Wednesday, January 1, 2014
I thought about making New Year's resolutions. I really did. And I thought about writing a wrap-up post for the old year, looking back on the things that happened. Maybe even revisiting the resolutions I hoped to keep. I just couldn't bring myself to do it, though. In all honesty, 2013 sucked. Sorry to be blunt, but it did. And judging by the stuff I've seen on facebook and other blogs over the past day and a half, I'm guessing I'm not the only one who feels that way. I know people who have experienced a lot of difficult, stressful things this year. Deaths of friends and family members. Career changes and unemployment. Illnesses, surgeries, diagnoses. Broken marriages and lost relationships. The hardships are just too many to number. It's so very sad.
I do feel that the passing of the old year and the start of a new one deserves some kind of recognition, though. I had an idea to try to describe 2013, and then 2014, in one word, and then expound upon that. So if I had to choose one word to describe 2013, it would be "hurt." That sounds depressing, doesn't it? Don't get me wrong- good things did happen in 2013. But there was an awful lot of hurt, too. Hurt of all kinds. On January 14, I had spinal surgery. I was off work for over two months. And not long after my restrictions were lifted at work, I strained myself pretty badly and then missed more work. Just like my previous surgeries, I have nerve damage that I will probably never get rid of. I had my wisdom teeth removed, too, and some other major dental work done. All of that put some major hurt on my bank account, too! Last year also had quite a bit of emotional hurt. I was hurt very deeply by a friend- and I think we all know that the people we love have the ability to hurt us the most. I had some serious struggles with my depression last year. It was much worse than anyone realized. Some of it came about because of my natural brain chemistry, but some of it stemmed from events and happenings. And then there was grief. This year we lost pets, and a sweet friend, and a grandparent. And my heart hurt for all my friends who were (and are) going through difficult times, too.
But here's my word for 2014: "change." Change is normally something I hate on principle. I really don't have any coping skills, and I kind of hate surprises, too. Well, not kind of. Really. I really hate surprises. Yet strangely, the potential for change is something I'm really looking forward to in the coming months. I'm hoping for all kinds of change. Some of it's personal and arbitrary- like the fact that I'm hoping to fully transition to a vegetarian lifestyle by the end of the year. Some of it's spiritual- I've made a commitment to read through the Bible chronologically this year, and I'm off to a good start. Some of it feels like pipe dreams- I really would love to become a mom this year. I'd even settle for being halfway to parenthood (meaning, halfway through the process of adopting.) But that's my hope every new year. Perhaps most importantly, I'm expecting to return from Tanzania in March a totally and fundamentally changed person. I expect that some of my acquaintances already find me a little annoying, because of the amount of time I spend talking about justice and poverty and my kids. When I get back, I expect to be downright insufferable. It will be LIFE-changing, not just year-changing. Not just a tiny blip on the radar. It will be big, and unavoidable, and earth-shattering. I really believe that.
So here's to the new year, and the new me, even if I haven't fully encountered her yet. And it's my prayer that 2014 holds better things, and good changes, for the rest of you, too.