I had no great expectations for 2010. My goal was to stay alive, keep a roof over my head and hang on to my job. My wants were few. I wanted to be content if not joyous; I wanted my family to be happy and healthy. I wanted to write and hoped I would write something good enough to submit. I wanted to be there for everyone who needed me and more than anything, I wanted the boys I knew in Afghanistan, sons of my friends, to come home- alive.
I never promised myself to eat healthier, exercise, save money or try to have more tolerance for the unfortunate dimwits of the world. I fervently hoped to keep the chin level water from getting to my nose. (Is that where the “chin up” phrase came from? ) Based on that criterion I was successful.
I thought a lot about the world and the people in it; about bigotry, suppression, control, censorship, freedom and the lack thereof. I thought about politics in a different light, a global light and not just our little corner of the world. I read more books in the last six months of 2010 than I had in the last three years – books about different cultures and social issues. I weaned myself from frustration and censorship until the cord was severed clean and said good-bye to seven years of my online life. I thought about women in other countries who are murdered or maimed for looking at a man, or children who beg on the streets for food.
I wondered why after eight years Iraq is still not on its feet and why after nine years Osama Bin Laden is still able to hide in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I stressed about social issues closer to home too. I worried about no health insurance and my own inability to afford even when I had two jobs. I worried about homeless people and wondered why it is we are so compassionless towards so many of them. I wondered a lot about a country divided along party lines and like sheep to the slaughter following the dictates of the left or the right no matter how thoughtlessly stupid. I worried about kids not learning to read or write or think for themselves because they are so busy learning to pass a national test so their teachers can keep their jobs.
Some things left me as perplexed as always. Why people beat and /or kill their children, why people are rude to one another, why the courts are jammed with frivolous lawsuits and why the mentally ill can’t get help. Why a city, county, or country doesn’t have to balance its budget like a business and why all accounting is done with smoke and mirrors. I wondered if the economy was going to get worse before it gets better and I wondered if I could eek a few more hours out of the day to get things that needed doing done or get second job if needed.
As always, I wondered about God. I wondered why so many of His believers are sure their version of His existence is the only one that is right and I wondered how he feels about people killing and maiming in His name.
The saddest thing that happened this year was that my old dog Smokie died. But he gave us thirteen great years and the most unconditional love. The best thing that happened is that my family and friends are in good health. Oh, we have had our ups and downs, bruises and bumps, but we’ve survived to tell the story. I never forget how lucky I am to have the family and friends I do.
This weekend I am cleaning house. I’m cleaning closets and drawers and tossing or donating old clothes, shoes and purses. I’m cleaning the kitchen cabinets and dumping old spices and last bits of anything. I’m going to tackle my office and go through all the bills and figure out who I can pay and who has to wait a while longer. I am going to comb through the Writer’s Market book and find a publisher who might like my work- then actually submit.
In 2010 I tread water for 365 days. 2011 will start out cleaner and with some expectation of success by my standards if not yours. Not only will I keep my head above water, I will swim upstream like the strongest salmon. It’s not about resolutions for me- more like a legacy. If I kick the bucket this year or next, I don’t want anyone to be able to say- she was okay with status quo. I don’t want anyone to think I ever gave up on anything or walked away defeated- If I ever walked away it was in victory. If I chip away at some years and steam roll others, I always do my best to make a difference and influence others to do the same.
Happy New Year to my family and friends, without whom– it would be no year at all.