Monday, January 4, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Ahead, and Other Cliches'

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for all those end of the year retrospective special editions of all the magazines I read. They are the issues I toss into the ever-growing crate of “keepsake magazines.” I see the collection as a sort of personal pop-culture time capsule. When I’m living in the nursing home, I expect to quite enjoy flipping through my vintage 1997s in search of an over-looked cinematic gem that will knock ‘em dead on movie night…

This year, we have added edition of looking back over the whole decade, which is both interesting and terrifying in a holy-shit-ten-more-years-have-zoomed-by kind of way, but amusing nonetheless.

Which got me to thinking about my own Year/Decade In Review.

Moments after I thought of this blog topic, I was watching CBS Sunday Morning, who, like all the other news outlets, had compiled their own end-of-the-year commentary. This one, like, perhaps some of the others, although I haven’t seen them, was terrifically depressing.


It went through the whole inauguration of W, to 9/11, the Iraq War, the decent of the economy, through the burst housing bubble and rampant unemployment.

Which got me to thinking about my own decade, admittedly, influenced by the dark despair of the CBS coverage. What I came up was this – I was in a car accident on the eve of the new millennium, and spent the balance of the following year having physical therapy, a second surgery, and engaging in a three-year-long lawsuit. I held some of the most low-level jobs (often simultaneously) and spent several months unemployed. I watched my brother get sick, suffer, and ultimately die. I witnessed mother go into the hospital for a “routine hip replacement” and come out facing a lengthy recovery from a broken leg. Just before Thanksgiving, I saw the final collapse of a significant, decade-long, on-again-off-again-turned-fully-defined relationship I had a lot, emotionally, riding on.

This flash of immediate reflection, understandably, depressed the hell out of me. Until I realized I had been unduly influenced. Not that these things did not happen to me in the past decade, but so did these – I bought a house, earned my MFA, went to Paris and Barcelona (as well as many cool domestic cities), maintained my weight, deepened my already deep friendships with the arrival of their children, got published, engaged in some personally-enriching relationships with men, significantly deepened my relationships with my family, and started the first permanent/appropriate job I’ve had in many, many years.

As for the future, who’s to say. I do know that I am profoundly more aware of my own path than I ever was at thirty. Perhaps that is a function of aging, but I hope not. I am looking forward to doing more of the same, at least the good, positive stuff, but with more purpose.

As any good resolution-type statement would put it.

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