I have a tiny, silver bell with which to ring in the New Year. It was a gift from my father-in-law. I have been wearing it on a silver chain around my neck, and whenever I move, the bell rings with such clarity and brightness I am sure it’s calling fairies.
A few days before the turn of the year, I started doing what we all do – reflecting. I thought about the year gone past. It felt like a bad year, again. It felt like nothing had changed. When I considered New Year’s resolutions for 2013, it was the same list as 2012 and 2011 and 2010.
- Lose weight. (I am heavier now than I was this time last year.)
- Get a full-time teaching job. (I tried, but I couldn’t make it happen, despite my best efforts.)
- Fix our finances. (See “Get a full-time teaching job.”)
I haven’t made any progress towards fixing any of those things, therefore 2012 was a bad year.
I also spent a large part of 2012 depressed. I started the year with the knee surgery that laid me up for me for months and didn’t even fix my knee completely. It also cost so much that we’re still paying it off. (This would be the opposite of Fixing the Finances. Also, Get Decent Health Insurance should be on the list, but I guess it goes with Get a Full-Time Job.) I couldn’t kickbox or exercise much at all, which equals depression and crazy amounts of free-floating anxiety.
Then I didn’t get my dream job. I was close. I came in 3rd. But 3rd doesn’t come with a good salary and health benefits. 3rd comes with a return to a low paying job with no job security or health benefits. Oh, and more depression.
I was depressed, for good reason, for much of 2012, therefore 2012 was a bad year. At the end of 2012, I was fatter, still underemployed and struggling to make ends meet, therefore 2012 was a bad year.
But then I started going back through my blog posts for the year. My blog is my external memory. I blog because I don’t want to forget my life. As I started scrolling through old posts, I realized something. Maybe the problem isn’t necessarily with me. Maybe the problem is with the list.
It’s not that lose weight, get a job, and achieve financial security are not good goals. They are. I need to find a way to make them happen, but they aren’t the only possible achievements . . .
At the beginning of the year, Ace was stuck in a horrible middle school where he was being bullied mercilessly and the administration was incapable of stopping it. In April, we argued for a school transfer and we got it. We moved Ace to a new middle school for the end of 7th grade and 8th grade. Ace is not longer bullied at school. He has friends. He has a girlfriend.
2012 is the year we got Ace into a better school where he is happy and safe. Therefore, it was a good year.
I quit dancing in 2012. This was sad because of how much dancing has meant to me and how hard I worked to become a TCRG (Irish Dance Teacher.) But I needed to stop. I needed to stop two years ago, and I just couldn’t do it. I agonized over the decision for years. YEARS. But once I finally made the decision this past summer, I knew it was the right one. If you can’t do something without being in a lot of pain, you shouldn’t do it. It seems obvious now, but it didn’t for the longest time. In 2012, I made the hard decision to take care of myself, therefore it was a good year.
Finally, while the knee surgery and never-ending recovery goes firmly in the BAD column, I eventually got beyond it. In December 2012, I finally earned my first degree black belt in Muay Thai – something I have been working towards for 5 years.
That makes 2012 an unquestionably good year.
Perhaps my feelings of failure, my frustration at not having accomplished my goals, are a result of the list I’m choosing to look at. If I change the list,
- Get Ace into a new school
- Move on
- Recover and finish what you started
2012 feels much less like a failure of a year. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Instead of making another list for 2013, I’m ringing my tiny bell. I will smile whenever I hear its crisp chime. I will try to celebrate what I have. I will try to be open for what may come.