Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

To borrow a phrase, "Bad choices make for great stories". 2009 must have been a stellar year for me in choice making because I have no good stories. Or, maybe 2009 was the year my mind finally began to fail and I just can't remember a damned thing. Either way, here I sit, twenty-six days into 2010 and all I can think of is how this so called, "New Year," feels suspiciously very much like the old one. *sigh*

2009 really stunk it up for most of the world in general and not a day went by that the headlines weren't filled with gloom and doom. The national unemployment rate was the highest since the Great Depression. Our country's families spent yet another year losing its daughters and sons in wars no one quite seems to understand. Banks that were "too big to fail" took billions of dollars from taxpayers in order to avoid "economic collapse" as we all stood by with empty pockets, watched them hand out multi-million dollar bonuses to each other and...watched our economy collapse. The stock market dipped and rose wildly while many of us watched our retirement plans and our homes lose half their value. The hope we so wildly clung to at the beginning of the year faded to a dull gray as the months of war between the Left and the Right raged on, oblivious to the ever-worsening plight of "We the People."

If I didn't regularly pay someone $85 to color my hair the shade of Denial, I'm sure I would have noticed that it all turned gray in 2009. It was a year of worrying, fretting, wringing my hands and trying to comprehend the unbelievable display of greedy, hateful, intolerant, dogmatic, partisan and downright ridiculous behavior of our nation's citizens.

It was a year during which millions of those who proclaimed themselves "Christians," donated a mind-blowing amount of money and worked tirelessly to squash a proposition which would have allowed millions of other Americans the right to marry the ones they loved. It was a year in which racism awoke from hibernation, rose up, and reared its ugly sleepy head to let the world know that it was indeed alive and well. It was a year which left our nation divided against itself, and a year which left many of us in fear that our nation could not stand.

2009 was also a year that saw Mr. Right holding firmly to his job. Yes, his wages were frozen and cutbacks were made, but he had a job to go to every day and brought home a paycheck without fail. Our health benefits stayed intact and his annual bonus survived the crisis. It was a year during which the cost of everything went up from groceries to credit card interest rates, but with a snip and a clip or three to the budget, we made it through just fine. It was a year we all stayed healthy minus a couple of mild cases of Swine Flu and some sneezes and wheezes here and there. It was a year in which we determined to bloom where we'd been planted and began the journey of discovering friends and making a life in this forsaken hellhole of a desert. (Okay, I admit it...I'm still working through the whole, "I hate Arizona," issue. Give me a break.) All in all, boring and mundane as it was, 2009 was a year we made it through relatively unscathed.

On the eve of 2010, I was gently nudged awake by Mr. Right who proceeded to plant a kiss on my lips and say, "Happy New Year!" And, that was that. (Try not to envy our wild and crazy life.)

The dawn of 2010 brought with it no fanfare, no bright and happy headlines and no new glimmer in the air that the winds of change might shortly begin to blow. No, it brought with it merely the rising of our same old warm and wonderful sun and later that evening, the remainder of a blue moon that looked familiar, peaceful and reassuring. In the following days as I heard the repeated refrains of, "Happy New Year," I smiled a little smile and whispered, "I hope...I hope...I hope."