The New Year comes in as a baby and leaves as a little old man. I've often wondered what it takes for someone to feel stooped-over and hobbled at the end of the year as it seems to be such a depressing thought. However, I find myself at the end of 2011 understanding why it's important to make sure that the door slams hard on the past year, while opening a new one into 2012.
This year did not turn out as planned (and as I often explain to my child there are many things in life that you can't control, but the way you handle things is one). What started as an optimistic feeling in January (despite the bone-chilling weather) was gone by the first of March as I found myself working in a miserable place in a career that I was good at but not sure I wanted. Not a positive place for me to be.
For as long as I can remember, I've been defined by what I do. Suddenly, I felt boxed in by the compliance issues surrounding my profession. I found myself wanting to help others but tired of knowing everyone's dirty laundry. And, when I kicked back and took a good look around, I was no longer surrounded by people that felt they could conquer the universe. I was stuck in a sea of people just trying to survive and they all appeared to be clinging to life rafts.
Not a good feeling and it set the tone for the year.
Ironically, at the same time I hurt my calf (little did I know it was the first of three injuries that would increase in severity over the year). Never having calf pain before, I asked my chiropractor what that represented. She pulled out a book and declared, “Fear of the Future.”
At first I scoffed at the idea as I'm not a fearful gal. But, the more I thought about it (and the more times I continued to pull the same damn calf), I started to pay attention. Maybe I was scared of the road ahead as I wasn't quite sure where I was going. Maybe my leg was trying to tell me something that the rest of me subconsciously knew but hadn't acknowledged. Still, I didn't listen.
October arrived and I had no choice but to pay attention. I tore my calf in three places on the tennis court and had to be carried off. I sobbed as I watched my friends continue to play as I knew it would be a long time before I'd return to the court. It would be a hard recovery, but if I did it right, I'd never hurt my calf again (the beauty of the human body is it can compensate for the hole that you have in the middle of your leg by strengthening everything else).
I also knew that if I started to listen to the yearning in my soul for something new, bigger and better that my body and my psyche would heal as well. I would no longer be afraid of the future. I'd have a clear path and be in control. It was time.
Three months is a long time to rehab (I shouldn't complain as I escaped surgery which would have been longer). I wore a boot for seven weeks. It was heavy and uncomfortable and with every step I took, it was a reminder that I wanted to heal and move on. It gave me a goal.
And where am I now?
I find myself at the end of this year not able to play tennis, but I'm taking baby steps back to the court. I can now walk on the treadmill without pain and I'm getting ready to try the elliptical at the gym. I'm trying hard to be patient as I recover because I want to some back in the Spring and play well without another injury. It's a goal that's well in reach.
As for my soul? I took baby steps (and a few leaps) in fourth quarter to discover what I truly wanted to do and who I really wanted to be. 2012 will be a year of change for me and I embrace the unknown and welcome the feelings of excitement that I have as I entertain the idea of having my dream career. I am getting closer to that goal.
As we ring in the New Year tonight, I say goodbye to the exhausted, decrepit man that leaves as 2011 and say hello to the bouncing new baby that is 2012. I spent most of last year limping both physically and spiritually. I look forward to the upcoming year as I'll be able-bodied, optimistic, motivated and ready to grab at the future. I am no longer afraid.