Well, despite our best efforts to delay the inevitable, Christmas came and went and now 2012 is breathing down our necks. Yet even with all the insanity of the holidays, The Universe kept chugging along, blissfully ignorant of our late-night mad-dash for deals, panic over the price of the latest toy/gadget/rocket ship, and general jack-assery that comes with yule-ing our tide.
And that, ladies and gents, should make us all feel a whole lot better about Life and Things. I mean, let’s be honest: 2011 was a wild, wacky year. Wall Street was bipolar, we were/are at war, we had more protests at home and abroad than you could shake a stick at, we endured a Kardashian vomiting all over the “institution of marriage” we had to admit that this is the final season of Chuck, and a million other things that make us want to stare at The Universe and say, “Oh come on! Really?!”*
But buried within all the doom and gloom splattered across the TV were also a lot of bright points. There was the discovery of (possible) life on other planets, the excitement as we waited for the results of the whole Higgs-Boson shindig, there were miraculous births and amazing survival stories from disasters, we closed the chapter on one war, we watched some excellent television, etc.
Like the madness of the holidays, it’s easy to let the noise from the negativity of the past year wear us down. But you know what? We shouldn’t because so much in our lives is based on perspective. It’s not so much looking at life as glass-half-full, but rather looking at…actually, I suppose it is looking at the “full” part of the glass.
2011 is coming to close and, to be honest, things were reasonably good in this small corner of the planet. I got married to “the one that got away”, inherited a new (and completely crazy-in-a-good-way) family, had a couple friends get published (or will be), bottled my first jars of honey, and heard about justice (finally) for a murdered friend. I toured one of the most fascinating cities you’d never think to visit (and you’d be wrong!), wrote a lot of words (on this site and in stories), read some great books, read some fantastically crappy ones, ate, drank, and generally tried to enjoy life to the fullest.
That’s not to say everything was hunky-dory. There were plenty of dark points and late nights spent staring at the ceiling wondering how to fix things. There were days/weeks/months of biting nails and counting every penny. And don’t get me started on the number of rejection letters I collected.
But all of those were/are speed bumps and not mountains.
Or at least, they should be. After all, we only have oh-so-much energy to spend worrying about Things and Such, so we had best pick and choose the ones that cut deepest. Otherwise, we’re going to be emotionally exhausted in another 12 months.
As we stampede into 2012, a lot of people will create resolutions or make promises for how to improve on the New Year. But you know what? The Universe won’t care. It will keep doing its thing whether we join a gym or eat 12 boxes of donuts.**
That doesn’t mean we should wallow in despair, stop trying to improve, or give up on our dreams. Instead, we should realize that life is going to happen no matter what and we can either watch it drift by or jump in and hang on. Maybe this is the year we’ll land an agent/publishing contract/underwear modeling career. Then again, maybe it won’t be. Maybe we’ll struggle, cry, cuss, and worry instead. Either way, the big, bad river of life will keep on keeping on.
And if that’s the case, you can bet that when we’re here this time next year, we’d all rather say goodbye to 2012 with a tear of sadness than with a kick in the pants as it scampers out the door. And so much of that depends on whether or not we get out there and make the effort to actually live our lives.
So here’s to you, 2011: Thanks for all the good times and bad. It was a heck of a ride.
And here’s to you, 2012: May the coming year be one filled with hope, laughter, and experiences worthy of song. And may we never forget that life, with all of its bruises and scrapes, is meant to be lived and not simply tolerated.
*I know, I know, there are many more things on that list, but there just isn’t time to get into all of them. How about we talk over a beer sometime?
**The latter sounds soooooo good right now.