Looking back, I spent a lot of time in 2009 being surprised and shocked by people. Surprised and shocked by their greed, thievery, unethical behavior, and plain old not giving a shit about anyone else on the planet except themselves. There were a lot of times when I walked around feeling like I had been punched in the chest out of shock. Seriously. Some people were just not good this year.
Don't quit reading here.... There's a big but ahead....
BUT... much MUCH more often than I was shocked in a bad way, I was surprised in a good way. Many, many people surprised me with the strength they exhibited through bad times, their tolerance, their loyalty, and their humor. (You think humor's low on the totem pole of what came in handy this year? You're sorely mistaken! Sometimes a good dose of gallows humor saves the day!) I learned to notice and appreciate simple kindnesses - a random funny text message, a bit of wise advice, a beer, even just hearing "good to see you". Honestly, those things were probably there all the time, but I had my head somewhere else and didn't pay attention. I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to clear junk out of my mind and pay more attention to the present moment.
Earlier this year, there was a period of about a month when I didn't want to even look at people because I felt like everyone in the world was sticking their hand out at me demanding something they didn't deserve.
As this year winds down though, and I pull back and look at it, I realize - For every hand that reached out to take and cause harm, ten others reached out to pull me up, to help, to support. For every voice that told me I'm not good enough, I'm not necessary, I'm not important, a dozen voices full of love and caring drowned it out.
Someone I know pointed out to me recently that they think I'm a better person now than I was at the start of this year. Stronger, more focused, wiser. I'd like to believe them. If that's true, then all the chaos and upheaval of this year was worth it.
I just read a really good quote from Pema Chodron: "We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart." I think next year I'm going to try not to keep things so tidy. Not to try to put a bow on everything, and fix everything. Kind of let things just happen and feel how that feels.
Take care. Have a happy and safe New Year. If you're happy 2009 is over, may you bask in that happiness. If you had a good 2009, I hope it carries over into the new year.