The second thing that struck me on the radio at 7 am was a brief monologue by Ben Mattlin, a writer with Spinal Muscular Atrophy who has lived -- far beyond his prognosis -- a full and rich life, married with children, a writer, but of course, strewn with challenges. His segment was simple and to the point. A brief memoir-ish status update kind of posting. What he said that stopped me:
Don't get me wrong. I don't see myself as a modern-day Tiny Tim, cheering everybody up. No thank you. I reject holding myself up as a triumph of the human spirit. At home, I grouse and kvetch all the time...Plus life is rough...So yes, I do feel lucky. 2009 wasn't anything special. But it was blessedly drama-free. And that was enough to make it a good year. Sure I hope for better in the new year. But even if I don't get that, I'll still say I'm lucky. Because sometimes, just normal is enough.
I was driving back from the airport. It has been bitter cold this week in Nashville and I opened my front door this morning to snow flurries. The past few days with my friends, old and new, we had laughs and fun and I was happy and relieved, as this holiday has been a special kind of hell I'm glad to see over. I'm sure we've all got that, no matter our family status or circumstances. Every turn can be a new adventure of joy, or a reminder of choices and regrets. I'm single and childless in a time in my life where I thought things would be different. I'm in a new state a new town a new culture with just a handful of friends and I never thought I'd be here. I haven't quite figured out things like the recycling schedule or where to get my haircut or the yoga class where I won't feel like a loser. I've found a few things that are grounding. Good coffee. My 4 mile run. My favorite grocery store. The nearest Target. I got my license. But this holiday, I've hated that self-reflection moment that has come unnanounced like a train whistle--where I'm staring in the figurative mirror, questioning my motives.
2009 was Dramatic in a Major way. Two moves, three major deaths, many losses, a few heartbreaks (all of them still echoing), broken furniture, van trouble, career shakeups and changes, anger and sadness and joy and elation and hope. I made a few new soulmate friends. I wrote a few songs I'm proud of. I shed some weight, physically and psychically.
So think of this as a Facebook status update - a real one. Not the usual one we all love to post: the sleight of hand ironically funny with a modicum of truth that lets a sneak of you in. How about this. I am confused and rattled and grounded and floating. I am in the center of the seesaw, testing the gravity, slipping many times, catching the balance and then losing it. I could use a calm year. Normal sounds nice right about now.
Think I'll go walk my dog around my neighborhood now and listen to the birds and my neighbors' wind chimes as the flurries fall....