I hate it when there’s a good idea floating in the nethers of the ‘net and I find out about it too late. In this case, not TOO late, but later than I would have liked to have known about it, because now there is Catching Up to be done. And right now, “catching up” is just about the story of my life.
“It” is REVERB10, which is a series of daily prompts to encourage people to reflect on the past year and plan for the next. It's sort of ingenious, really, and complements so much of my blog reading this year, including The Happiness Project and The Art of Non-Conformity (specifically, the author's encouragement to create yearly plans). Plus, I'm a big fan of navel-gazing, particularly my own. I may not post a response to every prompt here, but rest assured I am following along. (Incidentally: one new writing tool I discovered recently is 750words, which is a place where you can write privately about things, based on the Morning Pages concept from The Artist's Way. It's free - right now, anyway- and provides a simple way of making sure I get at least some writing done every day, even if it is stream-of-conscious whining.)
But I digress! On to prompt #1: Find a word to describe 2010, and identify one for 2011.
I love this idea as I like succinct, even if the concept rarely applies to me. And I had actually been thinking about this anyway, as I wanted to spend 2011 focusing on one concept and thought that it might be helpful to find a word to sum up 2010. After much thought, I came up with the startling realization that 2010 was all about “Better”. Things got better in 2010. And, hallelujah…because for awhile there I thought I was truly doomed.
There are a host of reasons for this. 2009 was a really horrible year, for reasons I won't get into, and there really wasn't any way to go but up. My job change in August was a key factor in making 2010 "better", as was getting my cat. Having my family back from California also really helped. My guitar playing got better. My stress levels plummeted. While you wouldn’t know it to look at me, my health got better too, including my tension headaches (while they haven’t completely gone away, they became much less frequent after I changed jobs). And, save for a few icky weeks in October, I did not endure a raging case of seasonal affectedness disorder or a major depressive episode.
There are still a million things that need improvement, but for once: things got better. And there is much gratitude for that in my little heart.
As for 2011...I’m turning 40. Forty!!! My life is officially more-or-less half over, and I have so little to show for it that it is embarrassing. I’ve wasted so much TIME that I get anxious thinking about it. And a couple of recent conversations have left me rattled – one with my friend S. about the notion of ambition, and another with my guitar teacher about having a passion for something (in his case, guitar). At the moment I seem to be lacking in both the ambition and passion departments, and I’d like to end 2011 having one or both figured out. On a less ethereal plain, I need to lose weight, exercise, and start saving money like crazy so I can buy a house or a condo in the next few years so I can retire without a mortgage.
So despite the obviousness that I loathe, 2011 is the year of Forty. I don’t know exactly how this will manifest itself – lose 40 pounds, write 40 blog posts, write 40,000 words, read 40 books, sew a 40-block quilt…at the moment there seems to be enough possibilities to justify the theme. And let’s face it: it’s what I’m going to be thinking about anyway, so I may as well get something productive out of it.