirror what you have pointed out above! Anyway, I love your honesty. Here’s hoping 2014 will rock for us!

  8. Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads says:

    This is such a beautiful post! I’m crying. You are so beautiful for sharing so much and with such open honesty. I hope that 2014 brings you an amazing new job….I can’t think of anyone else who deserves it more than you do!!! xoxo

  9. This is a beautiful post! I’m sorry that your 2013 sucked but I find it inspiring how you kept going and had a positive outlook on life! I hope you have an amazing 2014! <3

  10. This is so beautiful and inspiring. I admire you for this, really. And I agree that 2013 has been a somewhat horrible year, but as you said: it’s over now. It is something we put behind us, but also look back at it as a lesson.
    I hope 2014 will be truly fabulous!

  11. I am so sorry that 2013 was such a rough and crappy year for you but so happy to see that you’re going into 2014 not only with a positive perspective but having learned from everything that happened! It’s SO hard to do that and damn, Jamie, you’ve been through a lot this year but it’s so wonderful to see you looking back and saying “Good riddance” haha! I wish nothing but lovely things for you in 2014! Dance parties are TOTALLY necessary (and Wilson Phillips TOTALLY reminds me of college because we basically played good (and bad) 90s music at our parties hahaha).
    Honestly, I think one of the hardest things is to forgive friends who have wronged you and who you’ve had falling outs with so KUDOS to you. My heart still hurts thinking about the best friends I made in college and still haven’t talked to since then because we had a super weird and awkward falling out in which we just didn’t talk anymore at at ALL. I wish I could have made up with them or had them forgive me for the stupid things that I did, if for no other reason for peace between us, even if we weren’t friends anymore because years later, it still does hurt. I admire your bravery not only to cut the group of friends out that was bringing out down but also to make up with your bff and for you two to forgive each other! It’s something I’ve wished for for myself for years but I know that’s really too late now.
    Happy New Year, Jamie! Hope you have a fantastic 2014 and I can’t wait to see what it holds for you! I wish you all the best!!!!!

  12. First off Happy New Year Jamie! I hope 2014 brings you nothing but the best it has to offer and even more :).I’m sorry to hear that 2013 wasn’t a great year for you. It wasn’t for me either because of personal reasons and because of the dreaded “what are you going to do with your life question.” It was tough because I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere in life and I was just tired. But then I finally decided to pull myself together and take a leap just head back to school. I got into a Publishing Program that is starting in April and I’m excited for it!

    In terms of friendships I’m like you where I believe it’s a two way street and ppl have to put effort into it. If not there’s no use for it. But last year I was grateful to the friends who helped me and supported me throughout everything. I’m not really a social butterfly, but I think last year was a learning process since I didn’t get to see the friends I made in University often since I graduated and surprisingly I kept in touch with people that I thought I probably wouldn’t and I’m happy about that :). I’m glad that you were able to find forgiveness and I think that’s really wonderful :). When we carry around the pain, the only one that ends up being hurt is ourselves. Speaking of forgiveness, if you like non-fiction you should read Malcolm Gladwell’s David & Goliath because it talks about the power of forgiveness.

    I’ll stop this long comment now, but I hope you have a wonderful 2014 once again. I hope it’s a safe, healthy and happy one!

  13. I have to say — bits of 2013 were good and bits were bad. I definitely get the whole persevere and roll with the punches thing, because honestly there are some things where it is what it is and maybe you can’t change them immediately, so you just get through it (like with my car breaking down and costing a month’s pay to fix).

    I think that 2014 is going to be awesome for you. I think this will be the year you either find a new job or write the book that’s been kicking around in your head to great success — I think you got bestseller inside you. I think this will be the year you don’t get screwed over by awful people. 2014 is going to be great, just have faith.

    You’ve been a pretty great friend to me this year — even though we no longer spend all day chatting on g-chat (damn internet filters) but when we do talk I always come away feeling happier and better and just, lighter, cuz you know that is what rant sessions do for me, get the load off my chest. So yes, while you might be feeling insecure about how you’ve been as a friend, just note you’ve been in my corner often enough that I am truly grateful to have you in my life. I am not keeping score and nor should you.

    Happy New Year!!

  14. I love how honest and open your blog is, Jamie. Whenever I’m reading one of your posts, I always feel inspired by it. We haven’t known each other long (well, as much as a person can know someone by meeting only once and chatting occasionally on the internet), but I hope I’ve enjoyed getting to know you this past year.

    2013 was a hard year for a lot of us and I think in a way, this community and posts like these are very therapeutic. I just tell myself “this too shall pass” to get through things and I really believe it will. So here’s to a new year! May it such significantly less than 2013.

  15. As we’ve discussed before, I also had that black cloud of unemployment doom over my head for most of this year. Sure, I tried new things and put myself out there and I’m glad I did but the fact that those things failed to produce a job completely blows. There were some good things this year but not enough to offset the lack of job and a separation on the boyfriend’s side of the family (something that hit us all really hard). I’m trying to be optimistic (maybe that’ll be my 2014 word) and will keep trucking along. Good luck with everything, Jamie. I know you’ll do great things this year :)

  16. I have such mixed emotions as I read this post. I’m sad that you’ve been through so many hard times this year, but I’m also happy you have lessons from this year to carry with you. You’re a very reflective person by nature, and I think this post shows a lot of inner strength. That’ll get you through whatever 2014 brings. Of course, since you’re my friend and I want to see you happy, I hope 2014 brings you better luck and more happiness. Cheers!

  17. This was an incredibly beautiful and honest post, Jaime! I’m inspired by this post, as well as your other posts, and I hope 2014 is kinder to you!

    Your story about your friends touched me the most since I’ve had falling outs with some of my friends this year. I don’t know if I would be able to face them right now nor do I think I could do half the things that you were able to come to terms with this year. It’s incredibly hard and it makes me all the more thankful for the friends who are with me through thick and thin.

    Hope you have a great 2014 filled with more dance parties, fun and happiness!

  18. What a beautiful, powerful post. You are such an inspiration! I hope 2014 brings you a lot more happiness, and more dance parties.

  19. This was a great post! I hope your new year is wonderful and as stress free as life can ever be…I can relate it’s been a rough one and a really good one for me as well!

  20. I think the most important thing about having a crappy year is learning from it and (cheesy as it sounds) being a better person for it. If you just sat around in your misery and did the same things over and over again that would be a complete waste. It definitely sounds like you learned some valuable lessons and you’re better equipped to tackle life going forward. (OMG so many bad metaphors, I’m so sorry.)

    My biggest lesson this year was how to embrace change. So, so, so many changes: quitting my job, moving (and everything that changed along with that), and going back to school. I used to be PETRIFIED of change, like tail between my legs unable to even consider the possibility, but now I realize how important it is to shake things up sometimes and not get complacent.

    Happy 2014, Jamie! I wish you a much happier, easier 2014!

  21. 2013 was so bad for me that I have decided to never again think of it. One thing tho is that I have learned that I am stronger than I thought and that has to count for something.

  22. Jamie, thank you for writing this. Many of the things you have talked about relate directly to me. This year has been a year of realization and letting go, but the forgiveness is kind of hard. In fact, this weekend I am faced with a challenge that is really toying with my emotions. And I am finding myself stressing and even dreading bits of it. So everything on your heart is speaking right to mine right now, just when I need it most. So I thank you. Truly.

  23. So sorry your year was so awful. I hope 2014 has much to offer you and your family! You have a large support net right here, and always remember you can reach out to me or I’m sure many others you are closer to through the reading world.

  24. I know how tough this year was for you and I sincerely hope that 2014 holds amazing things for you! I am praying for you to get a job. I know how hard unemployment is. Great job staying positive and pulling out the things you have learned from this craphole of a year. This post was really inspiring as they always are. Stay strong and keep your head up. You’re going to kick 2014′s ass!

  25. I’m sorry this year was such a struggle for you. I can understand some of it. When my husband moved here from Cali, he had the hardest time finding a decent job. I wondered all the time if we would be able to move out of my parent’s house after the wedding and made myself sick all the time from the stress. After countless rejections, and a huge sobfest, he got three job offers in one week! This was after a year and a half of struggling. Now he is very happy in his job and has great benefits. I know this doesn’t help you, but just know that things work out exactly as they should and when they should. You will get there.

  26. I have to say, you write the most beautiful pieces when you are baring your soul. I’m sorry last year was a hard one for you. I think friendships change throughout your life and people change and it’s all a cycle. I used to get crazy trying to keep in touch with people…then I realized *I* was the only one making the effort so I let it go. If people want to stay in touch with me, great. If not, that’s okay too. It’s hard sometimes realizing who are not your friends.

    You are one of the sweetest bloggers I have come in contact with. When I first came on the blogging scene you tweeted to me and made me feel very welcome, and let me tell you, not everyone does that. And when we finally met in person at BEA, you were just as sweet in person. I hope 2014 brings you health and happiness and more awesome blogging.

  27. I just really, really love this post. I love that you are always so honest with us, even when it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I loved reading about the strides you took in learning about yourself, in rising above being unemployed (which is HARD), and in moving on from those bad friendships. You did so many brave things in 2013, Jamie!

    For 2014 I wish you: love, laughter, more dance parties, and good, bright luck. You deserve all of that.

  28. I know I rarely (ever?) comment here, though I do read your blog on a regular basis. I know 2013 was the worst ever, but I’m hoping that mostly good things are in the future … Our year ended with one gigantic shit sandwich, but I know we’ll be fine in the end. A few things getting old(er) teaches you is that (1) you actually can make it through the bad if you stick with it, (2) it can always be worse, (3) and it’s bound to get better. Sounds trite, but Mr. BFR and I were reminding ourselves of this just last night as we caught ourselves on a downward spiral of gloom and self-pity. It’s ok to embrace the bad but the dancing is much more fun.

  29. 2013 might not have appeared to be the best of years for you, but I think you totally persevered and kicked ass through it as much as you were capable of doing! It still inspires me to see that you’re working so hard and being so hopeful about the future. I just believe that 2014 is going to be better for you, bringing with it lots of new adventures, stronger relationships and plenty of joy and love to boot! xo

  30. For a change 2013 was an excellent year for me and I feel blessed. I hope 2014 is even better and that I continue to improve myself, stay at the current job I love, and everything keeps going okay.

  31. *rebel yells with you*

    2013 has not been my favorite year. I’ve got a bit more shit to get through, but I expect 2014 to be better in pretty much every respect. Also, I love your comments about writing the ranty post and then turning to a positive one. That’s the attitude, and it can be difficult to achieve.

    A song for 2013: This Year by The Mountain Goats.

    Friend fighting is the worst. I had a situation kind of like that. She essentially dumped me and it hurt and I cried. We eventually did become friends again, but we’ll never be close and I’ll never be able to rely on her the same way. But since then I’ve made any number of wonderful new friends. The following year I met my current bestie. I like to think things will work out in the long run.

    I don’t know what I would do without my friends. In YA, it’s often romance that saves people, but in my experience it’s friends. The people who will prop you up when you just can’t anymore. The people who will cry with you or rage with you or get rip-roaring drunk and help you get some distance from your problems.

    Jamie, I want to say (if you see this comment) that I love how open you are about your personal life, your setbacks and successes. It makes me feel like a really know you, and I’m sure it does for all of your readers. I wish I could do the same, but I’ve never been all that comfortable putting myself out there like that. I really admire this about you so much.

    *hugs*

    *pours champagne*

    TO A BETTER 2014!

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