Year in Review

Champagne in my Waterford Crystal flute (millenium collection).
I'm scared to use these, so it only happens once or twice a year.

I do not make New Year's resolutions. I thought I'd just let you know right off the bat in case you were actually expecting to find such a list here. Do I need to lose weight? Yes. Do I need to become more fiscally responsible? Yes. But, I just don't see the point in setting oneself up for failure by making a list of false promises. I'll tell you one thing that irritates me: the parking lot at the YMCA in January. My daughter starts a new round of swim classes on Monday the 4th. Everybody and their mailman will be there acting on their stupid resolution. Meanwhile, I'll have to park in Zimbabwe and carry my four-year-old child through single-digit temperatures and snow to get into the building. Seriously, if you are at the Y to get fit, park farther the fuck away. The first Weight Watchers meeting after 1/1 will also be packed to the gills. Don't get me wrong - I wish everyone the best of luck with their New Year's resolutions, but history shows that the parking lot at the Y will thin out by February and the WW meeting will be more sparsely attended by then, too. Make a change because you're ready and it's the right time - not because of a specific date on the calendar. A little tip from me to you.

Instead of making a list, I'll share one highlight from 2009 and one lowlight.

Highlight: attempting to conquer my public speaking angst. As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, I contacted the program chair at church last spring and volunteered to speak at a service in the fall. At our church, our pastor is in the pulpit every other week, and the intervening weeks are filled by speakers from inside and outside the fellowship. The topics are varied and vast, usually relating back to the 7 Principles of Unitarian Universalism.

I spent a fair amount of time over the summer working on my presentation. As a ten-year veteran of rescue work, I called it "Reflections on Rescue: Breaking and Repairing the Human/Animal Bond." I tried to weave in some thoughts on the spirituality of animals. I included specific examples from my volunteer work. I wrote about dogs who were adopted, and those who died. I worked on it until I began to fear that I had reached the point where any further changes would make it worse, not better.

Finally, October 4th rolled around. I was just getting over the plague, but felt I was as ready as I'd ever be. I stood in front of the congregation and delivered my written words to them. I didn't stumble much and managed to get through the part about the death of my Lucy without tearing up. It is a tradition in our church that the congregation gets a few minutes at the end to join in the discussion. I was gratified to see so many people eager to get their hands on the microphone, to tell me about dogs they've loved, relationships they've cherished.

After the service, a lot of my fellow members came up to me to tell me how much they'd enjoyed the presentation, how I should have warned them to bring Kleenex, how they didn't know about this other side of me. In the weeks following, I continued to get a lot of positive feedback. A lot of people saw me with new eyes, and I was glad I'd taken the chance and created this challenge for myself. It leaves me wondering if I might be able to pull it off again someday.

Lowlight: I lost my job. Sort of. I've worked at the same place for 13 1/2 years. In 2006 my division was spun off as a separate company. The company went through some financial difficulty and we lost half our staff in September. Work has been extremely stressful since that date. I never realized until this year just how closely my food issues are related to stress. I'm over my goal weight right now and am hoping that when things settle down, so will my weight. The company was sold yesterday. The new company made me a job offer, so I'll start there on Monday. The offer is for less money and fewer benefits, which pains me more than I can adequately express, but I am fully cognizant of the fact that one is grateful to have a job in this economy.

The other challenge I faced in 2009 was, of course, the death of my friend Kevin. I still miss him and think of him every day.

Here's to 2010. The year I turn 40. :::shudder:::