Friday, December 16, 2011

2011 - another tough one

The way we define the start and end of years is arbitrary. A year is 365 days, more or less, but when does a year begin or end? Some cultures begin the year in February. Some mark it's beginning in Spring. In the West, we celebrate it at the end of December. A part of me feels silly looking forward to the end of one year and a start of another, for thinking that I'm about to get a clean slate, as nothing really changes at midnight on December 31 wherever you are on Earth - at least not because of the second hand on your clock.

But I do, indeed, look forward to the end of 2011. It was yet another year of being unemployed most of the time, of watching my savings shrink even further, of regretting moving back to the USA, of receiving rejection letters for oh-so-many jobs, of not being able to buy things - not only things I want, but some things I really need. Just as I was a year ago, I'm hoping the new year will be different: maybe things will change, maybe the economy will get better, maybe I'll get a job, maybe we'll get the opportunity to move somewhere much more appropriate for us... maybe I'll win the lottery.

2011 hasn't been all bad - far from it:
  • I went to Mexico. What a wonderful time!
  • We took a wonderful motorcycle trip to Yellowstone and all sorts of other wonderful places in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.
  • We took a long weekend and experienced the beauty of Crater Lake and the surrounding area.
  • I had a wonderful, all-too-short visit by two motorcycle travelers from the UK nearing the end of their world-wide tour.
  • We went had a wonderful week-long motorcycle ride up to Seattle and back, seeing another side of Mt. St. Helen's, and seeing Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainer, as well as reuniting with a friend from my childhood.
  • Stefan bought me a new motorcycle (well, not new, but different) and lots of gear for it
  • Albi had a good year
  • I lost 30 pounds
  • We got our health insurance restored
  • Stefan got a better job
  • While I didn't get enough consulting to sustain myself, I got enough to look like, to the outside world, that I was quite the successful professional in 2011 - to the point that some of you out there thought I was doing really well professionally, based on my Tweets and Facebook posts.
I lost my beloved grandfather in 2011. I also experienced amazing kindness from airline booking agents in getting a ticket to go home, and had a wonderful time being with family and celebrating my grandfather's life. And I got to see my beloved Uncle Wally one last time before he, too, passed away.

That's some really good things. I celebrate those things. I hope for at least half that much in 2012, I really do.

But I'm looking at 2012 with dread. My deposit for a house is mostly gone - and will certainly be gone before the end of 2012. If I have another year like 2011, I won't be able to make any contribution for my retirement. If my four-year-old computer fails, I'm beyond screwed. The idea of another year in Canby makes me want to break down and cry - but we don't see a way out. Albi is mostly blind - 2012 won't be kind to her. And there's an election this year, and the hatred being spewed by Republicans against everything - EVERYTHING - I stand for scares me out of my wits.

My strategy for finding a job in 2011 didn't work, just as the strategies I used in 2010, 2009 & 2008 didn't work. I know that that's mostly because of the global economy and because of where I chose to live, not because of me, per se, but with Republicans going on TV and saying unemployed people are lazy, I start to wonder about myself... I'll be spending the rest of the year trying to think how to create a new strategy for finding paid work. Hopefully my web pages with Google Ads will continue to bring in money to cover all of my web hosting expenses. I'll take a class in January that's a kind of mental health first aid class, that will, hopefully, give me plenty to blog about at the start of the year and make me just a little bit more marketable. I hope I can lose another 30 pounds and that the weather will be kind enough for many rides on my new motorcycle. We have a trip planned to Northern California I'm really, really looking forward to.

I hope that the start of 2012 really does mark the beginning of some very good changes. I'm sooooo ready for such.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.

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