Ahhhhh. My poor, neglected, sad little blog. I did not have as a good a blogging year in 2013 as I did in 2012. I attribute that mostly to how emotionally and physically hard much of 2013 was. You’d think that all the experiences – leaving not just a job but a career, fighting for Helene’s therapies and education, battling my own inner demons – would give me great blog fodder. But, I experienced another change during that time. For once, writing about my experiences was not helpful. The hyper focus required for writing only tilted my anxiety higher. I tried to use my blog as a distraction, but that didn’t go well, because I felt like I’d lost my voice. Instead, I fed random, witty little snippets to my FB page. (This is a totally shameless plug for my FB page.)
Nonetheless, I started 2013 by resolving to remember why it was a great year. You might recall the “Resolve to be Successful” jar? No? Well, lucky for you, I remember it. Throughout the year, I wrote down on sticky notes the wonderful things that happened to me. I folded each note, put it in the jar and took comfort in the tangible reminder that things do not always suck, even when it feels like everything sucks.
Tonight, I open the jar. To really make this work, I need to share with you what’s in my jar – and my exceptional gratitude for the people who made the moments in the jar possible.
In no particular order:
1. An email from a former client, in response to mine to him to let him know I was leaving the law firm. He called my testimony at an arbitration “one of the most impressive performances I have ever had the pleasure to observe” and remarked, “thank goodness you were on our side.” He didn’t have to write that email, and I was touched that he did.
2. When I was searching for a job, two wonderful friends – Jennifer Ress-Bush and Michelle Wood – reached out and offered me help with my résumé and put me in touch with their connections. It was a beautiful gesture during a really difficult time, and I don’t know that either of them really knew then how much it meant. I hope they do now.
3. One night, on the way home from a band audition, Nate and I sang American Pie together in the car at the top of our lungs. I discovered that Nate has an incredible singing voice, I loved with all my heart how vulnerable he was with me (and I with him) in those moments, and I was overjoyed at his excellent taste in music. ;-)
4. I reconnected with a friend I missed more than I even realized over an impromptu dinner and slumber party, which led to some of the best Sunday mornings – hiking, chatting, laughing, swearing, sweating. I less-than-three you, Cynthia Orluck!
5. I plowed through the entire Game of Thrones series of books in record time only to learn that I may never know how these fuckers end. I have yet to find anything to fill the void left behind, so I’m reading them again. Because, yes, they are that good. (And, dammit, HBO – quit messing around!)
6. My sister made it to the jar a ridiculous number of times. My job, a little help with a PG&E crisis (which is a weird coincidence – right?) and a refrigerator. But, mostly, hours and hours and hours of just listening to me spew forth whatever madness poured out while filling the silences with coffee, advice and patience. You have no idea how much you were my life-line this year, dude. “Thank you” just seems stupid, it’s such a gross understatement. But, basically, I will play marbles with you no matter what time it is.
7. My new boss made me a promise before I started my new job and asked me to trust him. It was the last thing in the world I was capable of doing, but I wanted the job, so I took the gamble. Before even my 90th day, he made good on the promise – and then some. It was the sign I needed to confirm I hadn’t jumped from the frying pan to the fire.
8. I met in person three amazing people whom I had met only virtually. I met a fourth person whom I didn’t know in real life or in person but who is awesome in equal measure. I then had one of the most fun nights of my life, eating, drinking, laughing, and playing with these folks. I laughed so much, my stomach hurt the next day. And, I loved that night so much that my heart hurt a little the next day, too. It’s a strange kind of hangover you get when you get drunk on friends who live too far away. Yet, I’d gladly do it again.
9. I took a short, last-minute trip to Half Moon Bay with Helene in July. She loved the beach. I wrote about it here. I want to find a way to bottle that experience and drink it through a straw when I need a dose of happy.
10. After I shared on FB the “Awesomely Big List of Ways to Help Parents of Autistic Kids” post from Bec Oakley at snagglebox, my friend Juliet reached out to me and offered to help me in any way she could. It was an unbelievably sweet, thoughtful and perfect gesture, and it led to a fun play date for the kids!
11. When I was in the throes of IEP-meltdown, my wonderful friend Beth Glidden Anderson offered to provide feedback on Helene’s IEP goals. She sent me back a spreadsheet of pure awesomesauce, which was clearly the product of a lot of her time. It was also the most amazing, helpful gift, especially coming from a lady who has her hands full to say the least. I think the expression should be changed to, “The fuller the hands, the bigger the heart,” in honor of Beth.
12. Hot on Beth’s heels was my friend, Robin Gredinger. Once upon a time, Robin was 16 years old and crashing my car into a mailbox. Today, she is a marvelous woman who gives her heart to middle schoolers and gave her time and thoughts to me to help me through Helene’s IEP process. I love who you grew into, Rob. You are a special lady, as I always knew you would be. ;-)
13. The day before I started my new job, the Hubs brought me home a new necklace to wear. The necklace is beautiful, and I love it. What I really loved, though, was what it said: “I support you. I want you to succeed.” Every marriage is tested, but I dare say ours was tested more than many last year. Yet, here we are. I love you. Still and always.
14. My blog – despite my neglect and apathy – still grew, and I appreciate every single reader and comment. (Even the spammers; you guys really provide me some great material.) Also, there are 368 people in the world who think that what I have to say is worth reading. That’s, like, 368 more than I thought!
15. I had a therapist who wanted so much to see me succeed at getting emotionally healthy, she worked for free about half the time I spent with her. I hope she reads my blog so that she’s reminded that I did not forget my promise to pay it forward: I donated my time to a few parents in need of IEP help this year, and I hope I’ve made up for your generosity and kindness – and then some. Just in case, I fed at least a dozen expired parking meters. ;-)
16. My friend, Elizabeth Francois, agreed to do this project with me! I really hope she stuck it out and that she shares her list. If she didn’t, I am grateful nonetheless, because her participation gave me a sense of purpose I needed to get going on this.
So, 2013 wasn’t all horrible. Was it my favorite year? No. But, I don’t know that I’ve reflected on any year and though, Wow! That year was really fabulous. I’d bet that 80%-ish of Twitter comments and FB posts/shares at the end of every year (at least since 2004) snark about how the old year can’t end or the new year start soon enough. If I learned anything this year, though, I learned that time is an invaluable commodity. You have no idea how much of it you have, you cannot save it, you cannot get it back, and you cannot borrow it, so you cannot possibly place a price on it. I don’t want to wish any of it away, and I don’t want to waste it. Instead, I want to take these last hours of 2013 to reflect on what went right and what I learned from what went wrong. I might spend tomorrow getting organized. I might throw on some yoga pants for the purpose of actual yoga. I might transfer a few bucks into my savings account. (For now.) I might think about healthier eating, but – let’s be real – it will be while I eat ALL the gingerbread cake I’m about to make. The only thing I am resolved to do is to remember the moments from 2014 worth remembering, forget the moments not worth remembering, and enjoy the time I’m given every. single. day.
Happy New Year.