2009 had been a pretty shitty year. The company I'd been working for, since they started operations in 2004, decided that the division I worked for was no longer worth the effort to maintain. Donna ended up in the hospital, for ten days, because of her digestive issues. I had my first seizure in nearly 20 years (and had it at work, no less!). My dad died just before Thanksgiving (apparently joining my Grandfather Ott in some kind of bizarre holiday tradition). So, the bar for 2010 to be better had been set pretty freaking low.
As we headed into the new year - 2010 - I felt glad to soon be shut of 2009. Unfortunately, I vocalized my feelings about the ending year and the coming year in what, in retrospect, may have been a carelessly challenging way to the Universe. While I didn't utter the words "it can't possibly be worse" or "it has to be better," I did say "2010 would have to try pretty hard to be worse than 2009 had been." Apparently the Universe heard me and said "close enough: I'll take that challenge".
In fairness 2010 wasn't awful, it was mostly vexing. On balance, it was probably better than 2009 had been. I mean, 2010 had death: specifically, the loss of our dog, Lana, at the beginning of December; and, tangentially-related, the death of my Dad's dog to a brain tumor. While I didn't have to change jobs, this year, I did have to put up with a lot of work-related stress. All the weight that I'd shed the prior two years (under different epilepsy medications) came back (under the medication I started in 2010). I still don't have my clearance sorted out - I've been in some kind of bureaucratic purgatory - but I have at least been able to do a couple things of worth (at least to those who pay me). And, Donna and I were able to end the year with a wonderful Caribbean Cruise.
Still, the death of our dog cast a pall over things. I'm a little less than a month shy of my 41st birthday. Her death was a reminder of my own mortality. The reminder wasn't so much in a "you're getting old, boy," kind of way, or the classic "death is stalking you" way, but more in a "how many more pets can you have before you need to start worrying that they'll outlive you" kind of way. In the end, I'm not currently afraid of dying as much as I am of leaving behind responsibilities unfulfilled.
The economy, while supposedly on the mend, has been hard on more and more people. While, to date, we've been fortunate to weather that storm, we've at least felt the peripheral effects. Several friends have been either directly effected or at least sufficiently indirectly effected to bring awareness of things closer to home than I'd like. Still, I feel fortunate and hope that we can remain so.
I'm not going to make any predictions about 2011. I hope that it's better:
- I hope that the addition of NewDawg and ending the year with the cruise are indicators that we might be coming out of the shadow that started to settle in the summer of 2007.
- I hope that Lana's is the last time that death visits us for a few years.
- I hope that my clearance issues sort themselves out. While I've been able to make myself productive, I still feel trapped by the nebulous state my working papers are in. It's not that I want to walk, but having the paperwork in place means I have a lot more flexibility and bargaining power if the tides of work-fortune start to shift. It also means that I have to be less reliant on others to "be my hands" at work. I chafe at my inability to be directly productive.
- I hope that my mom continues to adjust well to her new life. Hopefully, she'll enjoy her Alaska cruise, this coming year.
- I hope that I have no more reason to step foot inside a hospital - for myself, my family or my friends - beyond "well visits".