The end of the year is a time when many people take stock of their lives. For me, with my birthday landing on December 31st, it is the right time to take stock of the year’s events.
A lot happened in 2009, some good things, and some not so good. There were some things that were significant on a personal level, and others more of a more public nature that inspired me, and gave me hope. In no particular order, a list of things that happened in 2009.
- While my mother-in-law died in 2008, her memory cast a long shadow over 2009, even through the holidays, when my wife made her mom’s favorite Christmas cookies. She died after a long and painful fight with multiple sclerosis, a terrible illness, and I urge anyone reading this to make a meaningful donation to the MS Society to support research to find a cure, and services to those suffering from the disease. There are state chapters of the MS Society, and I’ve been pleased to support friends on the annual MS Walk or Bike MS events, in both North Carolina, and my home state of Oklahoma. There are many ways to help, and if you are reading this, stop now, give, and then come back and read on, please. Or, don’t come back, because nothing I have to say here is more important than helping those with MS.
- Through a lot of staff changes at work, my job became less stressful and more productive in the last few months of the year. It is a welcome change, and, while I didn’t get a Christmas bonus, having a better work environment is better than any money I could receive.
- I had a rough year with Crohn’s disease, starting off the year with a “bleed out” requiring a trip to the emergency room. It was one of the scariest moments of my life, but through the drama I realized once again that I have a loving wife who remains at my side “in sickness and health,” as the traditional vows say. She is an anchor in my life, a source of strength, honesty, and love that makes every day better than the last. And, if you are looking for another worthy last-minute donation, consider giving to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
- I witnessed history, watching the first American President of color take office, and almost a year later I’d saying he’s doing ok, with some need for improvement. (Good luck, Barack! Don’t forget who voted for you!)
- We bought a new car, and said goodbye to our 19-year-old Saturn coupe, that we jokingly called the “stupid car”. In fact, it was a great little car, given to us by my wife’s parents, when my mother-in-law could no longer drive to the effects of multiple sclerosis. The car lasted a long time and served us well, and we gladly passed it on to a non-profit agency as a donation, still running but with a broken odometer and no air conditioning.
- I went to the Outer Banks three times. I love North Carolina’s shore, and I’m glad I can see my daughter enjoy it.
- I didn’t see enough movies, but did manage to see a few good ones, and had a great time with my sister at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.
- I didn’t practice guitar enough, but, through the patient tutelage of my guitar teacher, managed to get a little better.
- I still need to exercise more, and eat better. Some things never change.
- Our daughter continues to grow and thrive, a really great kid who makes our lives a lot noisier, messier, crazier, busier, but most of all more fun.
- I read thirty-five books, a few less than last year, and not as much as I would have liked.
- I’ve managed to pretty consistently keep this blog going, with everything except interested readers! Fortunately, I enjoy it mostly for the writing.
I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions; I just don’t follow through on them, and I admit I’d be better off if I did. But, looking back on 2009, I can say I followed through on some things, had some bad fortune, and plenty of good, more often than not because of the kindness of others. So, I’ll offer this resolution: I’ll try to make 2009 a little better for those around me, and I hope that they will continue to return the favor.