(Original Date: January 27, 2012 w/ added commentary June 2012) >>
2012 is many different things to many different people. For some, it is the year of the Dragon - a year of power. For others, it is apocalyptic - the end of the world. It seems that through these views it is either a year of faith or fear. My dad has always brought up the scripture that talks about how faith cannot reside alongside fear in a man's mind, one must leave. For me, I'm choosing to make it a year of faith - Dragon if you will. It's hardly three weeks into the year and I feel like my world has been completely turned over yet again. It's amazing how quickly your life can change, and what seems even more amazing to me is how you handle those changes.
The biggest change happened on the 1st day of the year. I lost my brother. The one brother I ever had. I used to tease him that he was my baby brother - as much as he hated it, I meant it out of affection. It was amazing to me how much you could grow to love and care about someone so immensely - and worry about them. Brandon and I were able to spend quite a lot of time together this fall and became, what I would call, very close. He would turn to me and we would talk about mistakes we've made and wanting to better ourselves.
Granted, I only knew him for a year and lived with him for even less. However, as we all were heavenly brothers and sisters - I believe that this life on earth allows us to rediscover those relationships and we are perfectly capable of feeling that brotherly-sisterly love, even if not by blood. Brandon and I had a different relationship from the rest of our sisters. Obviously I hadn't grown up with him, but I could liken our relationship to a great friendship blessed enough to also be family. Looking back I'm glad about the time(s) I've had with him. Some of my favorite memories involved the fact that he was usually my date to things. Haha Even when our parents got married, all of my sisters had their husbands/boyfriend and Brandon and I had each other - best date I could have asked for! THE BEST memory though, is one night last summer when our parents went out on a date and so did Claire. Brandon and I didn't want to sit around at home so we went on a bro/sis date to Mulligans and played mini golf and then went to Red Mango for frozen yogurt. We talked a ton and it was so FUN! I felt like I actually had a brother. Brandon has this amazing ability to love and accept everyone, and I was no exception. I think the reason we got along so well is that we never judged each other. We only supported and encouraged each other and THAT is why I love him and why I know that the day will come when we will see each other again and welcome each other with the best hugs we always had.
To lose him, it was a wake up call, and the hardest part of it all - is the missing him. I still expect him to walk through the door at some point or hear him playing music in his room - it has, however, made me extremely grateful for the time that I did have with him. I wish the whole world had had a chance to experience just a moment of his personality. The world would forever be a different place if that were so.
What I learned from his death is actuallly what I observed. I couldn't believe the hundreds of people that were at his funeral and the hundreds of lives he had touched. Not just for a moment, but had truly touched. People sincerely cared for and loved Brandon because he sincerely cared for and loved each of them - as individuals. It definitely has made me reevaluate my life and think of the legacy I would be leaving behind. The truth is that, even though I've come close before, I would never want to leave voluntarily from this world. I've seen and experienced the hurt that it leaves behind for everyone else. I do, though, hope that when my time does come, that others will be able to speak about me with love and pride. I want to die being proud of the way I've lived my life. And for that, I am continuing to try my best.<<
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Moving onto the rest of what has been going on in the last 8 months.... Like I said, there's a lot. As boring as I may believe my life is at times, in hindsight it is anything but.
I believe congratulations may be in order because as of today... I am 11 months, 1 week, and 5 days SOBER! Let me tell you, I never had a drinking problem, but I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it. For me, 11 months of sobriety is a big deal and everyday is an accomplishment. Not particularly because it is difficult to not drink, it's actually not too bad, but if I were to have even one drop - I would have to start all over again with "Day 1 of sobriety" and lose all the progress that I've made physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Granted, a drink now and then does sound good, but do the consequences sound worth it? If I've stayed away for this long, what would be the point in drinking now? Why live that lifestyle for the last 11 months if I'm just going to go back to it? Truth is, I'm not going back to it. The choices I am making in my life are exactly that, CHOICES. It's not that I CAN'T drink. It's not that I CAN'T have sex. It's not that I HAVE to go to church. I CHOOSE to do or do not. So, congratulations to me - I'm 11 months sober and not even 21 yet. Oh the irony... and fret not, I will definitely be celebrating the big 21st with drinks - they'll just be virgin and I'll be drunk on loving life! :)
So this year has definitely been another year of learning and growing. Honestly, it's hard to believe we're already 2/3 of the way through the year. Incredible how quickly this year has gone by - and that has been quite a blessing in itself. As big of changes that have been happening this year, home isn't the only thing changing. Even work has been an all new level of crazy. Something as simple as an employee leaving the business has made me second guess everything. It has become so sad to me that so many people lack good character nowadays and can be so deceitful to the few people that do have genuinely good hearts. So, I'm using my experiences as tools in becoming the person I want to be and filling my mind with the best things.
(Get ready for book reviews)This year I read a book titled, As a Man Thinketh. It is a short, easy read that has an incredible ability to cause one to re-evaluate men and our perception of self and others. It's amazing how our thoughts shape our circumstances, health, body, mind, spirit, achievements, visions, ideals, and ultimately our serenity. What surprised me the most was that at the time that it was suggested to me, it ended up defining an end to a toxic relationship, realizing that our thoughts were not in alignment to allow us both serenity and security. (Like I said, a learning year.)
The other book I dove into, Choosing Glory. Alright, my dear father had me read a chapter of it once upon a time, and I FINALLY got around to reading the entire thing - all by myself! I'm SO glad that I did, it opened my eyes to the kind of person I want to be, as well as the kind of person I want to be with (more on this later).
Latest read I'm cracking open? The Book of Mormon! I'm actually reading it cover to cover - and just about finished with 2 Nephi. Alright, doesn't so sound too impressive - but for me it's a huge accomplishment! Reading it in the past it was always this feat of trying to read this great spiritual doctrine. This time around, I'm reading it like a book - and the stories are amazing! It's awesome to me how you can grow to love the people and stories and how much more you gain from it. This is probably the best part of my life right now. I'm loving the gospel. I'm loving reading the scriptures and growing closer to my Heavenly Father.
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Well, there's a lot more I need to add, but rather than getting it all out here in one svelte swoop - I'm just going to be updating and blogging more regularly. I think the most important thing that needs to be said of me right now is that, I'm ready for more. I'm ready for the next phase of my life to start. I'm not sure what that is yet or in what form it will come - but I'm continuing to live my life to be worthy of whatever blessings are in store.
All I know is someday is on its way, and I'm going to "see things through".