As everyone’s been posting their year-end recaps and reflections, I’ve tried to wrap my brain around 2011. But even with some prompting questions from my friend Kristin, I really could not sum up this year in any sort of way. I realize after much consideration, it’s because I cannot separate this year from the few years that preceded it.
The past five years have been a period of significant life changes. In that stretch and in chronological order I’ve: bought a house, transferred jobs, moved to a different city, sold a house, had a long-term relationship end, shuffled friends, met my now husband, bought another house, had someone close to me die, had someone close to me give birth and gotten married. All of these things have significantly affected my life over the past five years.
I grew up in a comfortable suburban bubble in which change meant getting new teachers at the start of every school year or at worst a friend moving away. The few years before this period of major change were also relatively static, albeit sort of boring. So as life has hit me like a ton of bricks over and over for the past few years, I didn’t know how to deal with it. I’ve spent these past few years adjusting and reacting while learning to deal with the emotion of it all, for better or for worse. My internal GPS has been stuck saying ‘recalculating’ every couple minutes for five years, it seems.
I guess what I’m feeling for the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 is a shift in my dynamic. Barring any surprises from the universe, I sense I’m entering a more static stretch of life. There won’t be any relationship changes, we aren’t planning on moving any time soon, we won’t consider any job changes for about two years, we don’t want kids at the moment (or possibly ever). Though there’s still a chance of death or birth of loved ones, the structure to my life should remain mostly the same for a bit.
The difference between what lies ahead and my last relatively quiet period, is I know better than to just sit on my ass to catch my breath and relish the fact that there are fewer curveballs coming my way. Now I’m ready to start working on some more subtle changes — things that are more about the small, gradual steps that lead to bigger things rather than the bigger things themselves. And while the last few years were about learning how to deal with changes, I sense the next few will be lesson after lesson in patience, endurance and fortitude.
Last year, my word of the year was balance. I think I achieved that in unexpected ways this year, and I feel that my life is, in fact, a little more in balance thanks to my ability to better handle change. This year, my word, errr, phrase is ‘do things.’ For the first time in a few years, I’m going to craft a couple of resolutions, though they may not so much be things that have to get done in 2012 as much as things that I must work toward in 2012.
In the mean time, here’s to a present of doing things, a future of big accomplishments and days of auld lang syne. Happy new year!