As the year draws to a close, I find myself reminiscing about the end of 2010. As well as its personal impact, the end of 2010 is also the end of the first decade of the 21st century. I feel like it has gone by quickly. But I know that in reality, one year is the same as the next in terms of the actual passage of time. The human perception of the amount of and speed with which time passes changes as we age, with the varied evolution of our circumstances and our sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Personally, the year has been one of full of changes that have brought greater fulfillment, understanding, and satisfaction. I have experienced change in my relationships, my work, and my spiritual connections. Unlike other years in my life, this particular year has not been punctuated with a great deal of loss. For all of this, I am truly grateful.
The decade is a different story. The first decade of the 21st century, also term the “oughts,” has been marked by huge losses, roller-coaster professional issues, and some gut-wrenching uncertainty what the universe expects of me. Both of my parents crossed over to the afterlife after long illnesses. Both of my godparents passed on within two weeks of one another. I witnessed the violent death of my first puppy. There were significant upheavals in my finances and my personal life. I made some new friends and lost or let go of others.
It was not until the 2nd half of the decade that I was able to come to terms with these losses and begin to figure things out. The answers were always there. I just had to find them. I got a new puppy who is now almost four. I clearly formulated my approach to treatment and was able to create my website. I did a great deal of work finding my ancestors and coming to terms with my personal family history (both processes are ongoing).
Most importantly, I engaged more fully with my religious and spiritual paths, namely my involvement in Yoruba priesthood. I deepened my relationship with my spiritual guides (the Orishas and Eguns, as they are called) and learned how to connect with them in a way that honors them and serves me. I accepted the spiritual responsibility that was expected of me and felt honored to be chosen.
When I reflect upon more universal milestones of the last decade, some make me laugh, others make me sad, and yet others leave me in awe. I am thinking in particular of the near-panic about Y2K, something that makes me laugh in retrospect, as well as September 11th, that still fills me with sadness, and the election of Barack Obama to the presidency that leaves me in awe with great joy. The wars we are involved in as a country make me angry and the significant unemployment and poverty cause me great distress.
I recently started working with an extremely depressed teenage client. What do you say to an adolescent who spends each day thinking about suicide? All I could guarantee him of was that if he kept deciding to live, ten or twenty or thirty years from now he would look back on the time when he thought about ending his life. Any regret would be overshadowed by gratitude that he did not because of how much he will value his life experiences since.
What helps me look back on my life with all of its ups and downs and gains and losses is to be grateful for all of it. I wouldn’t want to have missed any of it. So to all of my readers over the past year, thanks for following my column and a special thanks for those who have shared your own thoughts. I send wishes that your year ends full of peace and gratitude. See you in the New Year--inshallah (Arabic for “God-willing”).
© Copyright 2010 by Kalila Borghini, LCSW, therapist in New York City, New York. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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