I decided that instead of just sharing this letter with my social media crew, I’d put it out here, in my blog, for the whole world to see. I realize you don’t know me, so some of the things I have to say to myself may not make any sense or resonate with you, but maybe, just maybe, you’ll be inspired/amused/angered/betrayed enough to spur you into doing something. Or not. Your call, really.
I’ve been working on this letter for days, now, several different iterations later, I think maybe I finally have it right. It’s fitting, I suppose, since that’s sort of how 2014 went, and all those years before… since I started writing these, at least. Those of you who have been with me since the beginning of these letters knows that it’s been a pretty crazy ride since my life changed dramatically in 2011.
I want to first thank you. All of you. Those of you who are still here, those who have moved on, and those who are no longer with us — each and every one of you made today possible. Every single one of you made sure I held it together, made sure I kept going, even when I didn’t think I could. Everything I do is a little monument to your dedication and friendship and I fully expect to spend the rest of my life finding ways to repay your kindness.
So, onto the letter proper!
New Year’s Day is like any other day, really, so the fact that I chose this arbitrary day and not, say, March 17th or August 24th, to do a yearly round-up isn’t really all that special. But it is important that I keep doing these. The chronicle is good for me and I think other people sometimes get some use from it, too. This past year has been an interesting one, as years ago, and a lot of things have changed. The biggest of those changes, I think, was in April, when we lost our Judith.
Oh, Judith…. I still break out in tears when I think about you. Your death has been such a loss in the community of writers that we formed — your death has been such a loss to me, to Sue, to all of us. We still feel it every day… our real life friends and companions think we’re crazy when we take the sight of a wild rabbit as a hopeful sign you’re still with us, even a little bit.
I’m not ashamed of how much I loved you. You were like a sister to me. It’s hard for me to get too close to people — but it was never hard with you. I have no doubt I will spend the rest of my life missing you profoundly. My only regret was not spending more time with you… always too busy with work, too wrapped up in a world that spins out of my control 24 hours a day. Judith, I’m so sorry for that.
I know that most people think that the biggest challenge this year was all the medical stuff — two nasal surgeries, an unholy number of tests and procedures, but it wasn’t. It was Judith. Not just her loss, but the crushing feeling that life is too too unpredictable and death is a sudden and definite stop for all of us.
I think that means something different to everybody, but for me, that means I have to learn to set boundaries — with friends, with clients, within my marriage — that allow me to do more of what I need to do for my own well-being. I need to spend more time with those people who are awesome and bring me up and I need to spend more time doing things that make me feel good about myself.
I need to work better and torture myself less over the imperfect words that come out of my keyboard. They will never be perfect. They can’t be perfect. I have to accept that — that’s one of my greatest downfalls. The pressure of perfection, it gets to me and leaves me mentally frozen. And that’s no place to be. This year, I’m letting go of that. I’m going to learn to accept that close enough is OK. There are not enough words in this language to express what I mean most of the time — so instead of torturing myself, I’m going to accept the flaws inherent to human expression.
There were a number of challenges in 2014 that I hope to never face again, besides the loss of Our Judith. This is where we talk about the medical stuff. I saw my primary care doctor on the 30th, and I thanked him profusely. In a little under a year, he’s gotten me set up with the medical professionals I need to put all this stuff behind me — or at least into a holding pattern that’s somewhat predictable. He also gave me hope that I could take all those medical problems I’ve been fighting with and trust them to another person. He took my worry away.
My doctor attended to all my parts — from top to bottom — and in 2015, I will be a new person. Two more surgeries, a few more tweaks to my drug cocktail and we’re there. This time last year, it took almost 100 pills a day to keep me able to work and function — today I take ten. Just ten little pills, and none of them hardcore addictive. I also have two inhalers and a lidocaine patch, but this is still massive improvement. You have no idea. It’s just… incredible.
I’ve spent too many days this month gawking at the change. It wasn’t that long ago that I realized we had reached this point — a place I honestly never believed we’d reach. When I get in the shower and I’m not short of breath, when I sleep through the night, when I remember something that happened without the help of a Post-It Note, I just can’t fathom. It’s still a precarious balance, to be sure, but at least it is a balance. And that’s what 2015 is going to be about.
Balance is the most important thing any of us can hope to achieve, I think. Balancing life and work, balancing the body and the soul, balancing healthy eating with the occasional tater tot…. that’s what life is really about. This year we’re all going to achieve great things — and we’re going to find some balance, I think, guys. Here’s to 2015! Let’s get on it!