When I was very young and my dad would ask me to get something or do something for him, it would always go like this:
Dad: Shelly, go get me a Coke and I’ll give you a million dollars.
I would run to the kitchen and get the Coke.
Me: Where’s my money?
Dad: I’ll pay you in the year 2000.
The first time I heard that promise it was probably 1967 or 68 and the year 2000 was an impossible year to consider. It was like science fiction. The year 2000 would never arrive, but when it did, I’d be rich.
When I was 20 years old and going to vocational school for data processing, I remember talking with friends about partying on new year’s eve 1999. This was before Prince was partying like it’s 1999 and I was embarrassed that I had to go up to size 7 jeans. I remember saying that it wouldn’t matter then because in 1999 I’d be 36 and therefore my life would already be over.
I wanted to be a hair dresser. That was my plan. But I waited too long to sign up and there were no open slots, so I took data processing. That shit was wide open. And that is the short version of how I grew into the geek I am today.
I was actually right when I was 20 years old. I didn’t party like a rock star on New Year’s eve 1999. In fact, Randy and I babysat my ex-husband’s son so that he and his wife could go to a party.
Now, here we are…15 years past that mystical date.
The end of 2014 was difficult with the last week being breathtakingly so. I had a few days of living in a black pit and it took all of my will and the strength of many Grinches to pull myself out of it.
Then on New Year’s morning, I let go and fell back into it. I paced through the house and told myself to get some perspective. Have you had to watch your children starve to death? Do you live in a place where clean drinking water isn’t available? Do you have a warm place to sleep? Are you mostly safe?
For a minute, it worked. Then I thought, wow, all that really sucks. How is this supposed to make me feel better? Perspective is something we made up to mask the harsh realities of life.
What a fabulous concept that is.
Here is what I know as I enter 2015: My new job is getting better and I’m getting more comfortable and excited about my role there. My immediate family is safe, right this minute, they are safe and fine. I have people who love me fiercely and who I love in return.
I’m not talking about sticking my head in the sand. I’ve done that too many times and the outcome can be heartbreaking. But that isn’t the same as focusing on the positive and dwelling on the pleasant. It won’t be easy because I’m a novice at this.
I think this year I have to focus on the fact that I am and always have been a work in progress.
Bring on 2015 with all kinds of healthy perspective.