2015 in Review
[Please take this year in review with a grain of salt. I know how lucky, no, privileged, I am to have had the year I did. I recognize that none of my struggles compare to those of Syrian refuges, those both killed and left to mourn the many acts of violence (gun and otherwise) that occurred this year, the growing number of black people who simply want their lives to matter as much as everyone elses do and see messages on the daily that they don’t, and countless other struggles that could take up pages. I only offer this as my personal and honest account of 2015.]
As the year comes to a close I am driven to write my own review of it, just like all those distant friends and relatives who take this occasion to remind me of all the amazing things going on in their lives. Of course nowadays we are “blessed” with social media, which in most cases is just a run-on version of the aforementioned holiday/new year’s letter. Ah technology, what would I do without you? Well… probably not judge myself so harshly or have such a distorted view of my friends and family’s lives, or waste so much precious time, or destroy my eyesight, or throw off my health sleep pattern, but I digress. 2015 was… eh, it was OK, kind of like the movie you won’t go see in the theater but after you scan way too long on Netflix you’ll give a try.
I mean come on, it was a year when I went back on anti-depressants and also surrendered my dog of 7 years to a Border collie rescue. Yes, I’m glad that I felt empowered enough to address my mental health needs, to have health insurance to help with the expense, and to have made a decision that was ultimately right for both me and my furry friend. But let’s not make this into an after school special where everything turns out fine in the end and everyone learns a valuable life lesson that they will undoubtedly remember and use throughout their lives. The painful loneliness and a lack of motivation for even the most basic tasks still overtake me every so often and the memory of how bad it can get is still fresh in my heart and head. I still feel a tremendous sense of shame mixed with disappointment that I couldn’t help my dog develop the basic social skills necessary to continue living with me. Sure I judge myself for my decision to surrender her; hell I probably judged other people for similar decisions and will no doubt fall back into that terrible habit at a later date, but for now I’m trying to simply live with my decision and accept is as one of those grey ones where right and wrong don’t do it justice.
While these larger events really sucked, 2015 was also a year of mediocrity in many areas of my life. In 2015 I watched way too many videos on YouTube and listened to the same 30 or so songs and openly complained about this but then did nothing about it. Ah, such a great strategy; I’m surprised it doesn’t work more often. I also thought about calling people and then settled for texting, thought about working out and then decided to nap (and drool) on the couch, and thought about writing my thoughts down and settled for letting them slosh around in my brain and fuel my anxiety instead of my creativity. Nothing like a holiday card to help me remember and share all those times when I could have done something better for my overall self-care, but settled for what was easy. It happens everyone and if I can’t admit it now, when can I?
There were of course some legit highlights this year, but they weren’t always the ones you saw on Facebook. Yes, my trip to Zion and Bryce National Parks was on point and reminded me that my heart sings in the Colorado Plateau. Too bad my social/dating life (which isn’t particularly prolific as is) would shrivel up like a raisin if I stayed due to the heat, lack of water, and dearth of similarly minded people. Watching the US women win the World Cup is a highlight, but I was expecting to be witnessing one of the greatest, most drama filled events of my life and the epic blowout was downright disappointing. Then again, who the hell am I to expect professional athletes at the top of their game to make a championship a more entertaining experience for me? My sincere apologies to the entire US Women’s National Soccer team; may you go on to blowout many more opponents and make for many more games when crowd watching is more entertaining than the game itself.
The real highlights, the things that brought the most sustained joy into my 2015 were the events where I wasn’t doing something particularly extraordinary or visiting somewhere new, but instead surrounded by good people. Bowling on Sunday mornings with Clare, Ashley, Amanda and anyone else who cared to join, Obscure Breakfast Club with Vanessa, Sophie, Marigold, and again anyone else who cared to join, Wednesday night trivia with Val and Melissa, and of course each and every moment I’ve gotten to spend will my new, neffe Ian all fit this bill. I also really enjoyed spending time in my own company; whether that was watching World Cup games solo at local bars, reading, hiking, biking, or coloring (I can’t mediate worth a damn but, well I’m knocking it out of the park on that front). Basically what I came to realize this year is that I’m a 70 year old who likes trivia, bowling, breakfast, spending time alone and hanging with grand kids. Only 34 more years until I truly reach my peak!
As 2015 comes to an end, I can’t help but look forward to 2016 (cue Rock Bottom by Wynonna Judd in the background). Don’t know that one? OK here’s some help; be sure to watch until the end when a young(er) Dave Letterman appears ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6DVEoJ5rmE). I’ve made some big decisions that will ensure that 2016 looks and feels quite different than 2015. I’ve decided to jump and let the net appear. I’m moving up to Portland (Oregon not Maine) without full time employment, living in a parsonage (yes you read that correctly) with my amazing and generous friends Jennifer and Courtney and figuring out my next steps from there. So far I’m super excited about my next adventure with a sprinkling of fear, which is a sign that I’m taking a risk and without risks life would be pretty boring. So here’s to 2016, all the upcoming risks, strikes and spares, coloring sessions, and rough patches to make next year’s review shine.