Thursday, December 17, 2009

You can stand under my umbrella (ella ella)

2009 has been a difficult year for me. Of course I have a lot to be thankful for - I experienced more love and joy and exultation in 2009 than I have in my entire life, and as far as I know I wasn't the victim of any violent crimes or disease or anything equally terrible - but that doesn't mean there weren't times when I thought to myself, Can I get through this? Because there were plenty of them.

I'm not going to write a detailed post here about all that I've experienced in 2009 - I'm saving that post for the very end of December - but I have been thinking a lot about what I can take away from this year. I learned a lot of things, but I think all the little things I learned can generally be grouped under one big umbrella, and that umbrella is called: Hindsight is 20/20. (It's an awesome umbrella, like one of those huge golf ones that would never deign to invert in the wind. I have never owned such an umbrella, so I guess I should now consider myself lucky.)

"Hindsight is 20/20" just might be the most brilliant of all wisdom nuggets, because it's actually doubly meaningful. The thing about "hindsight is 20/20" is that you can't understand it until later. You can't just read or hear it and go, "Yeah, duh, everyone knows that. It's a truism." It's something you have to actually live to understand. You can only understand it - wait for it - in hindsight. Brilliant, right? And that is the huge fucking thing I learned this year.

Last year at this time, I was a different person. I know that now, but I couldn't have known it then. I couldn't have known then just how naïve I was, or how sweet, or how innocent, or how immature. Because I was all those things; I was all those things before I was unemployed for three months and found myself largely depressed because of it. Before I got my first job and felt the happiest I had felt in months. Before I broke up with my boyfriend - not twice but thrice - and finally realized that I was going through my first true fucking heartbreak.  Who I was in 2008 - that person existed before I realized that sometimes living your dream can mean risking a very unwelcome awakening.

The point is that it was impossible for me to realize in December 2008 that the next year would bring a lot of changes, and not all of them easy. I had no idea that in a year's time I would be mourning for the parts of myself that were so natural to me that they went totally unnoticed at the time. Of course now, in hindsight, I can clearly see 2008's version of me - sweet, innocent, loving, hopeful, clueless - and my late 2009 self fears that those qualities might be gone forever.

It's not fair, really. What a fucked up way to operate things, universe. So people aren't allowed to really, fully appreciate the good things about their lives until those things have gone missing? I mean is this just what it feels like to grow up? Because if so, fuck that. No wonder people cling to their youth like a ladybug clings to a leaf during a tornado - because if this is what it feels like to grow up, then it really fucking sucks. Or, another alternative - perhaps this is just what it feels like to get over a broken heart. If that's what it is, then OK, universe, I can deal with it - as long as you promise that it won't feel like this forever, and that one day I will look in the mirror and still see at least a bit of my pre-2009 self looking back at me.

Some people might say that I'm just futilely trying to live in the past. But that's not it; I don't want to erase the past year, or go back to before it happened, or live out my glory days as a 22-year-old living in the South or something like that. If I had the option to switch lives with the 2008 version of me, I still wouldn't do it. It's just that I feel like there are these youthful parts of myself that I want back because I feel like they are rightfully mine to keep forever - parts that were taken from me by bouts of heartache and depression and adulthood. The fucking scariest part is that I don't know if I can get them back; what if they really are stuck in the past, and trying to regain my ownership of them is just as pointless as trying to fill a cracked snow globe with water? Or, if they're not stuck in the past, then where are they? How do I get to them?

Or maybe they've been here all along, and I just can't see them. If the universe would shine some light on them, that would be much appreciated. I'll even move my bigass umbrella out of the way. Deal?

Because I'm really too young to feel so fucking old.


  1. Make peace with your present...thts the only sane thing to do...your 2009 seems just like me...I have learnt a lot from this year and will never forget it....

  2. You'll get those sweet trusting parts back, but in a different way. It will take effort and intention, where before it was natural. Yuck. I've been through something very similar. One day I woke up and I was this cynical wretch, and not at all the girl I once was. I didn't recognize myself. Not that I think you are a cynical wretch (please don't delete me). It will get better, and you will be the best "you" ever because of it. Just my opinion, speaking from personal experience. Love your blog btw.

  3. Wow. Amazing post. I am at the point in my life where I am reluctantly choosing to begin life as a responsible adult. There isn't anything wrong with clinging to your youth, methinks.You know.... life hasn't been exactly easy on me, and I think when life takes you and screws you sans lube, you DO lose a little bit of that innocence. but its more abut survival. i dont know if it is possible to stay innocent while still being able to navigate this tough world. I wouldn't take anything back in my life.... because I have grown from every experience in my life. wisdom... my friend, thats what it is. wisdom. dont look at it as you are losing innocence but gaining wisdom!

  4. I am 38....almost 40. It sucks getting older and I envy you for your youth. Cherish it.
    I will say I have more wisdom than my 20's self for I have experienced alot, been thru a lot but have learned from it. I am stronger now.
    I still mess up, have sadness and miss my past... I am human after all. Don't worry. We all go through this. Its part of life.

  5. Wow, I am suddenly enjoying your writings even more now that I know how deeply you think. Similar realisations have happened to me lately, they're not fun but they're needed I guess. Thanks for the awesomeness to read ^^

  6. Oh, trust me, as someone who has just crossed over the 30 barrier, you can get them all back, if you actually want them back. Life is entirely too short to be looking back. After all, if you're looking back, how the hell are you going to avoid that wall you're about to walk face first into?

  7. i totally feel your pain, 2009 was a pretty digusting year for me too. for much the same reasons as you. i felt like i was going insane and completely losing all sense of self.

    I can tell you right now, this isn't to do with age or growing up. and for all the bumph about learning from your experiences and 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' sometimes i think TOSH, have a good old bawl. really. it releases you and makes your eyes look sparkly the next day ;-)

    i have no sage advice, i still have moments when i just feel like i'm losing it; i'm angry, resentful, a screaming banshee if truth be told. BUT though it's useful to analyse and learn from your experiences, it's just as useful, and OK, to put those painful memories into a box marked DO NOT OPEN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, gaffer tape it shut and relegate it to the deepest darkest corner of the attic NEVER to be seen again.

    then get on with the job of just getting through the day, and finding something worthwhile in it. whether that be taking your rage out on dough, like me; reading a blog that you empathise with or that makes you smile; or something as banal as buying a new shade of lipstick or blusher that changes you ever so slightly.

    as cliched as it is, keeping busy is great, because you just don't have time to be miserable. and then you forget. and when you forget to be miserable you're just you again. and that's the best you can possibly be.

  8. you'll find your way back to those parts of you. it's not going to be easy and it won't flow as naturally as it did before but you'll get there. i've been here before. and this time around you'll experience them in a whole new way. you'll have the experiences of growing and learning and loving and losing to enjoy those parts of you all the more. growing up sucks. and hindsight really is 20/20. but don't let that stop you from always moving forward.

    i love how emotionally honest you can be. your blog is amazing!

  9. If I'm honest with you, I don't think you ever do get those qualities back that you miss, at least not the way it once was. Once tarnished it's never the same.

    It's like when a relationship ends. You hurt and you'll recover as time heals all. You may even get back together with the one who broke your heart. Yet there is always that edge of cynicism that has replaced the wonderous childlike warmth and naivety that was there before.

    The good news is that you learn to live with it, getting stronger everyday, until you almost forget that pain.

  10. Also I used to follow you a long time ago but for some reason your posts would not show up in my reader...I'm still having the same problems so will just have to try and spot you in Twitter.

  11. Hmmm, mysterg, I thought I fixed that problem. I'm going to look into it. Thanks!