We’ve hit the end of the line folks. Another year draws to a close, and we can slam the book on the mistakes, regrets and indiscretions of the past 365 days.
Tomorrow, we start anew. Or, as the cynic might say, we start a whole new 365 days in which you can make new mistakes, regrets and indiscretions.
But I’m trying to be a bit more optimistic than that about the New Year.
In fact, my word for the year (you do know words for the year are all the rage, right?) is kindness. I didn’t set out to pick a word for the year (because they are all the rage, after all), but it occurred to me one day that maybe it would be good idea for me to have a word. And it further occurred to me that maybe that word should be kindness. Because I haven’t felt particularly kind this year.
Humor me while I diverge for a moment: When I worked as a cashier at our supermarket during my college years, I was a bit scandalized to realize the rudest people were little old ladies – the grandmotherly type. With the exception of one grandmother who had Alzheimer’s and hung on ‘til I was in 7th grade, my grandparents all died before I was born or when I was very young. So all I knew of grandmothers was what I saw in stories – sweet gray-haired ladies who made cookies and doted on everyone.
Well, here in my checkout lanes were ladies who looked the part but definitely were not acting it. They were demanding, indignant and oh so impatient.
My (perhaps wrong) theory about these women was that maybe you get to a certain point and you’re just done. You’re done smiling sweetly. You’re done doting on others.
You’ve done your time and now you just want the 19 year-old behind the register to hurry up, hand over your change and not squish your bread. Is that too much to ask?
Little old ladies aside…this sums up how I’ve felt the past year. I’ve done my time. I’ve been kind. I’ve been generous. Now it’s all about me.
The Year in Review
It’s funny to sit here now and think about how good life is when the year started out so horribly.
If you roll the dial back to January 2015, that’s when I bottomed out emotionally. I was 18 months post-Tom and feeling buried and abandoned in dealing with some serious kid issues. It’s the only time I ever thought to myself that it was a good thing we didn’t have a handgun in the house (as to why I didn’t seek help…that’s probably a whole other post).
But after struggling through that, life got better. One thing that made January so bad was I was expecting help that didn’t come through. In the grand scheme of things, it shouldn’t have been a big deal, but at that point in my life, it was. After crawling out of the black pit I was in, I promised myself to stop waiting for someone on a white horse to ride in and fix my problems. Low expectations mean low possibility of being disappointed.
In August, we took our family trip to Hawaii which marked a huge turning point in my life. It’s something I can’t quite explain, but those 10 days changed something fundamental within me. When we got back, I felt ready to stop surviving and start thriving.
I tend to think this blog is partially responsible for my shift in attitude as well. While I haven’t been very active here, I think it’s filling its “personal therapy” mission nicely and helping me process some of what’s been rolling around in my head.
We had a relatively smooth transition to the school year, did more travel in the fall and attended two weddings which did not make me cry (much).
Life feels normal most days although there is always that sadness brewing under the surface.
Tom would have turned 40 this year.
We should have celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary a few days ago.
He should be here to see The Force Awakens!
Some days I live in the past. And some days I cry over what we have lost.
But right now – sitting here next to our lighted Christmas Tree, debating whether chocolate could soothe a sore throat – the future seems like a good place to go.