2011, examined

Last year’s fruit simmered into a good vintage for me, and I’m savoring it.

Yes, I know it’s already Jan. 4, and by the looks of the pink Valentine’s Day glitter and green St. Patrick’s Day hats in stores, I ought to be marching ever more briskly into the future. How dare I look back.

But as Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Pastor and blogger Tom Basson addressed this subject recently (click here to read his thought-provoking post), suggesting the first thing on the to-do list for 2012 should be to reflect on 2011.

So let’s reflect, shall we?

Back on Dec. 31, 2010, I wrote a post about puking up the mojo of a sorrowful year during which the stepson I adore decided to move away to live with his mother and people I respected at work were making like rats on a sinking ship. (only that metaphor is feeble because they were more like Cinderellas stepping into new glass slippers and I was left with a rat). So on the last day of the year, I was expelling the vomit of 2010 to make room for new, good things.

I proceeded to spend 10 weeks in a 1983 RV with my Beloved and my mother-in-law enjoying the warm weather of Texas, the Gulf coast and Florida while my fellow northern Illini endured The Blizzard of the Century. That escape was the right prescription for what ailed me.

Over the course of the next eight months, my Beloved and I managed to spend nearly six weeks with my adored stepson, culminating in a weeklong sojourn for the three of us to Puerto Vallarta during which Caswell and I spent late nights discussing the meaning of life (and love). I felt vindicated as a stepmother.

Part of the reason we were able to spend so much time in Minnesota and elsewhere with Caswell was because I was laid off in June. Five or 10 years ago, being laid off might have embarrassed me. But after being on the management end of unavoidable layoffs and witnessing the collateral damage of what seems like an endless recession, I knew the demise of the company for which I worked was less about me and more about the circus surrounding me. The end was a relief.

I took advantage of the time on my hands by putting my fingers to work — finishing the manuscript of a memoir I started five years ago. It was an emotional struggle exploring the failures of my first marriage, but it felt so good to finish. After sending it off to 20 agents, I laid the manuscript aside for a few months but I’m ready to take it up again.

Meanwhile, I posted to Minnesota Transplant 303 times — not quite the Post A Day I aspired to, but not too shabby. And I got Freshly Pressed in September (click here for the original post that won me WordPress fame and here for the follow-up post about the thrill).

After enduring (enjoying?) unemployment and, coincidentally, the stock car racing season for four and half months, I forged ahead boldly in a new job with a fledgling company where my contributions make a difference. I’m as excited as a race car driver on Memorial Day weekend. Start your engines!

You know, the year wasn’t perfect. My foot hurts more than I’d like (but it’s nothing a little time in a $200 hot tub can’t fix). The Minnesota Twins sucked (and so did the Chicago Bears). And for a while, I was concerned Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry might get the Republican nomination for president (thank goodness, that’s behind us).

But other than that, 2011 was a very good year. Let’s toast to another one!

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3 responses to “2011, examined

  1. Still missed a couple 2010’s 😉 that’s okay, though, I’m having a hard time with dates too.

  2. What a year! I’ve enjoyed reading a lot of it but didn’t get close to all 303 posts. I feel pretty inadequate next to your output. On to 2012.

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