Sometimes life just sucks. It just does. And to watch a friend’s life suck is super sucky. Nice, language, huh? Well, this is my dear friend. We use terms like that sometimes.

I’ve known this woman longer than I’ve known any other mom in this county. We met when our children were true infants at a La Leche League meeting. Without much investigation, we realized our paths had nearly crossed at least twice before in college and in brief career. And our lives continue to cross, even though it’s more often on the phone or on PingChat than in person.

We are like sisters. Her being the older one, of course (you’d best be smiling…). We bicker and bicker hard. We’ve gone weeks without talking before. But when we come back together we’re closer than before. We’ve walked as nipple nazis together, as stay-at-home moms together, as former career women together, as moms together, as friends together, and most importantly in faith. Not only faith in God, but faith in each other. We know the other is there. No matter what.

To have walked this past many months with her as she has had to force herself to accept really crappy things, it is hard for me to read what she has written. I read it when she sent it but I have not read it since. I am merely cutting-and-pasting. I don’t want to read it. I want to move on. She does, too. Life just sucks sometimes and it can take a while for the room the air out. I am honored she is choosing to write out her thoughts here, though. I can’t imagine us not doing this together, too.

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From my Life-Sometimes-Sucks Friend.

A Year of Failure

I have been having quite an interesting discussion with myself about what constitutes failure. Why with myself, you might ask? Well, first of all, there seem to be many rhetorical questions, so I really don’t need anyone else. Also, I think that people really don’t care much about my theoretical musings, so I do them alone.

2011 constitutes what I would describe as My Year of Failure. I was divorced from an 18 year marriage. I lost my job due to state budget cuts. I sold my home and found myself not an owner of real estate for the first time in a decade and a half. To me, these felt like failures.

But wait!

My marriage wasn’t healthy. He cheated. I couldn’t deal. There were things for which I have responsibility leading up to it. He had things as well. Is this failure? Unsure.

I loved my job. But it was part time. No benefits. I worked with difficult people. And it was grant funded by the state, so uncertainty was certain. I was laid off due not to performance issues but because of budget cuts. Failure? Perhaps.

My house was beautiful, 86 years old, and in need of repair on a nearly constant basis. Faced with the demands of work, kids, pets, house, and friends, the house was always last. It was too big and difficult to clean. The mortgage was high. So was selling low a failure? Not sure.

As I look back on the failures of 2011, I wonder if in some way they weren’t really small victories on the way to figuring out my life. Losing my marriage, while hard, has given me the freedom to figure out who I am and what I need in a life partner. Losing my job opens up a world of possibilities about what I can do that will be both fun and challenging to support myself and my children. Selling my house is a blessing in so many ways (particularly in a difficult market), and in a month, when I’m moved into a small but lovely home in a desirable school district with a neighborhood pool, I will not even remember this writing.

As I think about 2011, I’m sure I’ll always remember how hard these particular milestones were. But I’ll also remember the smiles on my children’s faces when I showed them our new place. I’ll know that despite the difficult divorce, when I had to move out of that big house, my ex was there to lend a hand. I’ll realize that even though my job is gone, while i was there, my work made a difference in people’s lives. Life is bittersweet, and good cannot be valued or appreciated without bad.

As I trudge into 2012, I go with eyes open and blinders on, knowing that nothing is forever but trusting in myself and in God to get me through the times that seem impossible. I have faith and love, hope and fear, and happiness that I have been blessed with life. I know that the future, while uncertain, is mine to create and mine to embrace. And for these things, I am blessed.

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