I seem to always look back on the year gone by on December 31 and look forward to the year ahead on January 1 – even knowing the artificiality of these arbitrarily designated days. Does it really mean anything to say that one year has ended and a new one is beginning, when were it not for the calendar we’d probably see no difference upon waking tomorrow morning compared with waking today?
But in a way, I do sense a palpable ending/beginning rhythm to the year. Christmas vacation involves such a build-up of activity; now we clean up the mess, enjoy a couple more days of sleeping late, rally to complete those household tasks put off for the past ten days (my kids really need to find time to clean out their school backpacks and put away their Christmas presents between now and bedtime Sunday), and look toward the coldest, bleakest part of the winter – a perfect time for hunkering down and regrouping on projects, resolutions, plans, goals and hopes.
Today, though, I’m still thinking about 2009. Every year at this time, I’m a little bit amazed to look back at the variety that the past year contained. This might not be apparent from an outside view of my life. I continue living in the same house with the same people, writing for many of the same publications, involved in many of the same activities and groups. But to me, it still feels like the past twelve months encompassed a lot of different elements. I didn’t expect to have such a wonderful time in New York last February; the 48 hours of fabulous dining, sightseeing and Broadway exceeded my expectations in every way. And I never imagined when 2009 began that I’d spend a week at the Aspen Summer Words conference, nor that the experience would prove to be so rewarding: during my six days there I made new friends, read a lot of interesting work, networked with other writers, and learned a lot about the craft. Also influencing major shifts in my work during 2009 was my new agent, who prodded me to get with the social media program, so now I blog and Twitter as well as just writing.
The year included many interesting article assignments for the various publications I write for, and I have a new editor at the Globe who’s terrific to work with. I picked up a few new corporate clients and made a few new friends. Our community suffered some significant losses but my closest circles, mercifully, did not. We hosted some fine events and attended others. The kids learned, played and thrived. Rick started a new job; Holly learned to ride a bike. I ran at least a mile all 365 days. I neither gained nor lost weight (though I did lose some night vision. It happens). I attended my twenty-fifth high school reunion, which while not the peak experience it might have been was still a convivial way to spend a Saturday. I read some magnificent books and articles, and put my own manuscript through several revisions before offering it to a few friends to read and critique. I didn’t give enough to charity, but I tried to help out when and where I could.
It was a good year, a fortunate year, a blessed year. I’m looking forward to the next one. And I’m realizing that just like a year ago, I simply have no idea what the upcoming 12 months will turn out to hold for us.