The year is ending.
I think it’s probably more useful, around New Year’s Day, to reflect on the year that’s leaving us, instead of making lists of resolutions to burden the new year with expectations before it’s even begun. Maybe with the perspective gained from examining the good and the bad of the old year, we can approach the new year more constructively.
There was good this year. Much of it came out of my own efforts and decisions, and I can point to many of the joys of the year with a sense of accomplishment.
This year, I settled in at a new job where I never have to work on holidays, never have to skip lunch because I’m too busy to eat, and never have anyone yelling at me to work faster. I sometimes worry that the change was good for my blood pressure, but bad for my brain, who’s going soft without all that pressure to think fast and solve problems before someone dies. Everyone assures me I’ll soon have some opportunity to grow in the new place, and I look forward to starting that growth. I still miss parts of the hospital world. I can’t say I’ll never go back to the craziness, but for now I’m comfortable where I am.
This year, my husband and I went on a cruise so incredible that we’re going to do it again. We visited tropical islands and got sunburned and ate fancy cruise food. We got to touch dolphins and witness some of the best karaoke of all time. We had so much fun and met so many wonderful people and we’ve stayed in touch with many of them. I’m getting better at this “social” thing. Slowly.
We made tons of progress on the house. Paint, wiring, electrical and plumbing repairs, ripping out and replacing floors… we’ve been really busy. Of course, as it always goes with houses, we’re nowhere near done and new problems keep popping up as we fix others, but it’s more “our home” every day and we love it.
I’ve written more than ever this year, dedicating more time to my blog and to commenting on the work of other talented bloggers. I took a writing class, getting over some of my fears of meeting new people and sharing my work in public, opening myself up to criticism. I’ve gotten involved with Twitter and started following and interacting with some fascinating people, who may talk me into joining writing groups who can help me improve at what I love.
I tried new recipes. I finally took my sewing machine out of the box and made something. I played with glass. I visited home and saw my brother’s new place, and I spent a week in the Outer Banks soaking up the sun (and the rain). I got a smart phone. I lived through another hurricane.
I need to be honest with you. I had a very hard time being objective this week when I looked back at 2012. While I could find plenty of good in it to celebrate, it was also a very painful and difficult year for me. As the year ends, I find myself hurting, frustrated, and angry. There have been many tears.
When I examine my pain, though, I realize that everything that hurt me this year was outside of my control. I didn’t fail. I can’t look back and say that I didn’t try hard enough, wasn’t strong enough. That’s difficult for me to accept – when you’re brought up in an atmosphere where you’re reminded daily that you can achieve anything you want if only you try hard enough, it’s hard not to feel guilty as you face your failures.
Life isn’t fair. But life isn’t unfair, either. Life just is. Life is happening and you’re caught up in it and sometimes bad people win the lottery and good people get cancer. That’s very hard for me to come to terms with; just ask my therapist. The little girl inside me with a cape and a strong sense of justice is stamping her feet and yelling that it’s just not right, but my task over the next year will be to try and explain to her that the world doesn’t work that way. She’ll be really mad about it, and she won’t want to believe me, but there are some things that even the most super of superheroes just don’t get to have control over, and that’s important to understand. Of course, giving up any sense of control over anything that happens is equally disappointing, so hiding under the covers and giving up isn’t the answer either. Somewhere between dark fatalism and sparkly idealism is the world of rationality and acceptance. I’ll get there.