- I don't have to be nice to anyone who is a dick. If this is at work, I will maintain and behave myself within reason. But if you are mean or cruel to a child, heartless and demanding to people I care about, and mostly think about yourself instead of the children we are ALL working for, don't expect anything extra from me. I don't smile, hug, or wave to people I don't like. If it's in my personal life, it's a little easier to pare them away. Boundaries are necessary and wonderful and BRILLIANT, but guess what? People who have gotten used to you always wanting to please don't much care for boundaries. Guess what else? It doesn't matter.
- The friendships I have managed to maintain over 10, 28, 36 years are priceless. The feelings that I get when I am around these people are hard to describe, but are so incredibly reassuring and comfortable. Sadly, none of these folks are local, but they're also not horribly far away. I resolve to make more of an effort to spend time with ALL of you people. Renee, Lesli, Beth, Lisa, Mona, Cara, and Adam...let's just make it happen. It doesn't always have to be because of a reunion, or a funeral, or a convention. You guys mean the actual world to me and you know what? Life is fucking short. Spend the time and the money required to be with people who feed your soul.
- We went through some tough stuff this year. It's all too personal for a blog post, but you know what I learned? No one is immune to a goddamn thing. Think "that" can't happen to you? You're wrong. Don't ever wrap yourself in that deceptive warm blanket of denial, because reality will end up kicking your ass. You get up, dust yourself off and take care of your business. I learned that I am able to deal with a WHOLE LOT of difficult shit, whilst working, washing dishes, and continuing to live life. Did I always deal with all of it with patience and grace? Ha, NOPE. I am a human being with intense emotions and a bad temper. But I do feel like we all dealt with things effectively and didn't ignore hard things. And HOLY HUMILITY. Humility is a good thing. We all go through awful stuff, and it's stupid to think that you won't. I'm not above anyone, and certainly not above any of the families I work with who are struggling.
- I care entirely too much about getting and looking old. It's fucking stupid and I need to get over it. Yep, I am a vain person and I own that, but I think it's time to start accepting some of this with grace. I'm not going to stop coloring my hair (TOTALLY white...my hair is white), or stop wearing makeup, or gain a lot of weight (I hope). But I am going to try to not obsess over every little thing that is changing as I age. I'll try to stop looking at my 10x magnifying mirror and being so tough on myself. I will be 49 in April. I'm not that bad. And honestly, NO ONE CARES. Just me. My husband is more interested in me now than he was when I was younger, shouldn't that be enough? Get over yourself, Jane. Move along. And go get your bifocals because you need them.
- As a mom, letting go is about 127 times harder than I thought it would be. I have an 18 year old senior now, with her own car, with her own job, who will be attending college in August. She's already been accepted to four, and is pretty sure the Bay Area is her destiny. She is an intelligent, funny, capable, and insanely talented kid. And now, I am working so incredibly hard at backing off. I still need to know where she is (roughly), and know what time she'll be home. But what I don't need to do is try to navigate every single difficult situation for her. She can do it. Soon enough we will be dropping her off at school and driving away. I know NOW that this will feel as uncomfortable and abnormal as when we left her as a baby for the first time. I remember saying it was like leaving the house without my arm. I will have to learn to live my life without my arm now. I won't say the cord is totally cut, but I have been diligently sawing away at it. I couldn't be more proud of the person she is becoming, now she gets to do it without me. She's always going to be my baby, but she's NOT me. Me feeling like I had to help her with every single aspect of her life is about me, not her. She will be fine. And now I will have four years to do the same thing to her brother. 🙄
- My faith has been shaky for awhile, and what has been nice about this year is that I'm okay with it being shaky. I'm disillusioned by faith way more often than uplifted by it. At the end of the day, it's not God's problem, it's the people who proclaim their faith the loudest. Some people are just full of shit, and that's their problem. I honestly don't believe that God loves me less for being disgruntled and questioning everything. I am lucky enough to have many people in my life who routinely question and debate issues regarding faith, and that we can all do it with love and acceptance. Questioning is how you grow. I've known this intellectually for years, but I don't think I really felt it until this year. When we were regularly going to church, I felt like I never fit in. I'm weird. I don't fit a mold. I curse a LOT. My marriage isn't "traditional"...ug, it feels weird even writing that! Our marriage WORKS, it's just that I work longer hours, Mike is the cook, and we really are partners. Neither of us is the "head of the household", we both are. So as far as the stuff we were fed about submission and honor, yada yada yada...it doesn't matter. I talk to God all the time, and I know He's still there. I just never managed to check all the boxes. Oh well.
- I've been dealing with some anxiety the last few years, and I haven't really faced it or talked about it before. I think the first time I really recognized it was when Sandy Hook happened in 2012, because I truly freaked the hell out. After that, some very close friends experienced close calls in life. Since those incidents, I know to take note of things when I start feeling really anxious. I can usually rein it in, it's not debilitating. However, I routinely worry about ridiculous crap. It can be day to day stuff, feeling like I am responsible for the state of everyone else's relationships, or imagining the worst possible thing happening all day long. Mindfulness and learning to ground myself helps. Learning to meditate helps, even though I am a major beginner. I'm also learning that my humor being a defense mechanism has it's place, but sometimes it exhausts even me. I don't have to make a joke out of absolutely everything, although I do see humor when others don't. Basically, while I won't be this way around everyone (nor should I), it's okay to cut the crap and be vulnerable sometimes. I'm always telling everyone else that it's okay!
Basically, anything can happen to any of us. Shootings, lockdowns, cancer, horrible accidents. I'd be lying if I said that the future doesn't scare me, because we are all in for pain and heartache. But going into this new year, I am going to do the very best I can to focus on the good, all the many things that make everything worth it. Music remains my constant companion, and well-written books ("Becoming" is awesome). My family is my life. I adore and lean on so many of my incredible co-workers, whose support and love have been invaluable. There is an amazing amount of good and beauty out there, people. Everyone can see it, but sometimes you have to take the time to look for it. It's worth it.
Happy 2019, folks!