First of all, I consider end of year reflecting and New Year’s resolutions to be rather like Halloween candy: a ritual, great for other people, but not really my thing. I adopt that whole supra-spiritual “I take each day as it comes” and find the year end touchpoint rather artificial and somehow suspect… it must be a capitalist ploy to make me buy something, no? And yet, like Reese’s peanut butter cups sitting in that damn glass bowl on the filing cabinet at work, I do, always, every year, break down and indulge. Because it is cool to reflect. And it is perhaps even necessary, if I’m to keep moving forward, avoiding stupid stuff that bugs me and filling my life ever more with wonderful stuff I love.
First impression of 2010? I am clobbered by the inescapable fact that I spent entirely too much time in front of a computer this year, and way too much of that time on the internet. Given that, it is an amazing feat (and one that I keep reminding myself of when I am getting down and disgusted with my relationship with FaceCrack) that I have
• climbed more mountains in 2010 than in 2009,
• tried my hand a dog fostering for the first time with a trial-by-fire skeletal and ill Belgian Malinois pup,
• wrote my third novel (critically acclaimed as my best yet),
• continued to work full-time,
• traversed the Gunks (that particular effort had been on a personal list of sorts),
• continued to schedule and appear locally for reading-signing events in Ulster and Dutchess Counties
• survived the first semester of having my step-daughter at college
• shared a booth at the Kingston Farmers Market’s artsy craftsy cousin: Crafts on John
• took on volunteering at Hunter Mountain’s Fire Tower as a Fire Tower Volunteer Interpreter (a.k.a. the chick with the keys), and
• started leading hikes for the Catskill 3500 club.
It’s been a weird year in some ways – I guess that’s a cop-out: it is always easy to say that: nice and vague like a horoscope or a tarot reading.
Work has been very intense; perhaps that’s as psychotherapy should be. Marriage has settled down into its third year and both tender spots and calluses have developed. Again, as it should be, I expect. Parenting Maya has certainly had its fair share of ups and downs and sideway-es. Indeed, as it should be. Some new friendships developed, others slipped into the “whatever happened to so-and-so” category.
I had the good fortune to meet with some friends and neighbors from my former life (pre-2007 geographical relocation to the Catskills) last night. As they asked the inevitable questions – the ones you can’t help but ask a person you knew as a single mother and who has gotten married and moved away – I heard myself saying “I think this year I hit my stride.” “I love where I live.” “It couldn’t be better.” Ok, I don’t lack imagination; it could be better. But it was so nice to have those words tumble out, unrehearsed. I live in an idyllic wonderland, where my closest neighbor (at half a mile away) counts as a close friend. My dogs swim with otters and I’ve had the unspeakably breathtaking experience of being joined on my run by a bear. I am gainfully employed and earn a living wage. I have health, strength enough to give back and support from family and friends when I need it. In short, I pulled up stakes three years ago and left my home of seventeen years to completely start over, and in three short years I have rebuild a life that is pretty smokin’ hot. I spent years wondering what I might be like if/when I was happy – y’know, what would life be like if all the things I obsessed over were gone, resolved or eliminated? I have my answer: Look in the mirror, chica, this is it.
Resolutions are a different story. Being happy doesn’t exactly mean there’s nothing to work on. Life will hand me headwalls to climb up, find the secret chute through, or find a way around. Maya might well live in a foreign country in 2011 – go climb that wall, Mom. I hope to take in another foster dog in the spring, and maybe even a forever dog one day (no, RedCloud did not convince me against maintaining a three dog household. Not completely anyway.). Life will toss obstacles in my path and the permanent resolution is to manage them with grace and dignity (or at least to keep the tears and gnashing of teeth to an absolute minimum).
• Finish the Winter 35 (is that a resolution or a goal? I guess it’s a goal.)
• Lead a bushwack hike for the 3500 Club (oh crap, another goal)
• Pick up a trail section to maintain (I think I’m doing this assignment wrong)
• Spend more time with humans and less with keyboards
• Write (fiction, blog posts, whatever) on paper with fancy pens in colored ink
• Return to racing (maybe the New Paltz cross country series?)
• Get a tattoo
That’s probably more than enough for one year.
And for you, reader friends? What does the end of the year do to you? Please feel free to share your reflections and resolutions.