I always feel that while one year is being bundled up to put in storage and the next year is being shaken open like a new set of bed linen, one ought to mark both events with a comment or two: How did I do this past year? Would I give myself a plus or a minus, and what were the key issues that I used to determine the answer to those questions. Did I hold my own against 2012? Was it a good year, a bad year or simply mediocre. Do I have hopes, dreams and plans for the next? Or am I past the point for hopes and dreams? All things considered, should I be content to simply be happy with the “here and now” and put the hopes and dreams, reflections and judgments in storage alongside the past year?
Believe me, coming up with 10 or 12 resolutions for 2013 would be a whole lot easier than what I intend to mull over in the next few days. The fact of the matter is that I feel 2012 was kind of a wash – a few good things and a few bad things, nothing of great import – which made for a pretty boring year. I’m tempted to say “wasted” year, but I think maybe that’s too harsh. So here’s my judgment of 2012 so far:
2012 – I say a PLUS for pushing the medical poo-bahs to give me tests to rule in or rule out Pulmonary Hypertension. The answer was: It’s out, and I got my life back.
2012 – I say a MINUS for not having a major project to work on. Oh, I gave a bunch of home-made knitted items to the homeless group here in Riverside, but this somehow didn’t have the feel of a “project,” merely a decent use of my spare time. Though I hate to say it, I don’t consider that very notable.
So in anticipating 2013, here’s what I need to do:
2013 – The PH doctor asked me how much I exercised. I said to him, “How much is a 77 year old supposed to exercise? My exercise is actually done by curling up on my couch and making my eyes go back and forth across the pages of a book.” He laughed when I told him that, but he asked if I could walk? Of course I could walk. I wouldn’t like it, but physically I could do it now that I’m not sick. So for the last 5 days I’ve been out the door between 6:30 and 7 a.m., bundled up like the abominable snowman in a SoCal cold snap, walking a mile while listening to “The Best of Chicago” on my iPod, I’ve made myself an Excel chart – and type A personality that I am, I will make sure that it doesn’t end up an embarrassment. Keep at it, kid, I tell myself!
2013 – I have found myself a book club to belong to. I am determined to be an eager participant and not a critic. It is a non-fiction book club, so I’m less apt to feel myself a total dumbbell when the literati begin talking about all the things in the book at a deeper level than I could even process.
2013 – My children gave me a year’s subscription to Ancestry, which I’m activating on January 2. My intention is to go after some of the hard stuff that I don’t have and would sure like to discover before I can no longer research! I want their wonderful gift to COUNT! The worst thing I can think of is that my kids consider me a redundant dunderklumpen.
2013 – Most importantly, I must find a big project – or a couple of them. Until last year, each year I drew up a list of 5 projects I wanted to complete, scotch-taped that list on my printer and was reminded of them every time I sat down at my desk. I was constantly motivated to complete the list and most every year did. However, I didn’t do that last year. But I can see that this is what I need to do. I wonder if I still have any bright ideas lurking around in my heart and soul, not to mention my brain. Do you suppose?
I wonder how much expectation an ordinary person of my age can reasonably have about structuring a rich, productive year? And this then reminds me of an old Ann Landers column about the middle-aged woman who was consulting a counselor about going back to college to finish up her degree. She said, “I’d love to go, but it would hardly pay to do so, because when I finish I’d be 55 years old.” And the counselor she was talking to said, “Well, how old will you be if you don’t go back?”
So there’s where the year of 2012 ends and where 2013 begins. Right now I’m standing between them, glad to be past one and a little anxious about the other.