First, the most immediate was the loss of my young dog Coal. I honestly don't know how anyone gets over the emptiness when you love 'em so deeply. Just writing about it makes me gush tears and I suspect it will always be that way. After talking with some people I admire and who have gone through a loss, I've accepted that this is just how it's going to be and that's okay.
However, it seemed to bring out either the nasty in people (gossiping about the situation around Coal's death) or the softness (thank you to those who cried, and continue to cry, with me).
On the other hand, the loss has made me appreciate what I do have. It sounds so darned cliche, but I think that's a natural part of life. Some of the things I've continued to work on over the year:
* spending more quality time with my husband, family, friends and dogs.
* focusing on my home & my relationships
* taking better care of myself (I'll always struggle with that)
* easing up a bit on the tough expectations I have for myself
* not giving a darn what others say, even if it's pure fiction
* and most importantly trying to remember that if I don't have anything nice to say, either say nothing or say it politically correct
I've been successful in many ways and of course there are other things I still need to work on...(I won't be bored in 2009!)
I've learned a few lessons this year that have hardened me a bit, maybe in a good way and then again, maybe not. I've learned that:
* some people are just mean. Strange to say, but there are some people who are just so unhappy with themselves, that they feel it's okay to "share" their ugly side in an attempt to make themselves feel better. My husband has told me to say "Who gives a flying f*uck" and mean it. I'm still trying to embrace that and certainly hope to get better at it!
* Next, egos run ramped in some places. Yeap, goes back to the fact that some folks just aren't happy with themselves and find it easier to blame others vs. taking responsibility for their own actions. This year I've met an out right bully who is so tainted with hate from their upbringing that they systematically take it out on those around them in an attempt to over come their own feelings of worthlessness. No logic in trying to sort that one out and I do have to thank another soul for pointing out that it's their issue, not mine. Nonetheless, it's been a lesson.
* Here's a news flash, did you know that some folks are self-centered...LOL? Now this won't apply to everyone, but boy do a few select really stick out. These folks are so vain, they actually think our actions are because of and ABOUT them. Thank goodness they're not my friends!
On the other hand AND on a more positive note, I have met some of the most wonderful people.
* I have an incredible husband who, despite my qualities and faults, loves me and we can joke about anything (including our funny quirks). I feel safe with him and have realized over the last year and a half of marriage that he really does know me (good points and bad) and STILL loves & accepts every part of that with a smile.
* Newsflash #2, I do understand my husband, quirks and all, and still love him. Since he's an engineer and I can be more of a creative, he's more laid back and I'm a go-getter, this can be a challenge, but it's a good thing. We really do compliment one another and we've now made it through several remodeling projects, a near death experience (he dropped a tree on my head), a car accident (my fault), 2 new dogs, a death and family events (you have to know his family
* I am also grateful that I have some of the strongest, clear-minded, caring and loving friends and family. They're in the WOW category and always brighten my day! I love my Selthofer Family, from CA to WA and beyond, you guys are the best.
* I have such fun students who allow me to be a part of their life and development with their dogs. That's an honor I hold dear to my heart.
* It goes without saying that I have incredible dogs with such distinct personalities. I've learned a little about myself from each one of them. Sometimes I haven't like what I've seen and more often than not, they bring out a side of me I didn't know existed.
In 2009, I'm going to be 40. I'm not sure I ever saw me making it to this age, but I have to admit that I'm looking forward to it and in some way I'm proud to be reaching this new decade. I have so much around me that is good and those icky things above are things I recognize, but chose not to incorporate in my life. That will be my new attitude and as compared to my younger years, I'm not going to apologize for it. Basically, you either like me for who I am or take a hike since my job on this earth is not to ensure you like me, but to ensure I'm being the best person that I am capable of.
To those whipper snappers with an attitude, they can take a hike. To those loving folks who just want to grow with me, come on along for the journey as it's sure to be a hoot!