As I begin typing this, it's about 2:15 in the morning on January 1, 2009. I have just finished doing a little bit of clean-up after one of the most relaxing, enjoyable New Year's Eve celebrations I have ever experienced. I'm sure I'll finish this later today, after I've had some rest (mostly because I never post anything without re-reading and re-writing it a few times). Still, I will post this by the end of the day, as one of my resolutions is to blog more frequently.
Before the party started, as K-Sue and I were making final preparations, we paused for a private moment to thank one another for "being there" throughout the past year. In truth, '08 was not an easy year for us. I won't bore you all with details, but suffice it to say that we are glad to see it come to an end. Still, I have always believed that some good can be gleaned from even the most dire of situations, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite things about 2008:
I would be remiss without first mentioning the friends in our lives that have helped us through twelve tough months. Some friendships have been tested during this past year, and are all-the-stronger for it; true friends, the family we choose, find their way through tough times and conflict because they know the worth of that connection. That kind of love of is almost tangible and, in my mind, possibly the very best thing about the human condition.
New friendships have been born, and with them comes the promise of happier times ahead. For me, it's very self-affirming to know that people I respect and admire want to spend time with me. After all, these people could be in the company of anyone they choose. They choose me. That makes me happy, and gives me hope for a better self.
I'm happy that 2008 is also the year that the real "moral majority" in the United States made its voice heard. We elected a president that truly represents our potential. He spoke of change and hope in a way that, arguably, has not been heard since JFK. He had the audacity to say the things that needed to be said, no matter how trite, bold, or impertinent they may sound. He spoke of having faith, not in him, but in ourselves, to make things better.
I am happy, in a strange way, that my children are growing up - because of who they are becoming. Of course, all parents understand this strange conundrum. We all want our kids to stay young forever, but we know that our job is to help them grow. Watching my two ladies blossom over the past year has been.....humbling. I can hardly fathom their potential for greatness, and yet I must find ways to convey it to them. How do I explain to a 14- and a 10-year-old that which I do not fully understand? I can't do it with words, so I must resolve to do it through my actions. I will treat them with the respect and love that will send the right message. It's the only way I know.
I know it's not interesting or titillating, but I'm happy to have my job. In today's economy, I am about as safe as one can be, and I am grateful for the chain of events that lead me here. Yes, I work hard to make my employers happy, but there's more to it than that. I'm just plain lucky to be where I am right now, and I know that a lot of smart, hard-working people are not as fortunate as I.
Of course, my favorite things about 2008 is that I spent the year married to the best woman I know. She found me long ago in a cheap record store, took me in, and believed in me in a way I had never known. Anyone who knows me now may be hard-pressed to believe the person I once was, but she saw in me the potential to live a better life. That is a testament to the goodness of her heart and soul. I cannot imagine a life without her.
I wonder why we make such a big deal of celebrating the new year. Is it just another excuse to get together with friends and enjoy good food and libations? Certainly, we've had enough of that recently with both Thanksgiving and Christma-Hanu-Kwanza-Ka. No, I can only imagine that we are hoping to set the tone for the coming months. By welcoming the new year with festivity and celebration, we are making a statement: No matter what the past year brought, we will not stop working toward better things. Twelve months, no matter how difficult, cannot dampen our spirits or break our will. Better times are ahead, and we will not be denied.
My hope for you all is that 2009 is a banner year in every way, bringing you prosperity, friendship, and love. And if I get to share in that, or even have a hand in making it happen, my year will be even better.