December 31, 2008


10, 9, 8...

I don't do New Year's Resolutions, mostly because I'm smart enough to realize I'm too old to change much, and too stupid to remember there is always room for improvement.

We all want to be more something, but I figure you don't need a new calendar year to start making changes. Like many people, I thrash around this time of year looking for hints of what may come, and trying to play down the negative impact of things that have passed. Everyone knows it's a slow, slow news time of year - if I see one more Top Ten List, I may just barf.

I'm watching many friends tussle with many changes - job changes, family changes, internal struggles and personal upheavals. I've wandered over several 'year-to-come' horoscope things (told you it was a slow time of year), and I'm getting a little busted up to keep reading the same thing, over and over, for me: I am apparently going to be more vulnerable. Like most of you, I believe a horoscope if it says something I like. I'm not sure if this is good or bad, so I'll let you know if I finish out 2009 in a puddle of tears.

Frankly, unless I start bleeding out of my pores, I'm not sure how much more vulnerable I can become. Nor am I certain I could bear it. I already wear my heart on my sleeve, and I'm spending most of my time trying to jam it back in my chest.

I worry from one end of the spectrum to the other. A friend is navigating a first holiday season after the death of a spouse, a reader is waiting to drop the divorce bomb because, well, January just seems like it might be easier. It isn't. Another friend's young daughter is battling cancer - there are no words.

In the middle, the economy is rumbling beneath all our feet, and I wonder about discussions in too many households when the Christmas bills start arriving. We've had it easy for too long, in too many respects. Every chit eventually gets called in.

At the stupid end, I have a reader busting my chops because I call my boyfriend The Poor Sod. Once and for all, I get that some of you don't like the appellation. Once and for all, it's gonna stay. It is not an insult; it is not derogatory; maybe your upbringing has instilled a different use of the term in you, but grow a sense of humour and get over it - or, here's a thought - if my work offends you so much, skip it. It's quite easy, really. There are writers I don't like. If they have habits that bug me, and their work offers no redeeming value, I don't read. If they have quirks I don't share, but I find something in there anyway, I accept that I don't get to be The Decider for language usage and world interpretation.

I have readers who are sick; I have readers whose families are falling apart; I have readers who have lost their jobs, and these are issues that matter. These are things I care about, and these are things I will bother worrying about. If your moanings and groanings are of inconsequential things, count yourself lucky and move along.

Nope, I'm not worrying about diets and sit-ups and quitting or starting things that may curtail or prolong my life. The best laid plans, and all that, rarely matter in the greater scheme of things. I'll try to create opportunities in matters of business, and recognize them in matters of the heart. My kids laugh at me because I tell friends I love them - often. I hang up the phone, and they ask 'who are you loving now?'. But, they're good words to feel, freeing to say, and better to hear. Don't ration them. You have the power to give someone wings.

My mom used to tell me that you get back twice what you give out. I of course wondered why we couldn't just run around handing out twenty dollar bills and wait for the windfall to find us, and she would just smile. But she was right; a nominal kindness one day is repaid when you expect it the least, and need it the most. A generosity of spirit has nothing to do with money - we can all be rich.

3 Comments:

Blogger DJ said...

Let me say first, Happy New Year.

Now, let me speak for a group of your readers (at least the ones in our house)

We read you because we can relate, its kind of a 'were all in this boat together' thing (insert Red Green voice here)

I dunno for others, but reading you makes me feel better about my own crew here at Dysfunction Junction. Not that you seem worse off, just that its the same all over.

I'm sure I speak for many that your'e the kind of neighbour we'ed all like to have come over for too much coffee and shoot the poop.

Sure you care about your readers, and that comes through, but you probably suffer from what my family calls 'save the world syndrome'

So keep going, dare to give a damn, but realize that when you sign up to save the world, no matter how much you try or want to, you can't save everyone.

Sounds like you missed the 'It's a Wonderful Life' marathon on Christmas Eve.

Get your jammies on and play the DVD.

Go.

Now.

and Happy New Year dammit.

DJW

December 31, 2008 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will be a Happy New Year, because we have 'our' Lorraine.

I thought I'd start off by letting you know that although I may not always agree with your opinions, I respect them and they even tend to give me food for thought!

Now, Lorraine, I would like to once again thank you for your 'wake-up' blog dated Dec. 22/07. I was the one who wrote to you about my Dad and my recollection of the tight skates and how Dad showed us his love (without having to say the actual words). I promised to enjoy Christmas and forget about the chores at home ... I did and was rewarded greatly. We had a fantastic Christmas which was enjoyed by all (or maybe I was just more in tune with my surroundings).

On Jan. 28/08, my dad was diagnosed with eosophageal cancer - terminal stage. He faught harder than any 85 year old should have to (but thankfully, we were surrounded by exceptional care at the JCC here in Hamilton - which included phone calls from staff to me at home on a Friday afternoon to see if all was well and to let me know who to contact in case things took a turn for the worse - unreal!). Dad passed away on June 22/08, leaving a numb family and a devistated 86 year old wife of 62 years.

Because, in no small part, of the afore mentioned 'wake-up call', I found myself stepping right in and enjoying every possible moment those five months gave us - good and bad. Dad's illness allowed us to get to know each other on an far more intimate level than I've know with my parents for my entire 54 years. My Dad never once said "why me" and even as the cancer took more and more, he was always greatful for what he was still able to do.

I took my cues from Dad and I hope he was as proud of my behaviour as I was his. Just days before Dad passed, I promised him that I would always be there for Mom (this was done for his peace of mind, because I knew I wasn't going anywhere).

As I know you can appreciate, we have been through several 'firsts' already this year, and like I did with Dad, I'm taking my cues from Mom for how to proceed.

Although we still don't verbally say "I love you" (my parents both grew up in families that were uncomfortable in expressing themselves this way - luckily I have broken the cycle with my own kids), I know it is said with daily actions - some make us laugh and some make us cry. But most of all we are able to remain open and respectful of each other.

As you can probably tell by my rambling, I'm no writer, but I wanted to share with you that I'm a lucky person, Lorraine, because I am finally living in the moment - for good or for bad.

All the best to you and your family for a happy & HEALTHY 2009!

Brenda

December 31, 2008 4:21 PM  
Anonymous buzzwhack said...

I'm gonna say "have a cool Yule and a frantic First!" College students will know what that's all about. Yes, it's bad to see people having a tough time of it. All you can do is your best to make sure your brood isn't suffering then try to help others out where possible.

December 31, 2008 8:15 PM  

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