Thursday, December 31, 2009

The List

For my entire life, I've wondered what it is about changing a calendar that gets people so worked up. Why does a year ending make such an impact on the world? Shouldn't, by extrapolation, a month ending hold at least 1/12 the excitement, yet we completely ignore the new month. Only when a particular day is monumental do we actually celebrate the beginning or end of it. Why is a year such a magical period of time? We reflect on what we've done, we plan for the year ahead, and there is a sense of closure and beginning that we all seem to feel. I've never understood this and I try not to get carried away with the sentimentality of a passing year and the start of a new one. It's just a year. It's just a number. Right?

How could I be so different from everyone else? Maybe I should try to join the sheep, make it meaningful, review my year, resolve to make the next one better, and stay up late celebrating the changing of the calendar.

Okay, let's give this a try.

I keep saying that 2009 was a bad year, and mostly it was for me, but there were some highlights that were truly special and they are as follows:

    Hair is purple. Purple is good.

    We have a new director at the library and peace has finally settled upon us in a way I haven't experienced in this building in 17 years. For me, work is the one place I go where I feel I'm at the top of my game, where I am my most confident, and where I feel most in control of myself and my destiny. To have peace there has been a blessing and a salvation for me.

    I've cultivated a very special relationship with one of our new security guards, Sarge, who is feeding me stories of his career in the army, opening my eyes to things I didn't want to see, and giving me a greater understanding of military life, and the war. This has fostered a fierce hunger to read more about it, and I'm currently looking into doing volunteer work that's supportive to the soldiers deployed. Now I understand how war can be regarded as "romantic" by some, if just because of the passion involved that motivates someone to risk their life for things I take for granted everyday. Heroes are romantic. And I see the heroes among us more clearly now. This has changed the way I look at soldiers and veterans.

    In April, I went somewhere new and did something I've wanted to do for many years. I was surrounded by heaps and heaps of some of the most beautiful creatures this planet is fortunate enough to host: butterflies!

    Ann and I have grown quite close, and in her I see parts of myself that have long been buried. Together we've grown into a friendship that has more unconditional and unwavering support, compassion and understanding than I ever thought possible. The only person I understand better is my brother.

    Someone who challenges me constantly threw me a safety net and I've been able to go farther, do more, and trust more than I ever have before.

    Friends I had let go of have found their way back to me and we are rebuilding stronger, better relationships than before. But it's going to take a long time to get there.

    I learned that there are very few things in life that we have any control over. Life, health, success, etc., all illusions of control. Yet, I woke up one day in May and decided not to let the aforementioned obstacles dictate the shape of me, and have lost 52 of the unhealthy pounds that years of steroids and depression from being sick gave me. It was slow going, and people who frequently see me don't realize the difference until I whip out the picture of myself taken one year ago, which I always carry in my purse, and then it's obvious. Watching my body transform has been awesome.

    I've spend one solid year not speaking to my mother and it's been delightful.

    My brother is the only family I feel I have left, and our relationship has strengthened to a point where we can rely on one another more than anyone else.

    I've gone mostly organic, and though it costs me a fortune, I feel like I'm fighting death and cancer with every use, which is empowering.

    I took a wild trip, alone, to a place most people begged me not to go, and it changed me in ways I still struggle to articulate. It's one of the few things I've done recently that I am fiercely proud of.

    I fell deeply, madly, wholly in love with a burro named Javier, and I would've given up everything in my world to be with him if I thought for one second that he felt half of what I did. This is how I fall in love. Frequently with animals. Rarely with people.

    Cell phones: they got me! *falls down dead* Not a highlight, but a monumental event worthy of The List.

That's my year of highlights. As for resolutions, I can't do it. I'd like to meet more of my goals from this list, continue with my highlights from this year, and just live life to the best of my ability, which are neither new or inspired by the calendar year.

Happy New Year. Happy New Month. Happy New Day. We should celebrate them all.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Decade--a clean slate of ten more years.
PS I STILL want a Javier. I will ride him to work and feed him carrots.

Anonymous said...

52 lbs? You rock! I'm using that as inspiration to quit paying the gym I'm NOT going to, signing up at another closer to home, and hiring another trainer to keep me honest.
VA sends.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way about New Year's celebrations. "Another successful lap around the sun...wahoo?" Not that my year has been bad, but I don't get the importance people place on that one particular turning point either.