I don’t like looking back, but there is an old and very wise saying in the Philippines that says Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan (he who does not look back to where he came from will never reach his destination). It took me years to makes sense of that because I found myself in constant motion, moving from one place to another, never having the opportunity to set down any roots. And I see it now among many friends and acquaintances in their 60s and 70s who have reached the age of reckoning, realising how much they have screwed up along the way, refusing to admit mistakes of the past, and thereby forfeiting any chance of happiness for the future. I don’t want to belong to this group.

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Two paths ©MTHerzog 

In several previous entries I have written about my disdain for end-of-the-year letters, accounting and recounting the achievements of the past 12 months. I do things on a monthly and weekly basis now, learning to live more in the present, learning from the past, and searching for a destination. Small steps, often times painful, because moving forward means letting go of a lot of reins and chains that held me in place.

Letting go of emotional and mental baggage is a lifelong project if you ask me, because it entails looking closely into your own soul, exploring why you are the way you are, and assessing all the accusations people have thrown your way, adding to the many chinks in the armour. Loss of friends and friendships is just as devastating as death, but must also be embraced and accepted in order to heal and move on. I am a clinger in more ways than one, and I hold on until there is viable option left anymore, finding emotional, mental and social “tape-and-glue” tools to make things work. But when I do let go, there is no turning back. The break is permanent.

Who am I kidding? the previous paragraph reads beautifully in black and white, but is one of the most difficult challenges I am facing. I have been given the task to take three steps back and mourn the death of my parents properly and entirely, because with the roller coaster of events that followed their deaths, I never gave myself time to grieve, because the relocation and then divorce followed close behind, among other things.

As I trudge along my path, those who previously walked beside me have picked up their own pace and moved on. Our paths have reached crossroads and are headed in completely different directions. So yes, I look back at the bridges burned this past month alone and take a deep breath. My life is still about heavy losses that I am struggling to deal with. On the other hand, January has also been full of surprises. My therapist raises an eyebrow each week when I return with new developments because I am moving at warp speed again.

There is still one week left to the month, but so far I managed
1. to get myself into therapy (and the irony of the matter being that once I actually got started, two days later the emergency psychiatric clinic that I had called over Christmas also called me to say they had a space for me!);
2. adopt a new (old) cat and give her a new lease on life;
3. start a new job.
Yes, I am back in the corporate world and have to catch up with all the new software. So from unemployed, to self-employed, I am now juggling two jobs, two professions, and two cats.