I’m a big fan of this time of year, media-wise. My non-internet media consumption is pretty much limited to NPR, the Economist, and Dirty Jobs marathons on Discovery (watched while folding the laundry). This time of year NPR starts running stories you KNOW they recorded in October about breeding stocks of White Rhinos and the Economist totally throws in the towel, writes four page spreads on the history of Rice in Japan or the Ponzi Scheme that is the US (all actual examples) and takes a week off.
We’re all given this odometer moment, as the number ticks over, to think back and head. Given that most folks consider this the end of the decade, it’s a bigger odometer moment than usual.
So here I am, taking stock of the year past and the decade past.
The decade past is pretty much my adult life. I think about where I was 10 years ago. I was about to get married, just finishing college, and completely unclear about what I wanted to do when I grew up. Now, I’m happily married, two kids, decent career, and completely unclear about what I want to do when I grow up. In the last ten years I got married, stayed married, have gone through three jobs, and three new homes, bought a house, bought two cars, got pregnant four times and gave birth twice. Since 2003, I’ve documented every detail in painful minutia.
In those 10 years I’ve made mistakes and grown oh-so-much, but I regret pretty much none of it. I’m not sure there’s a single thing I’d go back and make totally different.
Then there’s the looking ahead. Where will I be in 2020? I mean, we’re already impossibly into the future. Will I have my flying car yet? Or at least an electric/hybrid? But in many ways, the outlines of my hopes are much clearer than they were in 2010. I entirely anticipate still being gaga for my husband. My eldest son will be 14, and we will have some insight into what kind of man he is growing into. My Thane will be 11, still a child. My mortgage will still be several eternities away from being paid off, but my student loans will be done. Hopefully, I’ll have renovated the bathroom by then. Maybe I’ll have done that master suite that I daydream about. But where will I be professionally? What great surprises will life hold? What labors and joys will the coming decade bring? Will I still be documenting it all in painful detail (probably)?
And of course, there are the great left-turns life takes. You get a phone call asking if you’ve ever considered going to Mozambique. Or it turns out your child is an incredibly gifted, er, something (musician/athlete/web entreprenuer/face painter) that requires lots of practice (as long as it doesn’t involve ice rinks, I’m happy.). Or an opportunity comes that cannot be passed by. Or a tragedy visits. Or there’s an unanticipated additional child.
I work full time, am an engaged mom, get together with my friends as often as possible, and do a lot with my church. The result of this is that I feel as though I keep my eyes down, and focused on close objects. My thoughts and speech run with the details of daily living. I try as often as I can to raise my eyes and look to the horizons. It is that rising of perspective that make art, literature, music and philosophy so precious. Writing, for me, offers a chance to step back and examine my own life from the larger perspective. Whenever I do that, I feel much happier. The broad strokes of my life are so joyful, even when I might be tired, sleep-deprived, annoyed and snot-covered.
It was a good decade. It was a good year. Here’s hoping it was for you too. And for all of us, past reasonable expectation, may the coming year and decade be full of joy.