‘Twas A Bittersweet—More Sweet than Bitter, Bitter Than Sweet—Year

For me, 2011 was the year of truly living SingleInMy30s. At age 33, it was in fact the first time in my 30s I was not involved in some exclusive—usually long-term—relationship for the vast majority of the year. The V-Man and I finally ended our second attempt at being together a couple months into the year…and from then on, I was free.

I can’t say that it was an easy year. My body slowly stopped allowing me to beat it into submission, to work it day and night with little to no rest. Soon my dream job became a nightmare job for my immune system, and I was left facing four months of chemotherapy.

I was forced to go on medical leave from my job, and when I wasn’t back on my feet fast enough, I had to leave it outright. To be honest, I think that hurt more than saying goodbye to V-Man, though those losses are somehow linked. Still, saying goodbye to that old dream, that exciting chapter of my life has led to an awesome new career path and wonderful opportunities I would never have expected.

Most importantly, it re-taught me something I thought I already had down cold—how to listen to my body. Now I truly do understand it’s not worth Hurtling Against the Brick Wall—again. My mantra for 2011? Find your balance.

From the dating perspective, I enjoyed dating a variety of men, broadening my horizons a bit more than ever before. There was the Ballroom Dancer, the Christian Rocker, the Cop, the Karaoke Crooner, to name but a few Up Next On the Stage… I didn’t regret every single one, though there were a couple of opportunities for a bruised ego–most famously, the experience captured in The Appeal of the Exotic Woman. Yet I didn’t allow myself to get too involved in the hunt. Timing was certainly off in 2011.

With all the time I had for myself this last year, there was plenty of time for self-reflection. I dealt with the love I’d left behind in 2010 and finally learned how to say goodbye, with A Letter to a Love Lost & A Lesson Learned and several other entries. I gave the bird to societal expectations of where I should be as a woman of a certain age, Tossing Out the Ticking Time Clock, and embracing my own unique path.

I also focused on my self, recognizing my own faults and weaknesses, and embracing my new strengths, while acknowledging the me-ness that I sometimes allow to get buried behind bitterness/reticence/resignation or tucked under the plastered on happy face for show. With a little help from surprise, surprise Shania Twain, I was reminded about Finding Your Voice Again.

And then finally, sweet romance did sneak up on me when and where I least expected it. We fell hard and fast. Since it is my love life, it couldn’t stay smooth sailing for too long. So I wound up the year with the realization that I wasn’t actually in a relationship. It looked like one, smelled like one and tasted like one, but apparently it wasn’t one. And after that was established, it acted even more like one…conveniently for the holiday vacation anyway.

So I’m not sure where that leaves me in 2012, except that I’m not looking to bring drama from 2011 into this year. I am a survivor of last year. I more than survived, I thrived and feel more alive than I have in a really long time, and I plan to only go up from here. Nothing and no one is allowed to take me down.


8 thoughts on “‘Twas A Bittersweet—More Sweet than Bitter, Bitter Than Sweet—Year

  1. What an interesting journey you’ve described here. I’m always amazed at how much energy some of us may put forth in tryng to find, maintain and keep a relationship going, but at the end of the day, LIFE overall puts things into perspective.

    I too had a bittersweet ending to the year as I reflected but realized I would be single for Thanksgiving, Christmas, my birthday. For me, I think the non-relationship status hits harder during holidays.

    I digressed.

    Again, I’m happy to read a post that describes a woman who has had a remarkably trying year, but you made it through, with lessons learned.

    Here’s to 2012!

    • Yes, it’s certainly tough to go through the holidays single. It helps to be buffered by a loving family and friends, but no, it’s not quite the same.

      Life certainly put me in my place in 2011. 2012 looks like it’s going to be awesome so far. Hope i can keep the momentum. Here’s to an amazing year for you as well!

  2. I’m terribly sorry it’s been so long since I’ve stopped by since I obviously missed so much from the tail end of 2011 for you. Last I heard you were still on with V-man and the job was incredibly stressful–but manageable. I had no idea about the chemo, that you were forced to leave your job to go on medical leave, and I didn’t know about the many suitors that followed.

    You are a remarkably STRONG woman. Sadly, I have noticed that we find this out when we are tested beyond what we think we are capable of handling. I wish you all good things to come in 2012. With a new year always comes the hope and promise of new and better opportunities and I have no doubt that this will be a breakthrough year for you.

    Best wishes and always keep your spirits up. XOXO

    • Absolutely no apologies necessary, my dear. This year has been tough to keep up with all the blogs for most people, I think, including me. I know I need to catch up on yours! 🙂

      Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words. I got through 2011 stronger and smarter (hopefully). It didn’t beat me, haha.

      2012 is rocking! I hope you have an amazing year as well!

  3. Wow! What a year you’ve had… but the single thing to remember: finding that balance. Why, oh why, is it so hard??

    PS Relationships that seem like relationships in everything but name are still effing relationships. The difference is… are you both comfortable with whatever name you’ve chosen? What are the connotations of it? If one of you isn’t comfortable, why not? Could be serious shiz hidden in there… but sounds like you have the perspective to keep your head on your shoulders….

    Happy New Year!

    • Nikki, as always you strike at the heart of the matter – yes, pun intended. The name isn’t as important as the understanding where we stand with each other, being clear what we want, hope and expect from each other and when we don’t know…being honest about that too. There are very real reasons why we can’t be more than where we are now from his end, and I totally understand them…I’m doing my best to go with the flow…until, if, I can’t. 🙂

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