It is the very last day of 2020. I feel a pull to reflect on the past year and make some grand statements about what all this means and all the changes I\’m going through (which are significant), but it feels super overwhelming to write about all that at the moment.
What I really came on here to say is that 2020 has been a monumental, difficulat, defining year in my life. It started out as the year I traveled across the world to experience an authentic Indian wedding and ended with my spouse coming out as a transgendered woman. Oh and there was a global pandemic that essentially has kept me (is still keeping me) locked up in my house for most of the year.
My life no longer looks the way I thought it was going to when I was younger. This really became evident based on my emotional reaction to so many of the Christmas cards I received from friends this year. Happy, smiling husband, wife and 2.5 kids in coordinated outfits wishing me and my family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Looking at them gives me this weird sense of disconnection, a reminder of a life unlived and a dream (that I once held so close to my heard) that will never come into fruition the way I thought it would. I don\’t know if it makes me \”sad\” as much as it makes me feel \”different\”. I\’m on a different path, my friends. One that (most likely) doesn\’t involve children. One that doesn\’t involve a husband (anymore). One that I would never have predicted despite years and years of obsessing about and worrying about my future.
I think the phrase is: When we make plans, God laughs.
For me, and for others, the destruction of the world I once knew actually began years ago. 2016 ushered in a political chaos that has been a constant dumpster fire ever since. Stress levels have been maintained at an all-time high as the world I thought I once knew and understood began crumbling around me. In 2018, my house followed suit and we had to do some major remodeling which took months and really disrupted everything. The end of 2018 was really hard for me between a major home remodel, my father getting sick and a complete work information overhaul that left me stressed in every arena of life. 2019 was supposed to be rest and recovery with an ultimate \”return to normalcy\” in 2020, or so I thought. (Hoped?)
2020 had other plans. A global pandemic forced me inside, not just physically in my house (but that too) but internally as well. With nothing much to distract me and keeping the anxiety at bay, the crashing reality of having to just sit in uncomfortable uncertainty without a real \”plan\” or solution to \”fix\” it has been challenging. I am naturally an extrovert. I have literally never been home as much as I have been this year. The days blend together in a blur. Anxiety is high and yet there is so much boredom as each day is a repeat of the last, ad nauseum. The stress and uncertainty of the outside world juxtaposed to the utter mundaneness of playing Animal Crossing for hours on end and walking my dog around the neighborhood. 2020 was both everything and nothing all at once — a whirlwind and a whisper. It was the best of times and the worst of times.
This year ended with my spouse coming out as a transgender woman and beginning her medical transition. I don\’t believe anything could have prepared me for this. As if my whole life wasn\’t falling all around me, I am now blindsided by a complete dismantling and restructuring of my understanding of my marriage. The life I had once dreamed up as a child is not the one I am currently living. It isn\’t my story. My story is not nearly as straightforward as that. My story is, for better and for worse, different.
For some people, 2021 may be a \”return to normal\” as vaccines become widely available and we are able to venture out in the world once again. For me, it\’s really the beginning of a new life trajectory, one that has far fewer expectations than the one I thought I was on previously. There are no real \”rules\” for me to follow, no guidebook to really tell me what to do or how this should look in 2 years, 5 years and 10 years down the road. I am allowed to create it and to discover it in a way I never thought of before.
What I came on here to say, is that how in 2021, I hope that I can expand myself and adapt to all the changes that are happening with me. I hope that I can begin rebuilding my life in a way that is most authentic to who I am. I hope that I can let go of the unlived life and be present in my actual life. I hope that I can appreciate my \”different\” story rather than pine for the \”normalcy\” I see in others.