Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 - Reflections

I need to preface this with an important acknowledgment: Happiness -- and unhappiness -- are relative terms.  For all the bumps and bruises I've encountered along the way this year, none of them even come close to what several friends and dear ones have endured.

That said, 2011 kind of stunk.  Well no, not kind of.  It full-on stunk.  Which, I have to admit, is a bit disappointing, because 2010 was no cakewalk, as last year's end-of-the-year post 2010 - In the Rear View Mirror reveals. 

So, though I only semi-seriously predicted late last December that 2020 was really going to be my year, I did secretly hope that 2011 would, at minimum, be an improvement.  Here, some "highlights" to consider:

First, though technically part of 2010, New Year's Eve included a tornado -- though thankfully the damage was minimal.  Kleenex - Tornado Proof!

Next, there was the roll-over car accident on 1/11/11 -- again, thankfully, the damage was minimal -- to Riley and me, anyway.  The Highlander might beg to differ.  Over Easy

Early March brought another mishap -- this one included a late night (and rather costly) trip to the ER.  Chin Up

Then there were my various misadventures in home ownership: Busting Out Channel Locks at 10 PM and They Shoot Lawnmowers Don't They?  I haven't yet blogged about my Water Heater Woes, but suffice it to say three repair visits, two repairs, one flooded family room and one burnt wrist later, I still don't have a properly functioning water heater. 

This summer and fall brought a good deal of sadness, as several friends lost loved ones.  Tears of October  More recently, I was heartbroken as two families I know/know of, and for whom I'd been steadfastly praying, lost their infant daughters within days of each other.  Perspective

There is more...a lot more.  But it needn't be further detailed.  I think it's safe to say 2011 has had more than its share of bleh.  So, what does one do with that?  Well, unfortunately, my first instinct is typically to whine about it and wallow in it.  And, oh, have I done that.  I have once again become one with Eeyore.  And, frankly, I'm flat out sick of myself.  

So.  Enough.  It ends here.  As has become my (highly non-original) blogging tradition, it is time to become resolute.  Beginning with a revisit/review of 2011's resolutions: 

1)  Drink more water.  Year End Grade: B+.  Though I didn't do this as consistently as I should, I most certainly increased my water intake. (And, by default, decreased my other not-so-good beverage intake.  Well, maybe a little, anyway.) 

2)  Write more.  Year End Grade: A-.  I definitely did this.  Though I can't lay claim to consistent quality, I definitely upped my quantity.  

3)  Keep your feet on the ground. Year End Grade: C+.  I do okay with this for awhile. And then they get swept out from under me again.  And back on my ass I land.  I tried to enlist the Honey Badger's help with this, but he just don't care.

4)  Love the people who love you and love them well. Year End Grade: B.  I'd have given myself an A- at least if not for the last month or two.  In my Poor Me self-absorption, I have fallen down on the job. Terribly.  

5)  Focus on what you have instead of what you don't. Year End Grade: D. Yeah.  There's no way to sugar coat it.  I make a pretense of it.  I talk a good game.  But when push comes to shove, far too often I end up ruminating on all the things I don't have instead of truly being grateful for the many blessings in my life.  

And that's the thing...there are so many of those. Largely, they come in human form.  My angel of a daughter. My family. My amazing friends -- both old and new. But there are also my four-legged furballs (two of whom are sleeping soundly on either side of me at the moment).  There's my cozy little ragged, run-down house.  And my job -- I'm so very grateful to be gainfully employed.  

The truth of the matter is, for all the times I stub my toe on my Murphy's Law life, it really is a wonderful one... "You see George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?"  (Sorry - it's my favorite movie for a reason.)  Well, of course it would be, and I'd never just throw it away, or wish I'd never been born.  (Okay, there are a couple Mulligans I'd so very much love to take.  But unless and until I find a Flux Capacitor in my stocking, that won't be happening.)  

No, life, even at its thorniest, is a gift.  And I realize it is incumbent upon me to make the best of it.  So, in 2012, I resolve to keep the five resolutions listed above, and improve upon them in the following ways:

  • Drinking more water goes hand-in-hand with healthier habits.  Yeah, I'd like to lose 5-7 pounds, yada, yada.  But I've found that what really keeps me on the right path is having a goal that requires me to remain dedicated to training.  I will be running the Go! St. Louis! Half Marathon in April, and the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon in October.  I will also compete in at least two sprint triathlons this year.
  • Writing more for the sheer enjoyment (and catharsis) of writing is all well and good -- and to that end, I'm going to reinstitute my smile series.  Not necessarily daily.  But a minimum of three per week. More importantly, I aim to take my political blogging more seriously.  It's an election year, after all.  Minimum of one substantive, political blog per week.  
  • Keeping my feet on the ground is obviously a challenge for me.  I will therefore be implementing a 30 Day/Dragon Slayer Rule.  That will make practically no sense to anyone, save one or two of my closest friends.  That's okay.
  • Loving the people who love me and loving them well -- I'm far better at this when I'm not awash in self-pity, which I will combat by...
  • Focusing on what I have instead of what I don't.  Since this is the concept with which I struggle the most, I think it's probably time to call in the Big Gun.  What I see when I reflect on the above is a flagging spirit.  And though I don't believe the answer to that lies in church alone, I know that when I was regularly attending, I was on steadier ground, spiritually speaking.  Though God and I have heart-to-hearts on a quite regular basis, I find that attending church helps nourish my spirit in a way that our little chats don't quite accomplish. So, church.  At least twice a month.  Shoot - they have five different services.  I think I can squeeze one into my schedule.  And the podcasts for my long runs.  
Aside from the above, a couple odds and ends I'd like to incorporate into my "Being a Better Susie" program:  Decluttering my life.  (Which is to say, primarily, my house.)  Starting my work day out at 8:00 a.m. And starting a new hobby/passion, which I've already decided will probably be: photography...


  1. Sus - Love the blog post!!! Glad to see running at the top!! i may borrow a few of yours as I put my list together for next year. My only other suggestion for ensuring your 2012 gets off on the right foot.. stay at home tomorrow, DON'T DRIVE! Then, as long as the hot water heater does not decide to blow up (again),you will already be trending better than 2011!!! Glad the blog will continue!!!! and psyched about the photography..... lots to look forward to!!!!

  2. What a wonderful piece. I do pray you & your family have a very happy, healthy & prosperous 2012!

    In a way, it sounds like you had a great year, you went through a great deal of adversity & weathered it with strength, and with your priorities straight & faith in tact. A plus!

    God bless!