Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Recap

Well, I'm not much for looking backward (or forward, really) but I guess it is this day/evening each year when it is inevitable. At the first of the year, I wrote about 2011 being " A Year of Possibilities".

Let's take a look, shall we?

I used the "good stuff" more. Even just when it was I, by myself.

Treat my body with more respect?? Well, I totally blew that out of the water...but I will try... Lord knows, I will try.

I didn't get to meditate as much as I would have liked. I feel so much more whole when I do. Like in so many other instances, life keeps intruding.

I turned off the news A LOT this year. I used to be a news junkie, but found that switching the channel when people started yelling at one another made me less so. I switched from FoxNews (who now seems to be yelling all the time) to CNN. And if the telly is on in the mornings, it's now on Good Morning America, listening to fluff instead of manufactured "news alerts".

I don't think I had a glass of white zinfandel all year.

Did I have my friends more around me this year? I can't remember- a hazard that comes with aging.

My alcohol consumption went WAAAYYY down this year...but I did explore some great wines, and- as a consequence- did have more "chardonnay giggles"--heck, I even went to New Zealand and Australia and LEARNED to DRINK Chardonnay.....

One thing I do think I accomplished was looking people in the eye more. Asking them -and really MEANING it- "How are you?" And then, actually stopping to LISTEN. It was eyeopening- especially with store clerks. Actually, answering their tossed-off question "how are you"-- with something other than "fine"--and then returning the question to THEM and looking them in the eye and anticipating a response provoked more smiles in this year than anything else I did. Try it.

Did I finish the cookbook? I'm working on it, I'm working on it.

So--as I sit here with a fresh cup of coffee- what did I think of this past year?

I survived.

It wasn't the greatest year of my life. But it wasn't the worst.

I learned to live alone. Yes, I know Alix was here-and when I got down, that was such a comfort. But for the first time since I was a junior in college, I was single. I woke alone. I slept alone. I went to parties alone. I dined alone. I traveled alone.

I have never been "on my own" really. I married six weeks after I graduated college. I've always cherished my "alone" time- making a point to draw a difference between "being alone" and "being lonely". And, by my nature, I am a loner--a solitary character, content with keeping to myself in the company of books, music and my own imagination. This year, I have learned to make friends with being lonely sometimes. I have learned how to cope with it- how to cage it, how to corral it, how to manage it- but above all, how not to be afraid of loneliness.

I appreciate my family more. Maybe because I seem to have spent more time with them, traveling to Louisiana, or maybe it was the addition of my cousins on our summer family cruise. Or, maybe I am simply more sensitive to relationships, post-divorce. Maybe I have come to value those special ties of family more deeply. And, of course, I still like to remind my friends that they are my family--the family I got to pick.

In the past year, I have come to understand the Victorian concept of a mourning period. In a real sense (as the ever-wise Susanne pointed out), divorce is a death...and with it comes a period of grieving and change.

I worked on my photography-and with the help of some great teachers-have reawakened a passion that got lost somewhere in my teens.

I sold some artwork- needlepoint canvases, jewelry and photographs. (Yes, IRS, you will get your pound of flesh. Ah, if only the WOULD take pounds of flesh....)

I saw some amazing places in 2011- I travelled to New Zealand, barely avoiding a devastating earthquake in the process. I experienced summertime in February in Australia and met an internet friend in Prague, of all places. I returned to Russia-still not quite understanding why I feel so drawn there. I strolled the streets of Stockholm and had a martini in a glass made of ice. In Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens, I watched with tears of laughter in my eyes as my daughter and her beloved cousins linked arms and, skipping away toward the amusement park, broke into song..."We're Off to See the Wizard".

I watched as my daughter became more independent and my son became an adult. I stopped myself from dispensing advice to them on nearly every occasion and watched as they made mistakes. I watched them learn. I watched them grow.

Maybe the best thing I can say about 2011 is that I have learned to stop-and look-and appreciate. To realize- really understand- that this thing called "life" is a journey, not a destination. That it is the things that we do NOT plan that make up the richness of our lives. That it takes courage to choose to live life. That everything is impermanent.

And to smile because it happened.


pakarang said...

Very enjoyable summary of 2011 - wish I could ever find the spirit to finish mine!

Muhammad Tariq Mehmood said...

good efforts