As 2016 starts come to a close, I can’t help but reflect on this past year. I’d like to report the year was filled with endless amounts of wonderful, but in reality it was a year with my biggest mistake, and the consequences that followed. A year of taking big risks, of diving into some deep childhood wounds, and sacrificing more than I’ll ever be able to regain. It was a year of learning.
The year started with optimism, I’d finally reached the senior ranks at my consulting firm, achieving a status most of us work our tails off for over decades. I’d met a guy in December that I’d had a crush on and by January it seemed mutual. I’d just come back from volunteering at an orphanage in Romania to bask on the beaches of Cancun just weeks later. By the end of January I was wandering the vineyards of northern California and life couldn’t be much better. I was at the top of my game and life was great. I was so happy and so fulfilled.
Though by February the scale would start to tip. The relationship I was in began to show signs of cracks and things became difficult. I’d like to say it didn’t impact other aspects of my life, but it did. Work started to become more difficult and all the joy and happiness I’d felt the prior few months began to dwindle. Though it wasn’t all bad as the month brought with it the sale of my house which allowed me a financial opportunity I’d be waiting years for – the chance to leave consulting behind and start building my dreams.
By March, my relationship was very challenging and the difficult times began to increase. Work had reached it’s all time low as well and all around I wasn’t happy. Everything seemed to pile upon each other as I looked around in other aspects of my life and realized New York was weighing on me. I could no longer ignore the mismatch in culture with my blissful life, because life was no longer a distraction. In an attempt to overcome the negative, I left my job and all it’s negativity behind and started on the path to building my dreams.
April and May were harder than I’d ever imagined. I started the spring with a renewed hope and a business plan I was incredibly excited about. Not only did the plan look feasible, it looked like it could have a really big payoff if I could launch it within a few months. Though with my relationship on the rocks, when I pitched the idea to my partner and he was appalled at how my venture would reflect on him, I had to set it aside in an attempt to save my relationship. Not having an income, putting my relationship above my business started to take a huge impact on my financial chances of creating a sustainable and profitable business before my savings would deplete.
By June, I’d explored a bunch of different alternatives for what business options I could pursue within the constraints of my relationship, but nothing was inspiring. Despite all I’d sacrificed for the relationship, it only became more difficult and more sacrifices needed – financially, time, friendships, and more. Everything was grading on me from all sides and I felt lost, like I’d given up my dream, and still everything was miserable. No matter how much I gave to my relationship and took from myself, it was never enough.
The following months would the most turbulent in the relationship and the most confusing emotionally. The difficulties of living in New York were no longer hidden by any sense of hope in the rest of my life, the extreme costs were weighing on me, the cultural differences, and everything seemed grim. With my relationship on the rocks, my partner wasn’t able to provide the support I needed, and gosh did I need a shoulder to lean on. Here I’d given up my consulting gig I’d worked my entire career for to follow a dream that I had to put on hold for the relationship, to say it was challenging is an understatement.
As the summer started to draw to a close, I knew I’d reached a point of no return. My relationship was holding me back from executing my dream and wasn’t providing me anything but turmoil. Everything was bad, all around, and something had to give before I went in to full mid-life crisis mode. The only thing I could think of was to leave New York, to leave the mismatch of the culture and the insanely high costs, so that I could build the business I’d been dreaming of before all my savings had been depleted. My relationship wasn’t at a point where my partner could be there for me and no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t seem to make anything better.
In search of a reset, a rebalancing, a way to put the downward spiral of the past few months to bed and set forward on an upward spiral, I took the money I would have spent on rent in New York for two months, closed down my apartment, and circled the world. The long bus and train rides were therapeutic at a level I could never have imagined, providing me the clarity and renewed enthusiasm to carry me forward. It allowed me the chance to process the turbulence of the relationship, the pain associated, and all I’d sacrificed to try to make things work.
So here I sit as 2016 comes to a close, reflecting on the challenges of the year and everything I learned. This past month I’ve spent in a new city, a new state, and a culture that fits my very being, that provides me the love and support I’d spent the entire year eagerly looking for. With the relationship constraints behind me, I’ve been able to refocus on building my dream, shutting down all the distraction businesses I’d created to make keep my relationship happy, as none of them were ever my dream. With only half the time and half the savings left, I’ve lost a lot I’ll never get back, but as the ever optimist I’m determined to make it work.
I wish everyone a wonderful 2017 and hope your year closes out with the love and hope that makes this world go around!