I was awfully glad to see 2016 come to an end.
Shocking. I know.
And while I know there are people out there who poo poo the whole New Year, New Me thing [my stink eye is aimed right at you, McKnuckles], surely it’s a natural time to reflect, take stock, and resolve to discard what isn’t working anymore and embrace something new.
For the first time in a very long time though, I don’t even want to look back and reflect on 2016. Not even a little bit. I just want to slam that book cover shut and hurl it across the room. I’d burn it but I’m decidedly on the anti-burning books side of things. So we’ll just let it lie there in the corner, quivering in anticipation, hoping I get close enough for it to bite.
2016 was a year that just oozed grief, distress, tension, sorrow, and then more grief. It wasn’t just the celebrity deaths - which felt very much like mortality bitch slapping the Gen X’ers right in the kisser. It was Pulse, Aleppo, the election, and deaths of just regular joes...people I knew.
It got to the point I didn’t even want to turn on NPR first thing in the morning because the only time the lead story wasn’t Trump was when it was something far far worse [hard to believe, alas, true. There are actual worse things and they actually happened].
It got to the point I didn’t even want to go outside.
So...I didn’t. Much. Unless I had to. To which, most of my friends - if I even still have any - can attest considering I haven’t seen most of them for many many months.
It got to the point I didn’t blog at all.
Oh I tried. I have drafts galore. Most of them can be summed up with the subject line: So I work in HR. And many of them should be titled “How to Annoy the HR Generalist and Ensure Your Resume Ends Up in the Trash: A What Not to Do Guide on Applying for a Job”.
My heart just wasn’t in it though.
Instead, I spent day after day binging on anything (legal) that didn’t make my heart hurt...wine, food, television, mahjong. All good in moderation but I’ve never been particularly solid on the moderation front. If I’m in, I’m all sorts of in. Bleah.
That’s how I spent 2016. Hiding. Mostly. Checked out.
But there were some pretty cool things that happened in 2016.
For instance, I had a wonderful time this spring celebrating a friend’s 50th birthday over the course of a weekend and got to see several out-of-town people I rarely get to see.
I got to go to a work conference in Washington D.C. in June where I learned an awful lot. It was during that trip that I made a new BFF on the airplane there and then caught up with an old BFF from high school - someone I hadn’t seen in 20 years.
For the first time ever, I didn’t have to take any sick time other than a half day to go to the dentist and the eye doctor. Otherwise, I was pretty healthy (physically; spiritually was an entirely different matter).
In August, my eldest sister and my nieces (one by blood, one by “adoption”, and one by relationship), came over from Utah for a girls’ weekend and we had a fabulous visit!
I put as much emotional distance between my father and me as I possibly could. I’m sticking to it...so far.
And then, very recently, I reconnected with one of my teachers - a very special and dear teacher who gets much of the credit for pulling me, kicking and screaming, through the last two years of high school. I’m meeting her next week for coffee. I’m looking forward to seeing her and getting to know her again. This time, as equals. As friends.
I don’t know what 2017 is going to have in store for me or for any of us.
It’s possible that 2016 was just foreshadowing the doom and gloom ahead. Not just possible. Likely. David Bowie was the first. Carrie Fisher won’t be the last.
One thing is for certain. I’m not content to continue to hide.
If there’s one thing 2016 has taught me, my days in this meat suit are numbered. And every day I spend hiding away from what hurts is one less day I have to spend doing what’s important.
So...I guess that means I’m back. For whatever that’s worth.
Who wants to do Church of Brunch on the 21st? Yannow, for 45th birthday celebratings?
“I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But the days still seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through”
-- David Bowie, “Changes”