If I were to sum up this year in one word it would be: Yeegads!!! Triple exclamation points are necessary for this one. The remarkable thing is how quickly the time passed, and if you’re into numerology at all it’s because this was a 5 year. Anyway, this was the year of dichotomy because while it went so incredibly fast, there was also a component that made certain moments and situations go so painfully slow. This was a year of losses – on a grand scale and personal – and of picking up the pieces and somehow moving on looking for the bright side in what to me at times felt like I was one mile down a mineshaft with my miner’s lamp gone out.
I am happy to say that I followed the pitter patter of running rat feet up to the surface and while I think I’m still in here, I can see daylight. And I’ve fed the rats to the cats so life is good, lol.
Can you tell I’ve been writing lately? That’s one of my highlights. My lowlights? The financial and personal implosion that caused the lights to go out in the first place. But before I go on, as much as I don’t want to, I will say a few words about world events. There are life parallels in that this was a hugely destructive year.
I won’t go into a missive on the horrors that were faced in 2012. There have been thousands of posts on each of these events and quite frankly I don’t think that anything I have to say on them would add any particularly enlightening insight. There have been a series of mass shootings that to me brings home the idea that rights of the individual shouldn’t be so feverently clung to that it allows for people to have the right of access to weapons that are more properly used by military or police. What about the rights of people not to be gunned down en masse by a person with a desire to act out their violent fantasies? The same day that the Newtown CT shooting happened, a man in China did the same thing at a school with a knife. The difference between the two is that though the numbers of victims were similar, the Chinese students were injured. Injured. Not dead. Yes, people can do the same thing with a bomb, but you can’t buy a bomb in a Walmart. Bombs are illegal. They can be homemade, yes, but with people who have lost their grip on reality the saying when there’s a will there’s a way applies. My comment on this is simply: we can’t prevent every possible crime, but we can make it just a bit more difficult to do. Much like we can’t stop weather; there will be tornadoes and avalanches and earthquakes and volcanoes. What we can do is not build on fragile ground like homes on the shore of the ocean, or on a cliff in an earthquake prone area…you get the idea. And in freak storm times, like hurricane Sandy when it turned on the East Coast, you head to higher ground and hope there’s something left when it’s all over.
So that brings me back to my life. I am sitting on higher ground now after the storm that wiped out my finances. I realize I was living on the shore of the ocean that is banks and credit card companies. To a big degree yes, it’s my fault for using the increased limits of credit cards that happened regularly in the 1990s and early 2000’s. What wasn’t my fault was believing that pay is something earned and received in a reasonable amount of time, that when they say 10 days or 4 to 6 weeks to straighten out a problem will actually be that and not 3 months or 14 weeks. That when you’re working on a project receiving project pay that it won’t be argued over which Department pays for it and then clawing it back from the person who did the work because no agreement could be made. I learned in very stark ways that after 31 years I really was just a number, that my accomplishments meant nothing to anybody but me, and that – saddest of all – nobody cared that their errors were destroying my life. Who needs that?
In the end though, the bright spot was realizing that maybe it’s time to be me. As I watched the waves of destruction bigger than I could stop wipe away what was my life, I also saw it as clearing the slate for the next phase of my life. I looked at where I wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing. From that perspective I saw that maybe this destruction was just what I needed to move forward to what I should be doing.
I left work Sept. 28, 2012 and since that time I’ve been writing and relaxing and clearing my mind from the anxiety that was my constant companion this year until then. I still have things to worry about, but well rested and happier I can face them better. And if there’s anything that people should know about me is that I love possibilities and it’s been a great pleasure looking at all the possibilities down the road.
I couldn’t finish the university course I was taking due to having no free time, but I did finish Nanowrimo (yay me!). Now I’m about to write the essay that will be my entry for the CBC Creative Non-Fiction contest, and then Geneve Blue will absolutely get Off-Air published, I Ching Jukebox into ebook and paperback forms, and the Nanowrimo novel will be finished, edited and hopefully published this year. My house will be cleaned, painted, repaired as much as finances permit, and then sold. Somehow or other I will get to New Brunswick. These are my plans. The moving part depends a lot on money of course, because I may have to get a part time job until the cleaning and selling is done, which of course will slow things down, but the intention is there. That’s half the battle.
I am beyond glad this horrible year is over. If there’s any lessons people have learned from it, I hope that it’s time to stop thinking in absolute terms and approaching disagreements with inflexibility; remember, negotiation isn’t negotiation if no one is willing to bend a little to come to a mutual agreement. It’s time to say no to the powers that be (and that “be” could be anybody) who persist in dividing us into groups and creating an “us and them” atmosphere. It’s become a universal cancer in society and it has to stop. People of the world need to realize that until we all come together towards a common ground there will always be conflict. You know, there’s so many difficult things people need to face that are real that we don’t need to create more problems for each other. So how about it, how about we approach things from the middle this year? Looking at issues from the extreme edges means you leave out the heart of the matter; while the temptation of hard and pat answers are quick and appealing they just don’t work – that’s what we’re living right now.
Ian Punnett, for those who don’t listen to Coast to Coast or 107.1 Minneapolis is a radio host who is also a Deacon. In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting he delivered a sermon that is worth a read. Here’s the link: http://stclements.episcopalmn-sites.org/files/2012/02/Sermon.December.16.2012.pdf. It highlights the ridiculousness of the absolute, in this case the lack of prayer in school. We need to stop blaming and finger-pointing and get to the truth of whatever we’re facing. As Ian says, listen to that still small voice.
This year the still small voice told me that when your world is at your feet in ashes, you pick up the embers to light a new fire. Wherever anybody finds their fire is where there is passion, and what we need now is people to have passion and show that passion. Care. Speak up. Act on your truths and for heaven’s sake, don’t just act on the pap the so-called experts are feeding us. If it doesn’t ring true, it isn’t.
My passion is and always has been creativity: writing, painting, music. So if you want to know where I’ll be in this 2013, that’s where I’ll be.
Happy New Year everyone, let’s make this year a good one.