At the end of most years we look forward to something better in the year to follow. As the calendars roll over from 2011 to 2012 on this New Year’s Eve, I think about and am thankful for the year gone by.
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2011: Screw It
(or, Why I’m Still In Love With Angela Bassett)
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I suppose, more than anything else, my outlook on life faced a radical change which, in effect, gave me a new lease on it. Life is full of pitfalls, false starts, asphyxiated dreams, and general confusion. Every once in a while, however, it throws you a bone, opens a door, or gives you a second chance.
Halfway through the year, pretty much on time with the slide which began ten years ago, I got my reprieve and my second chance to, above all else, begin to believe in myself again. It’s a long and personal story but, suffice it to say, things got better.
More to the point, I began to stop farting around during the long journey to the middle.
With the help of dear friends, irreplaceable family, and a Canadian cop show, I found what one friend likes to call the Spark. I started caring about the rest of my life again instead of purposely dulling it with drudgery, distraction, and complacency. Or, as another dear friend would succinctly say, I started to give a shit.
I’ve had a splendid year, all told, and am somewhat loathe to leave it. Who knows what lies ahead in the doom-foretold year of 2012? To be honest, if this is the end of days (and quite frankly, I don’t believe that), then I should go out on a high. Did I make millions, become famous, cure a previously incurable disease, buy a house, or even rescue a kitten from a tree? Nah. But I found a kind of faith which does not involve tithes, prayers, or funny hats.
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I’ve started to like myself again, been granted new friendships, rekindled old ones, gone new places, seen new sights, done new things, and remembered what a joy it is to be a creative for the sake of being creative. I don’t begrudge those previous years. Traveling through darkness makes you appreciate the sun. Or, as Leonard Cohen would say,
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
I think the greatest lesson wasn’t any time-worn and overused adage such as ‘That which does not kill you makes you stronger’ nor any other Rocky-esque notion. We all know that stuff by now and those adages are really just soundbite-ish ways to say how life is: a series or struggles we must overcome unless we give up. Also, they fit really nice in Hurlmark Cards (thank you Lost Girl) and on coffee mugs. More than anything else 2011 was about me realizing that I’m surrounded by some of the most spectacularly awesome people and that, somehow, I keep finding more of them.
That’s my treasure. You.
My Best of 2011 involves nothing I did. It has nothing to do with music, movies, or (directly) television. I care very little about annoying arrow memes or famous public flameouts. My Best of 2011 list doesn’t involve anyone on the cover of TIME Magazine (although I think they should be). These are the Best of 2011: Princess, Mister Furious, Jitterbug, Mister Serious, Tora Tora Tora, SP&CP, CC Rider, Wren, The Emperor, Mojocat, The Nation of S, The A-Team, Unga Bunga, RDX, The M Family, Carmen Sandiego, Ghostchaser, Zulu, Shikazi, Sashalanda, the entire OG, DNA, new-found T1 friends, Trinity, Aurora, Sarge, Dizzy and co., and last but resoundingly not least my entire splendid family (who are 47 levels of amazing), and so many more people. I am among giants.
And the thing is, if they have faith in me, it’d be positively unforgivable if I didn’t have faith in me, too.
That’s my advice to you. For most of us, happiness is all around us. We have wealth aplenty. And the best way to check on your treasure is to simply pick up the phone or knock on their door and say Hi. That’s my Hurlmark Card message to you, dear readers: that (all three of) you should realize you’ve got people rooting for you and hoping that the dreams you may have thought long-dead are simply dormant and waiting for you to find your Spark again. And if those people still have hope for you, if they still believe in you, then maybe you should — at the very least — believe in yourself, too.
So, let 2012 be the Year of Screw It. Screw it, I’m gonna take a shot it this. Screw it, I’m gonna make a positive change. Screw it, I’m gonna stop worrying about failure and at least give this a try. Screw it, I won’t get anywhere if I spend all my time lamenting about not getting anywhere. Screw it, I’m gonna have a little faith.
So, Happy New Year, everyone. And screw it.
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“This is your life, right here, right now! Time to get real.”
– Mace (Angela Bassett), Strange Days