As Time Goes By

A

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.

Peace.

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55 comments

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  • yeah for a new year!
    i’m really looking forward to 2015.
    parts of 2014 were pretty rough.

    i so relate to going through gratitude lists to pull me out of a fucked up place.
    by the end of 2014 i realised i’m well on the way to getting back to myself… better i think by a long ways.

    ps i was a hairdresser in my early 20’s. hated it. should have taken data processing.

  • It’s funny, part of my own post today is about being patient with ourselves about things… I completely know what you mean about “people,” although others probably don’t get that I feel that way. Sending white light, blessings and hugs your way.

  • Your dad’s comment reminds me of an old saying when the kids would ask “What are you doing?” I’d say “sewing buttons on ice cream.” Something you knew would never, could never happy, but fun to say nonetheless.

  • Doesn’t 2000 seem so long ago? I laugh when I remember my over served husband telling me “Whiter Shade of Pale” was the song of the millennium. Boy, he was profound. 2014 has been a mixture of high highs and low lows for us, it’s been one hell of a roller coaster. I hope for both of our sakes, 2015 brings many new and exciting things and finding happiness in life’s little moments and things. Keep your chin up and happy new year!

  • Ya gotta feel sorry for kids nowdays – they have nothing like “the year 2000” to look forward to (or dread). They will never know that mystical magical feeling that the world is going to change overnight and you will be a part of it. Or that at least every computer in the world will die.

    Sometimes I have to remind myself that perspective and rationalization are not the same thing. Perspective allows me to accept – rationalization allows me to excuse. In most cases, one is good and the other is bad – one is usually healthy and the other often generates some really interesting stories.

    Here’s to 2015 and healthy perspective! Happy New Year!!

  • I had a rather harsh awakening in the spring of 2010 when I was forced to admit, to myself and others, that I was not a particularly nice, uplifting person. I was difficult, argumentative, and negative (all lovely traits passed down from a narcissistic father). I left the job I was working at the time and went on a personal journey to “fix” myself. It took a good four years, there were many setbacks, and I still have days when I am not even close to Susie Sunshine. I am, however, a far better person, friend, wife, co-worker, etc. I have found that I have settled into being a “realistic optimist” in that I can find the positive instead of the negative while not glossing over the reality.

    All of this is not to talk about me. It is just to encourage you that you can over time do exactly what you want to do in focusing on the positive. And I’ll be here with all of your awesome readers and friends to cheer you on (and to remind you that it’s still okay to fall down sometimes)!

  • “A work in progress” is definitely something I can relate to being. And I have a lot of work in progress. I sense a giant metaphor emerging, and I haven’t had enough coffee yet. So I will just say that I’m looking forward to 2015 with you. xoxo

  • Didn’t we all think we were going to party hart-ay for 2000? I think Prince has some major explaining to do, because NOthing cool happened at all that night, that I know of…plus, I thought by NOW we’d all be Jetson-ed out and driving hovercraft and using robots for housework.

    I like the work in progress thing.

    I think seriously the only thing that gets me through is faith. I know that, in my case–we have survived, we are surviving, and we will continue to survive, and eventually (surely) this too shall pass, and we will look back and understand why we were here.

    Still. I’m looking forward to a new year and a new perspective. I’m here for you, my dear. 🙂

  • One of these days, you, me and a bottle of bourbon are going to have to happen 🙂
    I’m sorry to hear you’re in the same kind of place that I am right now, it’s not helped by the time of year either but hopefully you will start to see the light soon, I hope that for me too.
    Something was said to me recently that I can’t seem to get out of my mind and makes life all seem so hopeless, but hey, I’m still here and while there is still music left in me I’ll keep on keeping on.
    Started the anonymous blog, it’s more of a place to vent into the void than a blog at the moment but I know it’s there when I need that. Hopefully I will be able to write a little more eloquently once the dark clouds start to dissipate a little.
    Big hug from across the pond.
    You will rock this year.
    xxx

  • It’s hard to not dwell on what is weighing on us. Yes, we have our basic needs met and have love on top of that—makes all the difference in the world. In spite of the good, we’re still allowed to mope and feel self pity some days, IMHO. Here’s to a great New Year, cheers Michelle!

    • You have no idea how much that means to me. It’s been a rough week or so. I hate being vague, but the issue isn’t my issue..just someone who is very close to me and I don’t want to say what’s happened. I will just say it’s been painful and sad and difficult. Having this community is such a comfort.

  • Depression doesn’t care about perspective. It’s kind of a dick that way. I still predict that you will shine in 2015 and after. Hope you are feeling better soon.

  • It’s Saturday down here on The Rock… 7:30am and already 35 degrees Celsius… Gonna be a scorcher… You know how somewhere it is already wine o’ clock? Well, somewhere it’s already tomorrow. Perspective IS weird. It can be helpful for a minute, then shapeshift in a millisecond. You are so right.
    This might just be annoying to read, but is meant with only goodness: 2 great books about perspective and the amazing human brain…. ” The Brain that Changes Itself” (Doidge) & “Positivity” ( Fredrickson ) . Some bits of them make me wanna puke with tedium… But other bits are so useful to me that both books are permanently in my phone so I can remind myself whenever and wherever to shapeshift my perspective. It’s taking me some time but it’s MY 2015 resolution too, sister. I look forward to reading all the great stuff you write in 2015.

  • You have NEVER – NOT ONCE – disappointed me with anything you’ve written. I’ve felt the need to hug you from time to time, but that’s about sisterhood and not gratuitous sympathy. You have, and will always, ROCK. Peace out.

  • In the words of my boss “Happy FUCKING New Year” . . .yes we started the year with THAT kind of day (hung over foreign exchange students). . . sorry, my sarcasm font isnt working again. Much love Rockstar, you will be better than fine.

  • You bring back fond memories!

    I remember having disagreements with my mom and telling myself to just hang on till I turn eighteen- free to do as I please.

    It’s been a few decades since turning eighteen and I am still not able to do as I please.

  • I have a greeting card that says “I always look for ugly/fat/old people to stand next to so I will look pretty/skinny/young.” But we all know it doesn’t work that way. No matter who we stand next to or compare ourselves to, we are, in the end living in our skin and have to live with that. I had a friend that lost a son this past year and endured a run in with cancer. Her courage has taught me about grace under fire but when I stand next to her I do not feel better about my life.

    Good luck with the black hole…they really do suck! 2015 holds a lot of promise!

    Barbara

  • Shit — I was writing my response and it got so dark and maudlin that I literally started rolling my eyes at myself and had to start again. It was a shit year — but there is nothing I can do about that but pull my panties up, adjust the girls (because these days, they need to be pulled up as well), and keep on living — and hope things get better this year…for all of us!

    • They will get better for us. For instance, just today I put my purse down on a table in a grocery store and walked away from it. I didn’t realize until 20 minutes later. It was still in the same place when I found it. I’m counting that as good luck.

  • I’ve never understood how thinking about other people’s misery is supposed to make me feel better. Because I’m still unhappy about the problems in my life AND, apparently, I’m also a self-involved asshole. Plus, I’m confronted with my essential helplessness in the face of the overwhelming suffering in the world.

    Is 10:00am too early for tequila?

By Michelle

Michelle

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