ANOTHER YEAR OLDER - ANOTHER YEAR WISER?

The world has turned, a year has passed and it's time for another birthday - what have I learned in the last 12 months?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

The world has turned, a year has passed and it's time for another birthday. I should be older and wiser than I was in November last year, so what have I learned in the last 12 months? It feels like the answer is "not much", but there have been a few things I've absorbed and I thought I'd share them - lessons can be challenging, but if we use them to grow and develop then they weren't for nothing.

LOVING PEOPLE CAN BE TOUGH

Last year I upset someone I loved dearly and they made a point of cutting me out of their life for several months. I'm still not sure how it escalated so badly and how love can become punishment, but it taught me that I have to be strong in myself and take things on the chin. Unintenional hurt is still hurt, reciprocated hurt is still hurt - and how is it that the people we love the most can hurt us the most deeply?

The rift has healed but there is scar tissue - I'm not sure if there is on their side, but my heart still hurts at times when I look back and it's made me wary, and less naive (for want of a better word) about how easily relationships can be damaged and ties cut. It's also shown me that you can repair the breaks, but there is always a price to be paid. I learned a lesson or two in the process - and I think apologizing sooner, rather than needing to maintain my right to be right would probably have been a better response.

We have all hurt someone tremendously, whether by intent or by accident

DRAMA IS INESCAPABLE

I've struggled with workplace drama for the last couple of years. I have the perfect job in almost all aspects - except it comes with ongoing stress and upset caused by a co-worker who cannot maintain boundaries. I think I've said and done everything possible to create space and to help where possible, and avoid when the help is ignored, but the boundaries continue to be blurred and rubbed out and redrawn - it's all so wearying.

In the process of the ups and downs (some weeks are good, others are dreadful) I've learned that compassion and caring can be seen as an invitation to over-share and take advantage. I've learned that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind - there comes a point where peace is paramount and standing your ground is vital. Sometimes I think about leaving, then I have a good week or two and I realize how much I'd lose by walking away, then there's a bad week and the cycle continues. I'm still figuring out how to handle it well with grace and with self-compassion, and to be supportive without enabling poor behaviour - it's a fine line to walk.

you're allowed to walk away from the chaos. it's not your job to fix everything and everyone. you can't carry it all. it's okay to rest.

DEVELOPING SELF-WORTH IS ONGOING

I mentioned last month that I had struggled to come up with qualities I was proud of in myself. This has really opened my eyes to how much further I need to go in developing a strong sense of self-esteem and a core of self-worth. I read a couple of posts around the same time - one from Min on anxiety and one from Molly on silence, that also touched on the area of lack of confidence and the battle we fight to see ourselves as having something to offer.

It's ridiculous to be past my mid-fifties (how did that happen?) and to still be struggling with feeling that I'm not enough and being controlled by my perceived inadequacies. Logically I know that I've got lots to offer, I know that I'm smart and sassy, loyal and real, loving and invested in others. But.....I still question myself, I still worry, I still over-think things, I still have a long way to go. So many things have contributed to my lack of self-esteem and so much is needed to try to outgrow it - I'm definitely an ongoing work in progress!

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

So happy birthday to me and another year done and dusted. Living and learning is exciting, daunting, tiring, and rewarding. Have you learned any lessons over the last year or so? I'd love to hear them if you have.


The world has turned, a year has passed and it's time for another birthday - what have I learned in the last 12 months?

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69 comments

  1. Happy Birthday Leanne! I am so sorry you went through such a rough patch with your friend. I hope this year is more pleasant - particularly with your coworker. I've challenged myself to be a bit more introspective this year than the last few - because I needed a rest! We'll see what I learn...

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    1. Thanks Janet - I guess you can't always have sunshine and rainbows in life - we need a little bit of rain and a few storms to show us what we can get through! It's interesting that we keep learning though - that's got to be a good thing.

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  2. You are and always have been the most perfect daughter any mother could hope to have. You are clever, articulate, caring and loving. What’s not to love? So no more self doubt. I love you to the moon and back, as the saying goes. Mumsie. ��

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    1. Thanks Mum xx Sometimes I wonder where the doubt comes from - maybe we just needed to be more open with telling our kids the stuff they need to hear? I wish I'd figured it out a lot sooner - but better late than never :)

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  3. happy Birth Day leanne and thank you for your deep introspections /wisdom that you share with us. I really relate to the hurting someone you love story as we had an upset in our family with a daughter over a couple of years that included a baby grandaughter we lost sight of too. it is still difficult on our end to understand what we did so wrong and even though it has eased now and we are moving towards the love and intimacy that we so took for granted it is not the same - as you say a price is extracted - perhaps trust perhaps wariness _ I am not sure I can name it but something is different . I hold hope that the healing continues and it repairs. What I have learnt is to keep on opening keep on loving forgiving yes but also accepting that there are times when we muff up, when we are not at our best ,when we make mistakes and somehow we have to know that this is the part of the parcel of human awakening unto its divine Self. may this next year bring greater strength of self acceptance and compassion towards yourSelf.

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    1. Sandra - everything you write always seems so profound. I find it really interesting how similar certain parts of our life have been. I can certainly relate to what you're saying about trying to recover a damaged relationship - it's like the foundation is cracked and you're never quite sure whether you're going to step on something unstable and make it worse. Fortunately love covers a multitude of sins and we just keep loving, and keep praying and keep hoping - and yes, self compassion is a big one!

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  4. Happy Birthday, Leanne - It sounds to me that your deep reflections have made you another year wiser! Wishing you a joyous and peaceful year ahead!

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    1. Thanks Donna - I hope I didn't sound too much like I was navel gazing - I just thought it was interesting that a whole year had gone by and what did I have to show for it? Hopefully a bit of wisdom was garnered along the way :)

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  5. Happy birthday Leanne! It's always a positive step to reflect on what we've learnt, either over the past year, or week, or day :-) Don't be too hard on yourself over things. We live and learn, it's life. And it's not always our responsibility to 'help' others (talking about your work situation here), or to offer advice. Sometimes it's better to just put your head down and get on with what's important to you. That's something I've learnt over the years after being taken advantage of too many times. Or having a 'one way friendship'. Sometimes it's better to let go. And, by the way, your mum is gorgeous, you're very lucky :-)

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Cheryl - sometimes I feel like I go round in circles, making the same mistakes or 'helping' when I should step back (or vice versa) Getting the whole compassion thing down to a fine art will be something I'll be working on for the rest of my life. And yes, my Mum's words were lovely weren't they?

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  6. Happy birthday. Thank you for sharing what you've learnt this year. I hope the coming year is a bit easier. #Anything Goes

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    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes Jo - and I think each year has good bits and bad bits - I'm trying to learn from the bad bits so I'm less likely to repeat them in the years ahead!

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  7. Happy Birthday, Leanne! As I have aged and am becoming more settled with myself, the things I have learned the most about relationships is to say less and listen more. I do not always have to offer a solution or an opinionated response or comment, and that not everything is a debate or attack. I have also practiced being more tactful instead of blunt and can still remain true to my feelings and who I am. With age I seek more peace and do not feel compelled to always be "in the mix", so there is less stress now. You have a lot to offer, hold onto that and celebrate your birthday, it is your special day!

    Lori Jo - 50 With Flair

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    1. Thanks Lori Jo - you're right about feeling more settled and at peace - I think I tried to make sense of a couple of situations that were emotional rather than logical and that was what got me mired in too much mental stress. I've learned more and more that I can step back at times, take a deeper look and decide whether I need to do more, or if I've done enough - that's been a big learning curve for me!

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  8. Happy birthday Leanne! That boundaries thing is a tough one. I'm a work in progress in that area too. People who are naturally givers tend to attract the takers, and it is tough to step back and create a boundary. It's even tougher to get that boundary acknowledged and respected, but it's work we need to do. I have that problem with an inlaw, and I feel like I have to constantly be on my toes around this person, because I feel they will catch me off guard and I will find myself committing to something I have no intention or desire to carry out. I'm getting much better at speaking my mind and saying no, and it is being received OK. But this person still keeps asking me things I feel they should know by now is crossing a boundary. Sigh.

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    1. Hi Deb - you're so right about boundaries and the people who overstep them constantly. I think I tend to expect people to have similar values to mine and if I wouldn't do something, then they won't either - wrong!! What it has come down to for me is making sure I say No sooner and pulling back when I feel myself getting pulled under. Some people have such high emotional needs and I just don't have it in me to constantly be the supply wagon for them! It helps to know that even Badass people like you have similar issues - thanks for the moral support xx

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  9. So much of what you said about people with loose boundaries and drama resonated with me. I went through a situation recently that got me so stressed out that I caught a cold. When I had time to think about the issue that took place, my attitude changed dramatically. I did apologize to the person but the most important behavior change came from me, not her. Somehow I felt more compassion than anger, more understanding than judgment, and I realized that I was able to let the little things go. I learned that it just wasn't that important to fight these small battles. I think sometimes we have to get some emotional distance from people who have loose boundaries. It doesn't require us to be mean; it requires us to be strong. "Observe, don't absorb." That's a good lesson. I hope things get sorted out for you, Leanne.

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    1. I love your "observe, don't absorb" motto Jean and I think it's going to be a good one to remind myself of regularly. I've never been good at not taking stuff on board - whether it's other people's drama or my own! I need to be able to step back and leave things once I've done my best. Something to focus on for the year ahead I think!

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  10. Happy Birthday Leanne. As one who also is trying to grow in the area of self-worth, I'm thinking of posting my ten qualities I like about myself on my computer as the screen saver...as soon as I can get a list of 10. :-)

    Listen to your mum... you are clever, articulate, caring and loving. And yourself - smart and sassy, loyal and real, loving and invested in others. Yup, all that. As well as insightful and willing to share, so others can be inspired. 10...easy, peasy.

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    1. Patricia, thank you! What a wise and lovely comment and I'm going to take your advice on board and make a screen saver with these words to remind myself that I am more than I give myself credit for (aren't we all?) I really hope you'll do the same with your 10 words - you can add caring and invested to your list too xxx

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    2. Revisiting from #MLSTL. And thanks for those words. I've never considered myself a "good friend" (which is what caring and invested are components of being, are they not) and now I think it's an old tape I need to let go. I've been working on making and keeping connections with others as part of my new retirement life, whether blogging buddies or IRL. Maybe I need to put good friend on my own list!

      P.S. I don't get notification anymore that you responded to my comments. I used to, but no more. So I often now come back in with #MLSTL to see what you said, if I know I commented. :-)

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  11. Happy Birthday Leeanne. Several years ago, I read something that got me thinking and I had to list things that I like about myself. It was an eye opening experience. Very difficult at first but eventually I began to find many things to list. Keep at it!
    :) gwingal

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    1. I wrote a post a month or so about this whole issue Nikki - it's so strange that we recognize good qualities in others but overlook them in ourselves. I don't want to be my own critic - I want to start being my own cheerleader :)

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  12. Happy Birthday! I love the line "It's not your job to fix everyone..." and it's one I need to keep reminding myself of.

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    1. Hi Janet - thanks so much for the birthday wishes and yes, we both need to remember that it's okay to do our best and then leave other people to sort themselves out.

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  13. Hi Leanne! Happy Birthday. And if I've learned anything in my 63 years it is that nothing is EVER failure as long as we learn something from the experience and keep moving in a positive direction. It certainly sounds like that is what you have done during your last year. Even if we just take baby steps in moving in the direction we hope to go then it was a good year. May your coming year be filled with lots of baby steps toward greater happiness. ~Kathy

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    1. Thanks Kathy - you are such a shining example of confidence and looking for ways to grow as a person. I'm working on being that type of person too - someone who can show that it's okay to fall down as long as I get back up and do better the next time x

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  14. Happy birthday, Leanne! Sounds like you're doing quite well. I don't think we ever become so enlightened, we're perfect. As long as we're open to learning, maybe that's all we can do.

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    1. Thanks Laurie - and you're right about life being a learning process - I'm hoping that the lessons keep moving me forward - who knows, I might be fabulous by 80!

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  15. Happy Birthday my BBB! I hope you had an extra special day. I've decided that life for me will always be a WIP and that isn't a bad thing because that is how I grow as a person. I wrote earlier this year about asking others what they think your qualities are and I can see from the comments that many, like myself value you as a very special person who is inspiring to many and a wonderful friend. I agree in particular with your Mum and Pat Doyle you are all of these things and more. Thank you for being my BBB and being you because my world wouldn't be as rich without you. xxx

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    1. Hi Sue - that post was what got me thinking about my qualities and my lack of ability to recognized the positive ones I possess. I'm hoping that it was a turning point for me and I can start being more aware of what I have to offer. Thanks so much for being my BBB and for your encouragement through our blogging (and life) journey xx

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  16. I have just started reading your blog. I have learnt, over the past year, to not take family wisdom for granted. I came from a long line of cancer-free longevity then suddenly, within less than a month after diagnosis, my dear mother passed away from cancer 2 weeks after her 80th birthday. I know she was technically elderly but she didn't seem it or look it. I think we tend to think things will happen a certain way because "that's the way they happen in our family." This year taught me that isn't true, and thus to savor the moments even more fully.

    In the meantime, happy birthday to you!

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    1. Hi Betty! I'm so glad you found me - and you're so right about learning lessons from all sorts of things life throws at us. I'm so sorry for the loss of your Mum - I always thought 80 was old, but as my own Mum gets closer to that figure, I realize it isn't old at all and it would be heartbreaking to lose her so quickly. My thoughts are with you xx

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  17. Wish you a very Happy Birthday, Leanne.
    Very nice introspective post. Life is a long journey; some experiences are pleasant, some are not. As we move forward, there are new challenges and new solutions. Some problems can be solved. Some, we have to learn to live with.
    From your posts, I have got a feeling that you have the right and positive attitude towards life. It's a great attribute that not many people have. With such an approach it's easier to get around challenges.
    Wish you good health, and lots of happiness in the days and years to come!
    - Pradeep

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    1. Thanks for your lovely birthday wishes and your kind words Pradeep - we've missed you linking up with us at #MLSTL and I hope you'll be back again soon.

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  18. Happy Happy Birthday lovely Leanne :) xx I hope you had a wonderful day and that you have an amazing year ahead planned too. I agree we are works in progress, but we have to accept ourselves as we are, and look ever forward and just keep those dreams a coming. You are beautiful through and through. Don't forget that :) xx

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    1. Oh Jo - what lovely thoughts and wishes - thank you so much for your kind words and I am eternally grateful for my blog and the wonderful women it has put me in touch with - the positivity and encouragement has been the saving grace of my 50s! xx

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  19. My biggest lesson had been to stop waiting for things to change and make the changes myself.

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    1. I did a No-Complaining challenge last year and what it taught me was exactly that - to stop sitting around whinging, and start thinking about what I can do to improve and change the situation - a great lesson!

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  20. Happy birthday again Leanne! I wish you happiness for the year ahead and marvel at your ability to self analyse and I admire your honesty. No matter how old we get there's always room for self reflection and growth. (My words fo wisdom for the day :) ) Sharing for #mlstl

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    1. Thank you for those wise words and you're right Deb - we need to keep growing and learning - that makes the hurdles worthwhile - otherwise we'd just throw our hands in the air and sit down and cry (or sulk!)

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  21. Happy Birthday Leanne. Isn't it amazing that at our age, how we still have trouble accepting who we are? I think it must be human nature to question ourselves. I also unintentionally caused upset to a friend this year and haven't been able to forgive myself so I understand how you feel. As usual your introspections ate thought provoking. I

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    1. Hi Jennifer - isn't it awful how much damage can be done to a relationship in a moment of time without any intention behind it? And how difficult it is to ever get that relationship back to what we have taken for granted over the years? It's been a valuable lesson to me - and also the whole self-esteem thing too - so far still to go!

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  22. Happy Birthday to you. I think birthdays as we get older are cause for reflection. In fact mine, coming at the end of November will be my last in the 60s and quite frankly I am not keen to enter the 70s as it seems "everything" starts to go downhill well & truly...BUT as someone told me, I should be glad I will hopefully get to that age as some do not. In terms of boundaries and the other person, the only way to change that situation is YOUR boundaries are kept by you. This is always a challenge but stick to it and let the person/problems slip off like teflon. I think family hurts and fallings out are horrid but I will add that they teach us something about ourselves. My post next Monday is why I get more stressed in November...see you then! Denyse @MLSTL

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    1. Hi Denyse - I'll be reading your Monday post with great interest. I can't believe how much more family upsets hurt than any others. Also you're right about making strong boundaries and sticking to them - I've been doing some more reading on that lately and I realize that self preservation is essential - not a luxury and certainly not selfish.

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  23. Happy birthday, Leanne! Your introspection shows your wisdom has grown. Wishing you a beautiful and joyous year ahead. #MLSTL

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    1. Thanks Natalie - I like to think that I'm getting wiser (one of the few blessings of getting older - the body sags but the mind gets stronger!)

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  24. One of the fun things I really am enjoying about getting older is being able to more often see that people's reactions to me might not have anything to do with me - they might be acting out some old drama in their life and I just happen to be there.

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    1. I live with that at work all the time Christine - someone else's drama that falls on me because I happen to be there and made the mistake of showing that I cared. I think some people just want to wallow in their sadness and perceived injustice - caring doesn't fix it and only sucks me dry - it's all a learning curve though.

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  25. Happy Birthday again Leanne! Those are great lessons you've shared, and thank you for the mention. I think we are always works in progress. I know I am! What a beautiful comment from your Mum - it got me all teary. I'm such a sook as I get older. I hope the between now and your next birthday is a wonderful one! :-) xo

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    1. Yes, Mum's comment was lovely Min - sometimes I wish I'd heard a lot more of that when I was younger - but we never say things like that to each other do we? It's so much easier to write it - and maybe that's one of the many blessings of blogging, we get to write what's on our hearts instead of bottling it up waiting for the perfect time.

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  26. Happy Blessed Birthday to you. Wonderful lessons that you have shared. We will never have it figured out. #MLSTL

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    1. Thanks Patrick - and yes you're so right - we are always living and learning new stuff. I hope I'm improving as I get older and the rough edges are gradually getting chipped away.

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  27. Hi Leanne, just popping back for #MLSTL we have a great crowd this week! Shared on SM xx

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    1. Thanks Sue - yes MLSTL is definitely something good that we're doing isn't it?

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  28. Happy Birthday! I always appreciate and learn from your writings, Leanne, because you are so honest and forthcoming. That's an honorable character trait and I admire it. I think we are always learning and growing as individuals, even through the tough times. So I look at another year older as another opportunity to learn new things, even when it hurts. At least I'm here to feel it. :)

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Candi - and yes, you're right about still being on this planet, still relatively healthy and relatively sane - there's a lot of people who don't have that privilege - do I guess I keep learning and hopefully not repeating the same mistakes again in the year ahead xx

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  29. Oh Leanne, isn't it wonderful that we are a work-in-progress until the day we die? I mean, yeah, sometimes it would be nice to say, "I'm done to perfection," but then how would you stay energized and engaged? Of course, there is a fine line between saying I am good enough just the way I am even though I'm still growing and constantly trying to improve from a sense of not being good enough. Sometimes that line still gets blurred for me. One thing I've learned this year (or maybe over the last couple of years) is that my worth is not measured by my accomplishments and that I need to step back from all the planning and even doing to just be once in a while. Thank you for sharing your journey and growth with us through your blog. I've said this before, but I feel like I know you IRL and that you are my inspirational friend. Have a lovely day, Leanne. #MLSTL

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    1. I love how blogging brings us close to people we would never meet IRL Christie - and you're definitely one of those people for me too. I think we are on similar paths - feeling like we're doing okay and then hitting a new snag and working our way through it. Life has pain as well as happiness and I think learning from that pain is what builds depth in us - sometimes I'd like to skip it all and stay shallow, but there's no challenge in wading in the shallows is there?

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  30. I'll be 44 tomorrow, officially "mid-40s" and relate to all of this. Love the quote. Cheers to us #anythinggoes

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    1. Happy birthday Jeremy! Another early November birthday person - I wonder what happened 9 months before for us all to be born around now? I think this stage of life lets us look at the bumps in the road more clearly and we have time to figure out how we can avoid them (hopefully) in the future - older and wiser my friend!

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  31. Such a beautiful, honest post. I feel I have grown a lot this year, especially spiritually. I can totally relate to being cut off. I don't know why, but that actually happens to me a lot. And most of the time, I don't even know I was cut off or what I did wrong. I wish people would just be honest and try to make things work before they resort cutting off relationships.

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    1. I couldn't agree more Amy - I find distance plays into it because you're not able to do a face to face conversation and things get misunderstood in writing - emails and text are wonderful in a lot of ways, but can be a nightmare when read through someone else's filter. It's made me realize how something tiny can cause immense heartache - and the repair definitely leaves scars and tenderness - I'm not sure I'll ever fully recover from it or be able to take any relationship for granted again - sad but true.

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  32. I love this post LeeAnn. "You can't carry it all. It's ok to rest." Yes. I am trying to learn that lesson right now.

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    1. I think the do-ers of the world need to remind ourselves of it regularly Jennifer - and I also need to remember that I can't fix everybody and everything - a hard lesson for me but so important.

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  33. I think you made some wonderful observations about life in general. I believe most of us have all experienced what you mentioned at sometime in our lives. Thank you for your openness.

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    1. Hi Lee - thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comment. And yes, I think we all hit those little hurdles in life - it's what we do with them that makes or breaks us isn't it?

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  34. First of all, Leanne, Happy (belated) Birthday :)
    I found myself nodding throughout this entire reflection piece. In 2015 my son was irate with me ... and I had no idea why. I was devastated. While we have both apologized and have a good relationship now, the scars remain and I am wary.
    Office drama (or for me, school drama) is so stressful. I've decided I have no desire to spend the rest of my days in this constant state of flux. I know I need to leave at the end of the year ... I just need to find the courage to hold my ground when I tell the administration.
    I would say you are definitely a year wiser ... and I hope this coming year is joy-filled as you grow more into the self-confident woman you are meant to be.

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    1. Hi Molly - isn't it interesting how it's our nearest and dearest that cause us the most heartache? I can't believe how easily a misunderstanding can escalate and how much our hearts can be hurt in the process. I've come to learn that we are always only a few words away from a rift and to be more and more circumspect with my comments and actions. I feel a bit like I'm walking on eggshells at times, but they hold the cards and if they choose to close the communication lines over a perceived offence then we're left in the cold. Scary stuff.
      I also wish you all the best and great courage for pulling the pin at the end of the year. I had to reduce from three days to two days a week to keep my head in my job. I was worried it would mean leaving completely - and I would have if I couldn't cut back. The mental stress is just not worth it - life is short and I want to be happy and relaxed - not dreading Mondays!

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