2011 is almost over. I'm sort of sad to see it go. I've spent this year waiting and watching and biding my time for things to happen. But in the meantime, nothing bad has happened, either. As I've spent the last week thinking over 2011 and what it's been, I realized with great clarity that nothing bad happened this year. Bad things *almost* happened, but then didn't. And maybe with that comes happiness. Perhaps the absence of bad things is really as good as it can be.
That sounds more pessimistic than I mean it to be.
After a frustrating time, Beloved got a new job. It has him away more than I'd like him to be, but I'm happy to see he is engaged and interested in what he's doing. Though I haven't written about it much here, I've been very hard at work on my first real novel. It's one of the things I've been waiting about, and there were many times in this year that I wondered really what I should do about it, if I should do anything about it, so I just took critiques and revised and waited and sent it out and waited and revised it some more. And at BlogHer Writers '11, I solidified what I want the next novel to be and started an outline. It's not ready to come out yet, but it's there, humming below the surface in between drafts and revisions of my first novel, just waiting to be born. I keep asking it to please wait a little longer until I can push this first-born novel out of the nest. It is impatient.
Chateau Travolta unexpectedly got a new roof in 2011, thank you, hail storm. We've had Petunia the cat now longer than we had the monster-eating Bella, which sort of blows my mind. Somehow, while I wasn't paying attention, that milestone ticked over and she became more dear to me even though the vet hates her and my niece thinks she is the cat who only says HISS.
The little angel and I took down the Christmas decorations today, and as I put them away I realized how much she has grown since we moved to Chateau Travolta the year she was three and still in a toddler bed. Somehow -- while I wasn't paying attention -- she became a girl who is in second grade and wears skinny jeans and sings along to the radio and wears an apron and takes my order for dinner. In seven more years, she'll be close to getting a learner's permit and the car will be paid off and we'll all have our Internet passwords embedded in a small chip implanted behind our left ears. My parents will be in their mid-seventies and I will be almost 45 and maybe we'll all have subsidized healthcare. Or maybe the world really will end in 2012 and the aliens will find our tweets and wonder what the hell #shitmydadsays means, but certainly it must have been a prophet of some sort for all the attention we paid it. The Kardashians will be on their 52nd plastic surgery and cars will fly, but not mine, because I'll hold on to that Corolla for dear life and we'll finally have paid off the move of 2007.
When I think back over 2011, a lot of things happened to the people around me but not a lot happened to me, and that's okay. Because nothing really bad happened to me, either, and perhaps now that I'm 37 years old and almost 38, I've come to appreciate the lack of bad nearly as much as the abundance of good, because good can also be peaceful hamburgers on the deck when the light turns gold in summer and Christmas lights that all work and a furnace that still functions and a soft bed. I appreciate all that so much more than I did before I learned how easily it can all go up poof, like that, just like that.
It's almost 2012, and I'm still waiting for some things I've worked on so hard to come to fruition. There were many, many nights in 2011 that I cried over the waiting. But when I really think about it, maybe the waiting itself contributes to happiness, because when it finally comes, it will feel so much better than if it had just fallen in my lap.
Here's to the upcoming year. Here's to hoping you get what you're waiting for.
I've been including poems with my holiday cards since I was 21 and I sent out Christmas pieces of paper instead of Christmas cards because I was too broke to buy cards. I'm 37 now, so that means I've sent out 16 holiday poems.
And this year, I didn't.
This year, I was working on revisions on my novel and all my creative energy went to that. This year, I sat down at least three times and the words wouldn't come. This year, I wondered if maybe that well had dried up, if I'd said everything there was to say about the holidays and family and goodness and light.
There were a few complaints. And I felt guilty. I'm really pleased people liked them enough to be sad when they ended ... but not enough to try to force something that just wouldn't come. I was telling Beloved about this problem when the little angel piped up that she would be happy to write one. Since I've already sent out my holiday greetings, this year, here are the poems she wrote. I think I'm passing the torch. From now on, there's a new sheriff in town.