Years ago the Queen of England described her year as the Royal Annus Horribilus and I thought of adopting that as the catch phrase for my year, and thus for the final blog in a long ago dropped practice. No sooner were the words out of my fingers, than I realized that this year was so far from horrible and to name it thus was a slap to all who really suffered.
Yes, I have been unable to find work, full time work. Yes I have come so close and even been hired for two weeks, to lose the job to a Brit who was willing to work for a fraction of the pay and be on site, literally 24/7. This, I told the producers, was the offer of a lunatic. In fact I continued to say that it was the behavior of a stalker girl friend, the one who promises to cook, clean, pick up laundry, provide non-stop oral favors and requires nothing in return. One day you return home and she has boiled your rabbit ( See Basic Instinct if you miss the metaphor) That recent job loss was even more frustrating and crushing than the interviews, resumes sent, calls made; this one involved glee at getting the position and then sad shame at having to tell friends, who had been so relieved at the prospect of taking me off the unemployed list. Not securing work and yet trying so diligently was frustrating, humiliating, and scary, but it was not horrible.
I kept my home, (so far) my children are thriving and working. My spouse, woefully underemployed is still laughing, loving and vacuuming. The cats and I are chubbier than ever; we are stress eaters. Although my brother died or, killed himself, the coroner in Provence Rhode Island six months later is still unsure, yet everyone who knew him exhaled the same phrase; “At least maybe he is at peace now.” I believe that.
And so the year was frustrating because what I ran after I could neither catch nor achieve. But what I have done during the time I couldn’t find work was far from horrible, it was kind of exhilarating. Here it is in higgledy piggledy order, my favorite sequencing.
.Began a bed and breakfast in my downtown loft
.Helped launch Breast Cancer Warriors Foundation
.Traveled to India and Belgium and wrote lots of articles
.Turned sixty, danced til dawn, received over 1000 bulbs as gifts. Planted a victory garden and await spring with vigor
.Threw a pottery benefit for Haiti
.Started riding horses again, specifically a big bay named Tonka
and owned by my country neighbor Brenda. So a new friend and a pony to ride
.Took a mask making class from the founder of the Village Halloween Parade
.Went to endless free 9/11 therapy to unlock the inner me
.Acted in my first play, a sold-out experimental Swiss opus
.Watched my learning differenced son graduate with honors, and go on to win a job in a law firm
.Watched my daughter save money and apply for grad school in Europe, fly across the seas, set up shop and do well there too.
. Acted as a biz consultant to a friend and helped her set up and run her new company OM VELO a spiritual gym in Florida
And finally . . .
.Started and randomly kept a blog called Memory & Movement
Yes there were times when I was consistent and loyal to writing And yes I did learn a few poems, the first, the John Donne still allows me to fall asleep even when my brain is turbulent and unforgiving.
Learning the poetry gave me a gift of focus something I plan to use more and more this year. In a simple proof today, I saw that when I did the crossword puzzle following clue after clue rather than jumping from one to another I did so much better. SURPRISE ? Of course not, but systematic assault always takes me by surprise as it works so well.
And so I finish the year as chubby as I began, I was woeful in my walking and still see bipedalism as a punishment rather than a gift, but I am back to Pilates and signed up to try Tai Chi with the gal who was supposed to be my walking partner, but I bailed way too often.
And although last night I was terrified, today after speaking to my best girl friends, strong men friends, cleaning and having a glass of wine I feel as if I will survive. This time next year I may have deannexed many material goods, but I will reflect that I have dedicated myself to write more, neaten less, care take of too many others less, and FOCUS.
What does this mean to me? It means doing what is on the list and damn the torpedoes. It means not looking on the internet for whatever is interesting I DO NOT CARE. It means not making appointments for grown children, friends, cats or anyone less. Unless it is on the schedule and it can be, it just can’t eat up a day, then a week, then what seems like this entire year. It means if you are an alcoholic, go to meetings DO NOT CALL ME as I am done. If you are lost, get GOOGLE maps, if you want a phone number call 411. I want to focus on myself. I may have a book to write. And I may not. But I want to know and not go to my grave thinking what might have been oh so wistfully.
When I get a chapter maybe I will post it here, so stay tuned whatever that means and thank you for reading and for being oh so kind. It is not lost on me even in my darkest moments.