35. That’s the age I turned yesterday. Yep….I’m now on the downward sliding scale of my 30′s; exit left towards Cougartown. I guess 35 is better than the age my son guessed I was yesterday when Brent asked him at the breakfast table. “41?” was his first guess…then 50, then 100. I just moaned into my waffles. I know, he is five and has no concept of adult age yet, but the thought of THOSE impending ages makes me cringe. I have a thing about age…namely, I’m terrified of growing older. I blame this completely on my mother, who after turning 50 banned anyone from wishing her a happy birthday. She prefers we ignore the day completely.
“When did we become adults?” That’s what my husband asked me a few days ago. We certainly don’t feel like adults, or see ourself as adults in the minds’ eye. Yet we have adult jobs, bills, families and responsibilities. Yet, when I think of adults, I still think of well, my parents.
My birthday comes the day before the new year, so I always start the new year as a new age. It is like a double whammy of reflection on the past year and resolve for the net one. So 2012, what have I learned? Well, this has been a year like no other. A surprise pregnancy that turned my life upside down at first but has truly been a force of change for me and the highlight of my year. Some other thoughts on the closing of what, according to the Mayans was supposed to be the last year for us humans:
1. Election years bring out the worst in people. Never have I the nation so polarized, or seen so many people ( I thought) were decent people become so….nasty. Differences in opinion is fine, but the sheer bigotry,racism, ignorance, intolerance and cruelty on display this year was the most depressing display of the human behavior I’ve ever seen. I am finding it harder and harder to tolerate people who believe that the President is some evil Muslim antichrist put here to destroy America; gays are by their nature sinful and should be denied rights; 47% of the nation mooches off the government and prefers it that way, healthcare should be a luxury and not a right, etcetera, etcetera. Obama won, both popular and electoral colleges…with a mandate. When will Congress respect and DO what the MAJORITY of the Americans want? To hell with the vocal yet backwards minority.
2. 2012 was a year of unprecedented violent crime. We’ve come to crossroads about how to deal with this. My husband, a soldier and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan has never favored gun control. After the horrible shooting of innocent children and adults in Connecticut, he came home that evening and fell to the floor bear hugging our son. We later talked quietly about the event and he admitted that we as a nation need to revisit this issue. I don’t know what the answer is, certainly you can’t ban all guns. But for the life of me I can’t understand why ANYONE needs these high-powered assault weapons. I also don’t understand why there isn’t a more rigorous screening and scrutiny of gun purchasers. Perhaps maybe even a yearly checkup on permit holders. Three of the most ridiculous arguments I wanted to combat before the year is out however: 1.) Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. No, people with guns kill people. Yes, they can kill people in other ways, but guns were the weapon of choice in these mass shootings, and are the most easily obtained and can do the most harm. 2.) This happened because God wasn’t in school anymore. God was never taken out of school. No one ever banned anyone from the right to pray. However you are not allowed to indoctrinate YOUR faith or type of prayer upon others; any and all prayer is welcome and respected privately, as prayer should be. However, a public institution leading prayer is NOT separation of church and state and is disrespectful to people of other faiths. 3.) Arm the teachers. Yes, because nothing will prevent gun violence like having stressed, underpaid teachers with loaded guns in a classroom full of discipline problems. And finally, the most disappointing and asinine result of this tragedy have been people going out and…wait for it…buying more guns. I really don’t understand the thinking behind this except that we have become of society where we are CHOOSING to let fear rule our actions, which will only further our demise.
3. I have a renewed and deeper appreciation for my family. There was a time I did NOT appreciate what blessings they bring to my life. Marriage and kids are work…make no mistake. But these are the people share my past and shape my future and I am determined to create bonds that can sustain us.. I love them with all my heart.
4. Friends can and will disappoint you. They can also lift and cheer you. I’ve had my share of both this year. Two realizations: One; I don’t expect much from people, and yet, those expectations are usually still too high. I don’t know whether I should expect less or cut those that don’t well, cut it. Still pondering that. Two; I always have and continue to struggle with female relationships. My mother, mother in law, past bosses, friends… many of these relationships are oftentimes contentious and/or competitive. Again, this may be a matter of expectations here. It isn’t that I don’t love or even like these people, it’s that I usually say the wrong thing at the wrong time…or don’t say something when I should. I am guilty of letting things get to a boiling point in many cases and then completely going off the deep end. I am also MUCH more sensitive to criticism from women, for some reason. I don’t have this same problem with men. Perhaps this is why my son and I have bonded so easily…which leaves me very fearful of my future relationship with my daughter. I am aware of the issue and will be trying hard to overcome it.
5. I finally have a church home. I became an official member of the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge this past August and I am completely in love with this church. I feel as though I have a loving and supportive spiritual community; as well as a place my children can explore their own faith. My mother still won’t step foot in it, or even acknowledge I have left Catholicism, but…I can live with that.
6. Negative people will bring you down more quickly than you can bring them up. I am generally a positive person, but for some reason have a tendency to attract negative people. Everyone has bad days, and I am more than willing to be there for friends in need. But people who constantly see the negative in life and are always a victim looking for rescue from either myself or my family are exhausting.
7. I am convinced I have the best job in the world. I get to work in my pajamas, on fun projects and around my family’s schedule. I don’t have to ask a boss for sick days and my expenses are minimal. I never planned it this way, but freelance graphic design allows me to be creative and flexible and I could not do this without the absolute best clients int he world. I’ve been lucky enough to grow this list in 2012 and continue to be excited for the future. I’ve also continued to grow my own knowledge of the profession by trying new software and methods of delivering quality product to my clients. In 2012 I transitioned to developing sites on the WordPress Content Management system and have had much success with this. Clients are enjoying the control they have over their site and I am able to develop cleaner sites in half the time.
2012 was a mixed bag. I won some, lost some but it ended on a very high note and I learned a lot about myself and others. According to my WordPress stats report I get at the end of the year, this was my busiest blogging year yet. My blog received over 23,000 views. I also discovered that while I inspire many, I offend some as well. While I doubt I will have as much time to blog in 2013 (although I will try when I can) you can bet your sweet ass that my posts won’t be any less controversial. Because you know that’s what keeps you coming back for more. Thanks to those who love me just the way I am.
I hope everyone has a great new year….choose to make it that way!