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2014: The Best Year of My Life Yet

Early last year, I said 2014 is the worst year of my life yet. Those words were said out of despair – I was going through some financial challenges at the time, and an eight-year relationship just came to a sudden, unexpected end.

As the months went by, I realized just how wrong I was to say those words. 2014, in fact, turned out to be the best year of my life yet.

I took ownership of my life.

I didn’t see it until it was over, but the relationship with the Ex held me back from what I could be on my own. When I was still with him, my life was in limbo. I expected to be uprooted from my country to be with him in Arizona. Thus, I couldn’t make any serious decision about anything, especially about my career and future investments, because I felt any such efforts would be wasted once I fly away to be married.

It’s not because I fully expect my husband to provide for me; I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. It’s more like I’ll have to play by a different set of rules when I fly to Arizona. I don’t really know how freelance writing works there, and what use investing in businesses or property in the Philippines would be to me if I can’t oversee them personally? So, I didn’t feel up to owning my career or taking steps towards building a second income that would be based on where I was located then.

The relationship’s ending forced me to make serious changes and take full ownership of my life. I had no choice. There is no Arizona, Arizona was all a lie. I have no one else to rely on but myself.

 

 

So I focused on my career and stopped doing things like playing MMORPGs because it reminded me too much of the games the Ex and I used to play together. And boy, it paid off. Within a few months, I was able to double, even triple, my monthly income.

And it’s nice. I could afford to buy nice things for myself. I was able to travel a couple times with my mother and with friends in 2014, and I intend to make it a habit to travel at least twice a year from now on. A friend from high school invited me to invest in her clothing business, and I just might take up the offer once I have the money needed.

I got more creative with my free time.

One of the gifts that a breakup will give you is free time. I had loads of it. I devoted some of it to work, and some to the hobbies I’ve been neglecting.

When I was a kid, I was rather known among my peers for my skill in crochet. I even won an award in the crocheting event at a school home economics competition. However, I got tired of it and didn’t touch my hooks for at least ten years. Because I didn’t have anyone taking up my free time, I had time to take up crochet again. I learned a few advanced techniques that made my work appear more presentable.

I also learned how to knit. Knitting is more fun and relaxing than crochet, and I managed to make a few beginner garments and accessories, some of which ended up as gifts to friends.

 

Entrelac Knitted Pouch for iPad

My first attempt at basketweave/entrelac knitting – a pouch for an iPad.

 

And, wow, I also managed to tick more books off my reading list. In recent years, I was only able to finish three or four books a year, and that’s dismal for a self-proclaimed book lover like me. By the end of 2014, I read around a dozen books. Not bad, but still far from the way I used to devour books in my late teens and 20s.

I made the most of being a single woman.

What the Ex and I had was a long-distance relationship. It can get very lonely, but when you’re committed to someone else, there’s no way seeing other people could be justified, no matter how very little you physically see your partner in a year. It’s simply cheating, and I am no cheater.

I allowed myself to grieve the end of the relationship for a month, and then I forced myself to go out and meet other people. It turned out to be fun. I never really went through the casual dating experience when I was younger; I only had long-term relationships with a view towards marriage. It felt a bit odd meeting guys for casual dates in my mid-30s, without any expectations, but I am happy to have finally gone through it. It was a strangely liberating experience, to be perfectly honest.

I learned that hope springs eternal.

I thought my prospects of a family of my own ended with my breakup. I firmly believed I wouldn’t find a decent man to fall in love with again, and since I’m already in my mid-30s, it’s going to be difficult for me to conceive. I was resigned to a life of singlehood, and I could be content with it because I already have a nephew and a niece to dote on.

As it turns out, I am not destined for spinsterhood. An old flame from many years ago came back into my life, and the flame burned anew. While I am very much willing to talk about him, he deserves more than a paragraph in a blog post. We became officially engaged during the holidays.

The year 2014 started on a heartbreaking note for me. But by the end of it, I was singing an entirely different tune. If I were to live 2014 again, I would choose to have it unfold exactly the same way. It was the best year of my life yet, and I look forward to better years ahead.

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Anna Sibal-Gonzaga is a freelance writer based in the Philippines. She likes reading books and watching movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, fantasy and historical genres. She is also a casual gamer and an all-around nerd.

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