I’ve been sitting here on and off today reading many interesting posts that people have written looking back at 2008 and thinking ahead to 2009 which of course lead me to thinking about my own year. My therapist warns me against looking back too often as it leads to depression or looking forward too much as it often leads to anxiety. But today I am going to chance looking in both directions.

It was a year in which I read a lot of books though I didn’t keep track of them. I wish I had and I admire those that do. I wish had made lists of books and what I thought of them so later, when I wanted to discuss it with a friend, I would remember. Perhaps someday.

It was a year of mostly not writing. The not writing terrified me but the trying to survive took all I had. I’ve tried to keep in mind one of my favorite quotes from my birthday twin, Ernest Hemingway, "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places."  I am ready to be strong now.

It was a year that I spent many hours, days, weeks worrying over both of my children, the health and mental problems they have, and the fact that there is nothing I can do to make life any easier for either of them. I have cried a lot this year and it has all been for my children. I am ready to try and find a way to write about this pain, not around it.

It was the year I turned 50, which in itself lead me to more introspection. I thought a lot about the kind of person I am and the kind of person I want to be. That sort of introspection is good, or at least it was for me. As I get older I find I am more willing to look closer now. I am less afraid of what I see. I drew a line in the sand and said no to carrying all that old baggage with me into the second half of life. I am ready to live more in the moment, to be here, now.

It was the year I said goodbye to my beloved Border Collie, Chelsie. Man that was hard but it also brought me closure. Chelsie was my last link to my life in New Orleans, the last reminder of some things I would rather not remember. Sometimes I wonder if what I remember from that time in my life is real as it seemed so unlike anything I have ever known. I don’t know that I am ready to write about those years, not yet, but perhaps I am ready to take that pain and let it fuel stories of hope. I will try.

It was the year I lost my day job. I have wanted to quit for years but wasn’t brave enough and wasn’t sure I was really ready. Being laid off took all that decision-making out of my hands. Lucky me! Really. I don’t know if I ever would have found the courage to quit on my own so I am very grateful for getting a push outside my comfort zone.

It was the year that Casie came into my life, reminding me that puppies are everyday lessons in patience when you are trying to do anything but spend time with them.

It was the year we removed both our front and back lawns (to the dismay of the neighbors) and installed our California Native Plant garden.

It was the year of growing a few new friendships and rebraiding the frayed threads of a couple of old ones.

Looking back at 2008 I see pain but I see growth and that’s okay.

Looking ahead at 2009 I see a year filled with potential. What more can a person ask for?

[info]laurasalas does something I find interesting. Every year she picks a theme for the year. I think I’m going for a double this year.

Mine is "BE KIND." I want to be kinder to myself and to other people. But I also want to take more chances. Some people might say I take chances now but I still play too much of my life on the safe side. Most importantly, I need to take chances with my writing. I need to write my stories, my way, and trust that they will find a home.

Happy and safe new year to everyone.