It is that time of year again - the calendar ends/begins its twelve month cycle and as we throw out the old planner pages, we can't help but reflect on the used up days of 2011. Judging from the majority of tweets, blogs and status updates that I've read (or just skimmed), 2011 has been a rough year for a lot of people. They seem to be happy to be rid of it. I think I can sum up my feelings about my own experiences in 2011 with one word: meh.
My 2011 wasn't horrible, but it wasn't high on the list of great years either. It was just . . . there. I guess on paper it looks kind of rough, but . . . not really. Am I just balking at the trend to dissect and analyze the last year? Am I bored? Am I desensitized? I might have to take a closer look. (No matter what it looks like, I will NOT be going month by month.)
The first major event of 2011 for me was my dad's latest surgery. He had yet another procedure done on his back. I have no idea what it was supposed to do, but I know that the anesthesia messed him up royally. Mom actually took me up on my offer to come up and help her with him. I got there just hours before they moved him to a rehab facility and hours before he got a nasty little fever. Bottom line is that he is okay and the surgery was a success. But it was nasty there for a few days.
I got back home and a week or so later found out that I have the beginnings of osteoarthritis in a couple of my joints. Dad was diagnosed with the same thing around my age and that has been the cause of most of his surgeries. Yippee. That kind of threw me into a tailspin since I had just come home from a weekend dealing with what could conceivably be my future.
I took matters into my own hands and consulted with a wonderful naturpath/nutritionist. She told me that the biggest thing she could recommend would be to give up gluten. I figured, what have I got to lose? I'll try it for a couple of months. I lost the arthritis pain. I lost the early morning grogginess. I gained the ability to wear cute shoes again. Score one BIG one for being gluten-free. Any time I start the pity party and think of how much I miss garlic bread, I just remember 1) how it feels to walk with pain and 2) that gluten now causes me stomach cramps and I'm able to let it go. Yay gluten-free!
Last spring I decided that it would be "fun" for my classes to write and produce an original musical in class. It was, if your definition of "fun" is "intense stress brought on by writer's block, looming deadlines, weekly hopeful looks from 5th and 6th graders and eye rolls from 7th and 8th graders". I'm pretty proud of the scripts, in a first draft kind of way. One day I'll go back and re-write them. I like the plots and the characters and I think that they could be really good. Again, the negative and the positive balance out to . . . meh.
This year I neither lost weight nor gained weight. I wear the exact same size right now that I have all year. I must confess that my current weight is about 7-10 pounds over what I would like it to be. But I'm encouraged that I'm not steadily going up. I have not worked out all year. This bit of information tells me that if I do start working out, I might actually lose the 7-10 pounds. An interesting theory that I'd love to test. I will not, however, commit to a workout schedule. Every time I've done that this last year, I've either gotten sick or hurt. So . . . I think I'll sneak up on a work out when I'm least expecting it. (I have no idea what that means. I'm trying to be sneaky!)
Summer was hot. And dry. And freaking hot. The worst part of it was not the heat nor the dryness - it was the constant threat of fire. In April, we had a fire almost directly across the highway from our house. The helicopters carrying water flew directly over our house. Our neighbors spent the day with us at my brother's house, just in case. We swam at his pool and pretended that we weren't scared that the wind was going to change course. It didn't and we slept in our own beds that night. A few months later, some dear friends of ours were not so lucky. The Labor Day Bastrop fires claimed their house along with over 1600 other homes.
Hubby and I were able to get away for a weekend in late July and hang out with some friends while being kid-free. We enjoyed some MUCH needed down time. In keeping with the down balancing the up, the second day of our vacation I developed shingles. Yep, dream come true. BUT, I got treatment within the all-important 72 hour period and the duration of the outbreak was less than two weeks. I read on the internet where symptoms can remain for up to 6 weeks on average. Mine were completely gone in two. Gone. That may be my biggest praise for 2011 because at the one week mark I was on the phone to the doctor's office on a Sunday begging for better pain meds. (By the time they got back to me the next day, I didn't need them.)
The fall has been downright pleasant! I love the one Musical Theatre class that I'm teaching (5th and 6th grade - all girls!), and I love that I'm helping to teach a Film Making class. I spend more time up at school and have enjoyed getting to know my colleagues more. The students that I have in my classes are bright and engaged, creative and fun. I don't dread my classes like I did last year. (That could be in part because of the fact that I am NOT writing our production.) The same theme again - I had a really rough spring 2011 at school, and now fall of 2011 has balanced out the negative. Even keel.
So you can see that I'm not as vehement about leaving 2011 behind as others. It was pretty okay. I have high hopes for 2012, but I'm not putting all of my eggs in one basket. I know that if 2012 just plain stinks, it'll be gone soon enough. And if it rocks beyond belief, it'll still be gone soon enough. Life goes on and on. Always. I just want to make sure that I'm experiencing the good and the bad and appreciating both.
I'll close with a fantastic quote: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. (Ferris Bueller) Here's to looking around a lot in 2012.