I still run around my life claiming that time isn't real, and yet I still take the time to reflect on times past. Go figure. I have always been a walking contradiction.
This year I heard a beautiful episode of Rob Bell's podcast titled "Seasons." In it, Bell talks about literal seasons--the blooming and dying of plants, the warmth of summers and chill of winters, the ever moving cycle of life and death--and relates it to seasons in one's personal life. Prior to hearing Bell talk of seasons, I don't know that I'd ever equated the ups and downs of my life to seasons. Death is essential to new life in nature and, so it seems, ends are essential to new beginnings in my personal life too.
My 2015 reflection sounded hopeful. It sounded like I'd suffered and come through the other side, but I had not yet hit bottom. The end of 2015, most notably my admission of my December nervous breakdown, was only the beginning of a tumble down into darkness.
The beginning of 2016 is a void I only vaguely remember. There are few things that I know for sure.
I ran a lot. I did this because it was the one thing that helped me feel steady. I did it because I needed to remind myself that I could still do something; that even though my mind was screaming for a reprieve from life, my body was still strong and capable. It helped. For a while.
I took a month off of work for outpatient care. The doctor's note stating that I was under 24/7 doctor supervision is tucked into a folder in my apartment somewhere--one of the few pieces of evidence that that whole ordeal even happened.
I journaled quite a bit. Writing became another way that I felt solid and real and relevant in the world, even if the writing was for my eyes only.
I shut myself in.
I shut others out.
I lost 20 lbs.
And that's about it.
The second half of 2016 is clearer. It felt almost like coming to from a coma. Even so, everything is still shrouded in haze. I wish I could articulate the wonder and joy and love that has filled the second half of the year, but the first half still overshadows it. There is still a nagging question of whether or not it's possible to have two such stark different halves to a year. There is still a part of me waiting for the other shoe to drop on the second half of 2016.
I know this is no way to live, though. To move forward in fear isn't really moving forward.
Which brings me to 2017. In 2017, and every year after, I hope to move forward in a way that allows me growth. 2016 has been challenging, and there is still so much work to be done. I want to continue to move through the darkness and make it through to the other side. The thought of staying where I am, of continuing to do what I am comfortable doing instead of challenging myself to be better, is not the path I want to take.
2016 started a transformation. 2017, I hope, will continue it.