You Never Know

"I can't do a New Year's post this year, it'll sound like I'm bragging."

This is what I said earlier this week, heavily influenced by that Danish-Canadian thing about not tooting your own horn overmuch (and perhaps a little by the fear that if I say something out loud, it'll jinx it).

At New Year's in 2005, I wrote about buying the ticket. In 2007, I wrote about how my life was smaller than it had ever been, yet I was genuinely happy. In 2008, I wrote about how by stepping around, you can find a new road to old joys, that limits can be transcended if you change your way of thinking. And it all comes out of getting my life back five years ago, about coming very close to losing everything and in the aftermath and healing finding happiness and joy in a place so unlike what I had previously imagined would be necessary for happiness and joy.

And then 2009 happened. As I mentioned in yesterday's post for MyRACentral, comparing my life today to what I could do and was doing on December 31, 2008 blows my mind. In the past 12 months, I've gotten a new job with more responsibility, a job that is not only fascinating, but in which I actually sometimes make a difference. Between that and my own stuff, I often spend 4-5 hours a day working, easily twice what I was able to do last December. In 2008, I dreamed of being a photographer, this year, I’ve exhibited twice. A year ago, I canceled plans with friends at least half of the time, not having enough energy to follow through on what I wanted to do. This year, I’ve started seeing my friends again, actually having dinner and spending evenings with them and at the end of the evening, there is often hugging. A year ago, I had almost accepted being too wrecked to ever have a relationship again and this year, I found a life partner, a man I am absolutely mad about (and who is undoubtedly blushing as he reads this). A year ago, I was happy with my fairly small life, hoping for a bit of an increase in strength and energy in the new year, but didn’t expect the world.

And then I got the world.

In the past, I've talked about being exactly where I'm supposed to be, usually around times of difficulty, where things take longer than I'd hoped or where it seems apparent that I need to become accustomed to living in a smaller world and it's been hard to believe it at times. And now? Now would not be possible without those hard times. Without almost losing everything five years ago, I wouldn't have my now. I wouldn't have taken this road and without being razed to the ground by illness and pain, I wouldn't have been able to build the new me and my new life. Everything I have today can be linked directly back to a very dark place, everything I am today comes from that moment in my life. And if I'm grateful for the way my life has turned out - and I am, every minute of every day - I am also grateful for having been in that dark place. It and the hard journey out of it taught me more about living, happiness and limitless than any other event in my life.

I’ve just finished reading American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson’s autobiography - by the way, I can highly recommend it, especially the audio version read by the author (oh, that Glasgow accent!) - and he mentions that the motto of the Ferguson clan is dulcius ex asperis, which supposedly means ‘sweeter after difficulty’. And that rings a bell. Because wonderful is even more so when you've worked hard to get there. When you've been in a crappy place that helps you understand just how profound happiness can be. When you've been at whatever represents stuck and bottom for you and then slowly crawled out of it, done it by showing up and doing your best and keep getting back on the horse that threw you and then all of a sudden, it all comes together and you wonder how you got so lucky.

Before I was able to do my best, someone else to had to do theirs. And that was Abbott, the pharmaceutical company that makes Humira. Someone there made the decision to invest millions of dollars and likely decades in developing this drug and without that decision, I wouldn't have my now. And other people need thanking, too, because without the taxpayers of Ontario who pay for this medication, I wouldn't have my now and I still, just as I did five years ago, send out a silent thank you every time I get my shot.

You never know.

May your hard times turn into joy. Happy New Year!


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