Another NYM year is rapidly coming to a close. On Friday at 9:18pm I’ll turn 34. And that, of course, means that there is a whole brand new NYM year to look forward to. Each year prior to my birthday, I like to take stock of my year. What have I accomplished? What challenges have I faced? How did I deal with the challenges? What goals did I not meet? In what areas have I progressed/regressed? And on and on and on.

The year 2005 marked a long overdue career change for me and I became a corporate consultant. By the time my birthday rolled around in July, I was facing the impending completion of my first contract in the fall, I was dealing (badly) with Mr. Unavailables, my family relations were tenuous, and I was still completely clueless about what direction to take my future career. The beginning of November marked the lowest point of the year. I was unemployed, interviewing for job after job with no luck, one of my little dogs needed a tumour removed and the prognosis was questionable, and my personal debt rose to an amount that nearly exceeded that which I had completely paid off prior to 2001. But there was light at the end of the tunnel.

It was this seemingly never ending trail of tragedies which taught me the most valuable lesson that I have so far learned. To have faith in myself and in the general order of things, meaning, that if you do your best to work through your issues, to surmount obstacles, to free yourself from problems, that everything will work out for the best.

I had been killing myself during the month of October to find a new contract by November 1st. Interview after interview, I was turned down or put on hold. My pet needed surgery which was scheduled for the second week of November and it was another two weeks after that before he could be left at home alone. There is no way that I could have started a job November 1st. As it worked out, I received an offer for a new contract the same day that my dog had his staples removed, and I began the new job November 30th. As I look back, I realise that it couldn’t have worked out any other way. Rather than trusting that things would work out for the best, I spent nearly a month and a half giving myself an ulcer.

Thankfully, I am again making the money that I was pre-9/11. Although I have a long way to go before I can honestly say that I’m managing my money well, I made a bold financial move and paid off all of my debt and am starting over.

On the man front. I finally realised last fall that the reason I have trouble letting go of bad relationships with men is because I am unable to forgive myself for allowing them to treat me like crap. As a result of reading Baggage Reclaim and the blog of our illustrious Editor in Chief, NML, I was able to realise that I am addicted to Mr. Unavailables (the subject of which has inspired her latest site) because I am a commitmentphobe. In an effort to change this destructive pattern, I went on a dating hiatus at the beginning of 2006. Anyone who’s read this column knows that my dating hiatus has been a partial success. Old habits die hard!

Thankfully, over the last twelve months, I have finally been able to identify a career direction. For years I felt as if I had been wandering around blindly with no direction. However, over the last few years I have made much effort to find my path which has included joining networking organisations, consulting career counsellors, blogging, taking aptitude tests, reading, attending classes, and talking to anyone and everyone who didn’t tell me to shut the hell up about it.

The most important lesson that I’ve learned this year, and which has turned out to be the greatest lesson of my life so far, is to believe in myself. Yes, that sounds trite and cliché, and for years I went around telling people that I didn’t need anyone else because I had all of the resources I needed within myself. And I would tell other women the same thing about themselves. I knew it was true, but I admit that I was only paying lip-service to the concept. However, through some of the personal experience above, and through reading and trying to educate myself, I know understand on a very deep level that it is indeed true. I have all of the power within myself to accomplish anything that I wish if I’m willing to put forth the energy to make it happen. Yes, I continue to be haunted by many of my demons. And I have a lot of work to do in order to learn and to understand how to harness and use this power that I know is within me. Hey! No one is perfect!

Though I continue to struggle in some areas, I am leaving this quickly fading NYM year a happier, wiser, and more hopeful woman. If, in another year, I can say that I have learned even half as much, I will be able to, again, consider myself a success.

See you next year Tuesday with the first column of the new NYM year.

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