Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Adios 2011

I probably should have realized, when the year started with two months of debilitating back pain, that 2011 would be a rough one. Was this the body's way of preparing the mind for what was to come? Hospital visits. Crushing professional disappointments. The loss of our sweet, sweet Inez.

Relativity aside -- no, I'm not one of the Chilean miners or Japanese earthquake survivors. I'm not even one of the affordable-housing tenants in whose interest I spend my working hours -- this was the toughest year of my life. So I look ahead to 2012 with buoyancy and relief. Ready to say good-bye to a rotten year, light an unforgiving calendar on fire. Ready to breathe in the crisp January air, knowing it has put December, and the eleven months before it, to bed.

So . . . how to set the ship right for the coming year? How to lay the groundwork for happier times? Of course there are things I'll never control. There may be hurdles, disappointments, aches and pains I can't get out of the way of.

But there is also this: If there is nothing else I do well in the world (and recent history may bear this out; I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever be a competitive job candidate again, if maybe, after 20+ years of ennui and vain searching, I may have hit the apex of my career), it's to make something out of nearly nothing.

- Homemade soup
- Bread pudding
- A wardrobe from thrifted odds and ends
- Memorable weddings for friends and strangers
- A comfortable home of garage-sale finds
- Random detritus out of fabric scraps
- A puppy fit for adoption after a rough start in the world

Ok, it's a working list, so give me a break :-).

But this may be my year to stop being aspirational and learn to make the most of what I have. To start looking sideways instead of up. To see what windows might open in spaces of turbulence or vague dissatisfaction.

How might I focus on the rewards of my job, for example (flexible schedule, fair salary, voluminous time off) and not its many punishments? How to translate those perks into lucky charms to hang on the coming year? Where is my white space, and how best to fill it?

I've got some ideas percolating, and they require the cooperation of many floating bits of matter. Some is controllable, some not. So I need a good dose of karmic good luck (which means I need to start believing in karmic good luck -- not likely). But I could use a little boost, that's for sure. Not a winning lottery ticket, mind you. These aren't stretch goals. I'm specifically avoiding stretch goals this year. But I need a few pieces to fit together, so if 2012 were a simpler puzzle than its predecessor, I'd gladly be the first to open the box.


Berdawn said...

A very grounded take on what was a difficult year and a very hopeful approach to 2012. I was moved by your idea of looking sideways and not up!

Adriane Harrison said...

I think you're on to something. Sometimes after a tough year, the best recovery is to aspire to stability and good health. Having experienced an terrible year in 2009, I simply hoped for a smoother ride in 2010. Luckily I was rewarded with exactly that - a mostly stable string of months where I could catch my breath. Then 2011 came, and while it wasn't perfect, it was a year where I could aspire again after regaining stability the year before. I was in a better frame of mind for disappointments or setbacks because of the stability of the prior year. And - at the final moments of the final day, I can say that 2011 went pretty well.

So, for you in 2012, I wish you stability. In health, work, and emotions. An R&R year, if you will. Then watch out 2013, because you'll be ready....

Rosemary said...

Raising a glass to you, dear Christy, with the sincere wish that 2012 at the very least gives you a break, and at the very best rewards you in spades for what you endured last year.

leslie said...

Sorry I did not know last year was the worst of your life. I like Adriane's hope for a smoother ride in 2012. I'll throw my positive thoughts into that pot as well. You're beautiful, and good-hearted. Keep on truckin, CP!