On this New Year's Eve Eve, I thought about writing the obligatory year-in-review nostalgia that inevitably pops up on small blogs across the interwebs, then realized that no one needs more schlock in their lives. To be honest, I'm relieved this year is coming to a close, and after living through it, I can honestly say heading into the new year that I don't have a damn thing to complain about. That doesn't mean it wasn't a difficult year.
In the past year, I was threatened and dragged into court by my mother's vile husband regarding her will (he lost, as all charges were deemed ridiculous), was verbally abused more than once by my brother (whose anger and temper I will never understand), and was subjected to the whims of crazy Indiana divorce laws (which allowed my ex-husband to successfully hide assets and get out of properly supporting his children).
All that is behind me now, though, thank heavens, and I had an epiphany just last week that I can allow these events to define me or I can take steps to relieve myself of toxic people and focus on the super awesome things in my life.
In the past year, I published my first novel, my children thrived in school and in life, I set in motion the purchase of our dream house, I hugged and laughed with my husband more times than I can count, I learned to cook some really fantastic new dishes, I traveled to and fell in love with Southern CA, I was in a play that brought new friendships into my life, I got closer to my mom's precious sisters and my cousins, and I loved my teaching job. And those facts are just the tip of the iceberg.
So why do the negative things, which comprise a much shorter and less meaningful list, tend to push out the positive? I don't think it's just me. In informal, anecdotal polls I've done with friends, we all do this. Sometimes, it feels better to complain and like veiled (or outright) bragging to admit that overall, life is pretty good. Why do I feel like I have to share something bad to balance out the good? Why can't I just say (as I did above) that I really don't have a damn thing to complain about? These are the questions I ponder this New Year's Eve Eve, as I prepare for some dear friends to attend my Wine Chugging NYE Party and Jamboree tomorrow by hollering at my kids to pick up their stuff for when the cleaning ladies come (another indulgence for which I am joyful).
I think the first of my 216 new things in 2016 will be to make "I don't have a damn thing to complain about" my personal mantra. I'm putting this out there so all of you can help me if I resort to my old pattern of dredging up past hurts. Yes, they are there. Yes, they affected me at the time. No, they do not need to affect me any more. Yes, I will probably fail from time to time. No, I will not turn into Pollyanna - my snark, sarcasm, and ability to laugh at inappropriate things run deep and are entrenched in my very being.
So with that, I raise my virtual glass for a bad champagne toast (things may be good, but not Dom Perignon good) to 2016 and all the adventures that lie ahead.
Courtney is a most fabulous writer and teacher of gifted middle school students. She is the author of two novels - see the "Cate Books" page of this site for information! Watch for updates about future books that need to be part of your personal library. In the meanwhile, enjoy her pithy life observations.