It's the first morning of the new year, and I'm sitting here after having gotten very little sleep. I got up and cooked a mountain of pancakes and bacon for the hordes of teenagers that are still in my house, and I resorted to drinking a cup of coffee for the first time in a while, because I'm just that tired.
Interestingly, the coffee flavor is too strong and I'm reminded of how I don't actually like the flavor and never have (it was the other flavors like pumpkin spice that I actually liked. Curse going back to college and getting me hooked on it for several years!) I believe that this means my leaving coffee behind me is a success, and I doubt I'll ever drink it regularly again. Honestly, it hasn't done much to wake me up this morning either, so I'm left with it having no place at all in my life. Yay... I guess?
The teenagers are still here. Every where they go in the house the walls shake, the cacophony causes the furniture and knick-knacks to shimmer, and one of my eyes starts to twitch. Teenagers have an amazing capacity to annoy you and cause you to look back at your own life and ask the age old question: Was I ever that freakin' stupid?
My daughter is a well balanced teenager. She's smart, she's responsible, she's conscientious... and when she is in a crowd of other teenagers, her IQ drops about 75 points. She maintains her decorum for the most part, but it's a closely fought battle that is evident to anyone watching from the outside. This is the part of parenting that makes you fear for their survival into adulthood.
My husband and I have been doing a lot of reflecting upon the past year since before Christmas. For me, this was about asking why we are where we are with our health at this point. He's no healthier than I am, having gained weight just as I have (maybe not as MUCH as I have, since he's a guy and can sneeze and lose 5 lbs.) Our coping habits have been on red alert and much of our behavior has been about simply surviving. But why?
I finally figured it out, or really we did. Last night, when we had about an hour to go until midnight (and the teenagers were making such a ruckus that we're lucky we live in the country or the police would be stopping by to yell at us,) we asked the question about what GOOD things had happened in 2012. It caused our conversation to come to a screeching halt.
While there are a couple of good things that happened (like Lily, my focusing on my art business, and making a special new friend), the truth is almost nothing good really happened last year. Anything good we could name was technically rooted in the negative. When other people were being laid off, we were lucky enough to keep our jobs. While other people had their houses foreclosed on, we were lucky enough to make our payments. We didn't get in a car accident. An asteroid didn't crash into our house. See where I'm going with this?
Instead, things were about tension and bad things happening and us simply surviving them. The best I can really come up with for the bulk of 2012 was that we survived it.
I'm going to stop and say that I know a lot of you are doing gratitude journals, or jars, or boards, or what have you. It got very big when Oprah announced it as the cure to all that ails you many years ago. I'm not interested. I evaluate every day and I'm more than aware of all the little things I am "grateful" for, and going through an exercise like that - FOR ME - is incredibly irritating. So please, if you are engaging in it, that's wonderful for you. For me, no thank you, and please don't suggest it to me as a way to meet December 31, 2013 with a jar full of gratitude, because it'll make me want to kick you. (And no, no one suggested it to me here, but a lot are on Facebook and it's driving me batty, which is why I brought it up again.)
We survived 2012. I want to thrive in 2013.
So problem identified. 2012 could have been worse, anything can be worse, but the stress on the family for the year (really since September 2011) has been wearing. I can pinpoint a lot of the problems, but they are general and large, and none of them are easily answerable or we would have done that by now. That has brought us to this morning, and trying to figure out what would actually make this year better. We're looking at everything and asking all sorts of questions from should we move, work situations, family situations, and more.
I know, not very positive this morning, but this is where my head is at and where my brain is stuck. This is a big complex snarl and we're trying to figure that out. I feel better that we identified the underlying problem that we had kind of a bad year without really realizing it, because it makes so much more sense given our current state. Knowing there is a problem is a huge step! Now we're tying to figure out the next one, because we're unwilling to live a repeat of the last year.
Sorry for the downer thoughts. Maybe I'll perk right back up after I toss all the teenagers out! One can only hope!