I’ll tell you straight up: 2012 seemed as if it came at me like a psycho with an axe.

I mean, intense personal loss is usually enough to color the character of an entire calendar year. Going through a nearly year-long period of physical pain would probably be sufficient grounds to write the year off as frustrating at best. But between Karsten’s death in June and the near-disability that resulted from multiple bulging discs from May through December, my entire life was thrown into chaos. My ability to focus was strained considerably, to say the least. I had planned early on for a big year for my company, gearing up new programs and growing sales and staff, and we did do well — really well, all things considered — but that growth was scaled back drastically from what I anticipated and hoped for. To complicate things further, in addition to my own challenges, literally dozens of my friends went through divorces and breakups and other personal losses, and the impact on my social circles and the community overall was seismic. At this point, you can probably picture 2012, the axe-wielding psycho, in position and ready to chop. 

But in the midst of all that insanity, the year did a few things right, if you tilt your head at a certain angle. It taught me how to ask for (and accept) help. It showed me how loving and supportive my friends, family, staff, and community are. And it showed me how strong and resilient I always hoped I was, but never had proof of. Now I do. 

Because it would have been damned easy to assume a victim mentality this year, and I resisted indulging in it. It would have been easy beyond description to dwell in depression, despair, or at least a deep melancholy, and truthfully some of that was, at a few points, unavoidable and, I do realize, perfectly reasonable. But even throughout those times, I adamantly sought joyful moments and meaningful interactions, and so much more often than not, I found them. 

So even if 2012 wasn’t an axe-wielding psycho, as it is totally tempting to claim, it was at least something of a scenery-chewing bad actor that didn’t know when enough was enough. Yet, as Karsten always said, you have more to learn from a bad example than a good one. And as much as I’d like to give 2012 the middle finger as it ham-handedly exits the stage, I think instead I’ll give it credit for demonstrating some toughlove lessons, and leave it at that. 

One of the biggest of those lessons has been that when life knocks you on your ass, there’s nothing so motivating as the simple triumph of getting up and moving forward. And even when moving forward isn’t possible, merely looking forward will do. 

So in the spirit of looking and moving forward, I’m batting my eyelashes at 2013 and smiling my best smile. What I’m hoping for is this: 

  • to remember how to ask for and accept help, and become more resourceful and self-reliant anyway
  • to maintain the strength of the friendships that formed in the midst of crisis and chaos this summer and beyond
  • to keep enjoying life’s pleasures, however small, however fleeting, even when the odds seemed stacked in favor of sadness.

A year from now, when I write a reflection on 2013, I hope I can sigh with delight and say it was my best year yet. And I hope you will, too. But in case it turns out to be psychotic, stick with me. I already know how to get through a crazy year.

So long, 2012, you axe-wielding psycho.
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