As I write, I am sitting snug in my home office with my sweet white Lab Retriever sleeping at my feet. The whole house is asleep but me, which is quite normal and, in my opinion, quite wonderful. So here I sit, but here, I am not. Without closing my eyes, I am transported, with laptop, onto the shores of an Oregon beach. It matters not which one, as they are all equally amazing, all facing the same perfect ocean. I am here, in this place which forever holds my peace, almost every time I write in this blog. I can hear the gently rolling waves, taste the misty salt air, feel a slight shiver from ocean breezes as I wrap my blanket tighter around my shoulders. I can feel the sand caress my feet as if to gently exfoliate away the heaviness of the day, the subject matter of the post, the fact that I am not physically there but here, and yet there all at the same time.
In a few hours, it will be 2009. I’ve never been more ready for a new year to arrive than I am this year. I share with you my writing transport secret because this past year more than ever, I have had to mentally transport myself elsewhere in order to get any writing -or other work for that matter- done; the here and now has been too chaotic, too painful, too confusing, too insane.
Normally I would write a stupid little look back at the year but tonight instead I think I’ll skip the mundane details and dig right into the hard stuff. The emotional stuff. The aspects of the year that hover above all actual specifics and bind the year together.
This is what I know from 2008:
1. My whole world collapses when I realize I have let someone down, not lived up to their expectations, or just not made them happy in some way; at least, that is what it feels like… my whole body aches, and I cannot think about anything else for a long time. My head knows that I cannot make everyone happy, but this year I have definitely learned that I still want to, and even though I have come to realize there are many, many people out there who will never be happy, who just need to complain or share or need to exert their self-imposed importance on others, my silly illogical side still attempts to appease. So here it is: this stops when the clock strikes midnight. I bid adieu to the 24/7 people-pleaser once and for all. 2009 will be the year I learn to say “Sorry, but this is how it’s going to be.” And I won’t always follow up with my usual lengthy, near-apologetic explanations, but I will allow myself to follow up with a silent mental note of “you annoyingly selfish dipshit jackass” as I smile.
2. I have reached my limit. With work, activities, friends and family… with everything. My life is full and rich and I cannot add anymore ANYTHING. No more meetings. No more playdates. No more lunches and dinners and girls night outs. No more events and fundraisers and appearances for support. No more blogs and radio shows and articles. And yes, no more new businesses. No more, that is, than the regularly scheduled programming. I’m tapped out and barely able to fit in all of the wonderful people, passions and causes into these short days. I am reserving the first part of 2009 to fully engaging in everything and everyone already in my life. I love meeting new people, checking out new events, trying new things…but the “new” can wait until I feel I have fully loved and enveloped the “now” with everything I can give.
3. Nothing is certain. 2008 was most certainly the Year of Death, Divorce & Debt. What a horrible year for so many of my friends, my family, and for the world in general. What pain has been suffered… and so much, so suddenly. BAM! Hello, horrible happenings. Never saw most of them coming. I do a great job talking about how I live a life of no regrets, but let’s face it: there are always things we wish we could have said or that we could have done, decisions we would or wouldn’t have made. So here comes 2009 and I’m ready — ready to walk the walk and truly say what’s on my mind, all the time. Reach out to those I’ve missed in my life. Dismiss those who only add misery. Do the things I’ve always wanted to do but for which I’ve always made excuses. Tomorrow is not a promise; today is all we’ve got.
4. Goodness is everywhere, in everyone, within every moment… even amidst death, divorce and debt. As painful as this year has been throughout, life has also lifted my fingertips from shielding my eyes to let me know that it’s ok: there really is peace, goodness, joy in the chaos. Strangers have become friends, friends have become my hope and happiness, and that happiness is what allows me to live into 2009 with a huge, goofy smile and a hop-skip in my silly step. No matter what, it will be ok. I know we’ll all be ok. We survive the death of loved ones, cancer and other illnesses, tragic accidents, broken relationships, impossible finances, and slowing businesses… we survive it all, and we do it together. Goodness is always with us, prevailing over heartache, loss and complicated chaos. I know no matter what 2009 brings, it’s ok. It’s life. And it’s all good, my friends… it’s ALL good.
To anyone out there who may be reading this, thank you for reading my words in 2008 so that they have a home. I look forward to sharing more online (and some of you offline!) conversations with you all in 2009. Happy New Year!