There are so many good year-in-review and decade-in-review memes out there already so while I won’t be joining in on them, I can’t let 2009 slip by without some commentary on it.
In my little corner of the universe, 2009 definitely had its high points: I signed a deal for my second book during a very tough economic spell, I met Bill Clinton and chatted about health care reform, and I pursued new academic and freelance opportunities. I am incredibly grateful for all of these experiences.
I thought and wrote a lot about hope this year, a word that is as closely related to these high notes in my life as it is to the low ones. In fact, I’d argue that when I felt fragmented and run down or when I was disappointed, when all I could do was focus on just making it work, hope was even more important.
I’m not into making resolutions this year. I’d rather take what I’ve learned from 2009 and apply it to 2010. Despite some really great developments, 2009 was a long, tough year, a year that pitted my strengths against my weaknesses in a major way. I am a planner and a control freak, and the more crazy life (and health) gets, my tendency is to push back even harder. I had a ton of pressure on me this year, and so much of what I needed to do hinged on me being able to control the one thing I can never fully control: my health.
In a much broader way, I think 2009 was a year that challenged so many of us on that front, healthy or otherwise: sometimes we can do our very best but other factors can dictate so much of our success or failure.
It is one thing to say that having hope is important, but it is another to be truly willing to accept things that are out of your control, to have hope things will work out even if in the moment, you can’t see how or when. That is the hard part for me, anyway.
When I think about the past year and the past decade, I have to admit that some of the most important and life-changing developments were ones I never planned for, never even knew to look for: meeting my husband (six years ago tonight, actually); getting my MFA, meeting the friends in college, graduate school, and beyond who mean so much and who feel like family; starting this blog; etc.
There are many more examples like this, but the point is, sometimes you just have to be open to chance and possibility. All the planning in the world does not guarantee we will get what it is we think we want, and sometimes we don’t know what we want or need until we find it. At points this year I think I was so bogged down in surviving that I lost sight of the importance of the unexpected, that sometimes hope means trusting in what we cannot yet envision.
In this post, I reflected on the idea that a person needs three things: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. This is what I want to carry with me into 2010, and into the next decade.
Have a wonderful (and safe) New Year’s, and may 2010 bring you as much health and peace as possible.
Thank you for reading.