2011 started off with some mighty mountainous tasks, and Sisyphus himself would have had a little chuckle as the boulder held the upper hand. But the months plodded along all the same and there were unexpected highs (Hello – a big scholarship to college for my son!), seemingly unending lows (Can you spell Recessionary Bank Balance?), and everything in between (Trust me on that one).
As for the in between in general, I try to follow my own advice which includes “never assume.” But more specifically, it involves saying yes to every plausible opportunity to expand my world. And a few that appear to be less plausible.
That approach requires pushing myself in directions that challenge me, continuing to write daily (even when tired), and recognizing that an attitude of “yes” doesn’t negate the requirement for no or the recognition of tangible and occasionally daunting obstacles.
But one yes may lead to another and another and then a passel of yeses that just might lead to a romantic surprise – to my astonishment! And with the odds (seemingly) stacked against women at midlife in that department, I consider this an extraordinary and precious gift.
Let this be among my irrepressible mantras: May I take nothing and no one for granted, and appreciate each good and ordinary moment – however long they may last.
My Sons, My Heart
The accomplishments of my younger son are what I will recall most in the first half of 2011: simply put, the college countdown. The young man in question persevered through his treacherous IB program, applied to nine colleges (!), prepared separate art portfolios for each (grueling and expensive), and was ultimately accepted to a school where he seems swamped but content. And then there’s that scholarship, thankfully, the prelude to which was nine separate financial aid application processes for the schools he applied to.
Yes, to do with the single parent dramas I’ve lived these many years. No, don’t ask.
What more can I say except that I’ve done my job, and provided the support system that is the job of the parenting profession.
My elder is another story (and always has been); he is a global kid, a wise head, and is off to Switzerland in a few weeks to study through much of next year. He seems comfortable in his skin, excited about his opportunities, and ready to rock ‘n roll his way through Europe – and I can only imagine there will be multinational excursions and a few mash pits in the mix. He’s lived the European life before, but not for such an extended period.
And each of my boys will ring in the New Year with friends – and I hope, proud of their own accomplishments, and looking forward to the future.
Honoring Ourselves, Each Other, Our Dreams
As for me, following the hectic holidays I’m hoping for a small amount of downtime (though, as usual, I’ve yet to arrive at how or when). And I’m determined to put the proverbial nose to the grindstone in pursuit of both necessity (“Will Write for Food”) and dream (“Will Write for Passion”), and honoring the necessity of my dreams.
May I add that this year has continued to bring extraordinary spirits into my life through this medium?
Here I have found a community of readers and writers whom I appreciate more than I can express, and these hastily written words hardly seem sufficient. There are voices that are now well-known to me, like Kristen and Kitch, like Cathy and Bruce, like Tish and Gail and Lisa. There are new voices like Barbara and William, like Wolf and Pauline, like Kelly and Stacy and Team Gloria – and too many of you to mention by name but each of you, a treasure.
I toast you and what you continue to teach me with your eloquence and honesty, your open and questioning minds, your compassionate intentions, your savvy viewpoints, and simply by showing up – bravely. It seems to me that showing up is a great deal, and leads to opening up from which we all make progress in seeing our universal similarities, our tender vulnerabilities, and ultimately, our individual and collective strength.
Your 2011 in Review? Your Hopes for 2012?
But enough about me. What about you?
- Did you achieve something huge in the past year – even if “ordinary” to others? Something unexpected, or the result of years of sweat and heartache?
- Did you close a chapter or embark upon another? Perhaps several of each, with lessons learned?
- Are you struggling in the wake of sorrows and still trying to make your way through?
- Your 2011?
- Your plans for 2012?