Year Review: Lesson learnt

10887157_10154956531155487_901112483155752360_oThe year is almost over. I feel obligated, to myself, to write this. There are only a few hours left in this little part of the world, to get this done. Here goes…
It, 2014, was one of my most challenging years, and also one of the easiest—and the heights and depths to which I rose and sank have helped make this past year beautiful, and edifying. We need things every once in a while, whether internally authorized or external surprises, to shake us out of our comfort zone. I’ve certainly been shaken. I’ve learnt a lot, experienced a lot, and I’d dare say that my new knowledge and experiences have fostered within me deeper and greater wisdom…and a fuller sense of maturity-socially, culturally, academically, romantically, spiritually.
After returning to Trinidad and Tobago a few months ago, having spent the majority of my year in the UK, a few of my friends said that I’d changed a bit. I don’t quite think that I have, much… certainly not enough for them to really notice after a short meeting.
Perhaps though, the ‘little(?)’ things that have happened have had a greater impact on me than I’m willing or able to admit. I’m more aware and appreciative now, than I was before, of human experiences beyond my own. I’m also more aware of who I am, what I want, what I like, what I dislike, where I want to go and that I can successfully function even more independently than I previously did. I think that those things translate into me being a bit less socially and culturally awkward, a bit more empathetic, a bit more confident even. I think that I grew an inch taller on the self-esteem/-efficacy chart.
I earned my MPhil this year, I’m supposedly a bit smarter—at least on paper; I’m one step closer to being a respected academic. Honestly, it doesn’t feel as big a deal now as it did before I started. Still though, I am proud of myself, and am glad that I have that degree in hand. I think that I weigh a few pounds more in scholastic street cred.
My heart has been put through its paces this year; my nerves have proven that they can withstand greater levels of anxiety, worry, excitement, curiosity, anger, frustration, joy and an extended period of seemingly unrequited longing. My being is quite at ease now though; I am happy. I’m much more able now, than I was at the beginning of the year, to enjoy the love and tension of a relationship. I think that I’m much more adept at choosing appropriate reactions, emojis, emoticons and nicknames.
I have a stronger belief and faith in God, and I think, a closer spiritual relationship with God as well. I’ve read a great deal and explored some wonderful pieces of philosophy and ideology. In various ways I have a clearer concept of what/who I think God is, and it’s been propelled by reading some of the most contrary pieces of literature, and entertaining some of the most conflicting ideas (to my own) that I ever have. I end this year in an interesting conundrum of sorts though, in that my deepened sense of spiritual maturity is coupled with a higher degree of religious turmoil; and also with a reduced faith in the realness of Christ–if only temporarily. I’m seeking though, and it’s been a breathtakingly beautiful journey. I think that whatever my consciousness is, has grown closer to being aware of itself.
I guess that I have changed, but I hardly think that it’s a regression—even if it may appear or feel so in various ways. There’s only so much we are aware of at any one time; but I believe that our capacity for awareness, love, and for seeing beyond the illusion of our ignorance and biases, grow with time, experience and thoughtful vacations from our cultural, intellectual and physical comforts. There’s so much that our hearts and minds filter out to make life livable/peaceful, and I am grateful for that… but above all this year, I think that I’ve learnt (or, rather, had it reinforced) that there is a great beauty in turmoil. There is a great deal of wisdom and strength to be gained in confusion, discomfort, hurt, rejection, betrayal, loneliness, entertaining the idea that ‘I am wrong, biased and ignorant’, by hearing new stories, feeling new pain, meeting different people…being cautiously irrational or contrary and seeking greater peace through discomfort. It seems that it is in this place of turmoil that greater wisdom and truth lie; it seems as though the greatest learning occurs when we allow tension to arise, when we dare to think that our lived reality is an illusion upheld by privileged biases.
May God grant me the grace to seek, to discover, to learn, to find, to be wrong, to fall and rise again, to love, to become a little less ignorant… as I learn more of who I am, what life is and what ‘is’.