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When I think about 2011, I feel sort of like my good friend Barney:

Where did it go?  It was right there in my palm and before I could identify the thief, my year was gone! I lost it somewhere and I can’t remember where I was so I can’t even retrace my steps to find it. At this time last year, I was very sad; I’d just lost my grandma, my senses of roots and family and eternity were hypersensitive and raw. The idea of resolving to lose 10 lbs. seemed absurd and ridiculous because, well, it is an absurdity to dedicate a year to such a ridiculously scratchable, scuffable, crackable, meaningless aspiration. At this time last year, I aimed to love others more and fret less in 2011. These seemed like the perfect goals to a girl for whom the morning sunrise would bring up the flowers in spring, even as it seemed impossible in the dead of winter.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the way our world inhales and exhales with the seasons, the way we count on a new year to make way for rebirth the way we count on the Etch-A-Sketch to come clean with a few shakes. If it were only so simple, like a childhood game; if drawing pictures was the business of our lives and erasing mistakes were so easy as doing the watusi, what would you set out to accomplish?  It is, after all, a “dance made up for romance!”

This year, one of my best friends got married in Estes Park; it was a gift for me to be her maid of honor. I spent my birthday with dear friends in Eastern Washington where I faced my fear of big hairy spiders with…well, with my bare face! I gambled $1…and lost it, but indulged blissfully in three bowls of pumpkin soup over three meals at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in Las Vegas. I took a long walk with a dear friend on a golf course in Orlando, danced with a professional ballet dancer in New York, and fled to Chicago to avoid Hurricane Irene where I went boating with a friend on a river in the middle of a tiny town called Kankakee while my colleagues waded through water in Vermont and Washington. I attended a 20 year anniversary party for friends (a beautiful couple!) in Dallas and learned that Texans are so proud of their alma matters that they paint the university logos on their sidewalks. I ran a 5K in Anaheim, visited the World Trade Center Memorial, attended shows at Carnegie Hall and on Broadway in New York City, and saw Janet Jackson, David Nail, Charlie Sheen, and Rascal Flatts in Denver.  I had one of the loveliest breakfasts of my life just off the lawn of the White House and pretended to be a local in Washington DC. I became a Starbucks Gold Card holder, a Frontier Airlines Summit frequent flier, and remained the proud owner of a 1991 Ford Festiva which I maintain is a financially wise decision albeit not necessarily a socially image-conscious one. I found my sister who I’d lost 11 years ago and cried like they do on Oprah when she makes such things possible. My house flooded and I skipped through a few rain puddles. I learned how to use words like “writer” and “subject matter expert” to describe myself…and mean it.

By all accounts, 2011 was a lovely year, one quite worthy of thievery. I met wonderful, interesting people and spent time with old and new friends, family, and myself learning to love each more generously. I remain encumbered by the desire to give more, go farther, learn more, and lose 10 lbs. What would it be to look ahead to a new year without a weight loss goal? I submit that it might be anti-American to do such an audacious thing!

2012 is off to a slow start. The 2011 Christmas cards still haven’t hit the post office and I am due to return a good many calls and messages to people I authentically care about, but the truth is that I’m not worried. Worry gives me wrinkles, of which I wish to remain free of for as long as possible. That’s how Grandma would have advised me, anyway. What’s ahead is uncertain, adventurous, wonderful, and challenging.  Worthy of thievery, I’m sure.

I’ll continue to subscribe to a loving view of the world and release my grip on worry in 2012. And, I’ll do the watusi every once in awhile.

Love more…freely.  Fret less…freedom.

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