Contemplation Month

January 06, 2012

I intended to make December a month of both reflection and looking forward: reflection on the experiences and lessons of 2011 and the effects of my word of the year (light), as well as contemplation of the coming year and its new word.

What was I thinking?

In reality, for me, December is possibly the worst month for reflection, filled as it is with holiday doings and extra activity of all sorts. I believe I managed exactly one evening of quiet contemplation, and I went to bed following that feeling overwhelmed and depressed. Not exactly what I’d had in mind.

Remember this for future years: Save the contemplation for after the holidays, when the kid is back in school, the husband is back at work and the house isn’t wall-to-wall chaos, It’s too overwhelming otherwise, and I just frustrate myself. January will have to become Contemplation Month.

I have to admit that with a few notable exceptions, 2011 was a rough year. (I’m not the only one who feels this way about 2011, but I think Jen Lancaster put it best when she wrote “2011 Blew Goats”—I’d have to agree.)

And yet.

Here I sit, in my comfortable home, with my intact family, plenty to eat, clothes on my back and leisure time I don’t have to spend struggling for survival. I should be—and I am—grateful. But I don’t want to be just grateful that I avoided the worst of disasters. I want to be joyful, hopeful. I can’t say I’ve felt all that joyful recently. It’s been a struggle to remain positive—light, if you will—in the face of repeated distressing situations. No, I haven’t had a major tragedy occur, knock on wood, but I have had a string of minor challenges/accidents/stressful situations to cope with for most of 2011 and I’m feeling a bit emotionally ragged. As someone once said, “What I am looking for is a blessing that is not in disguise.”

I will say that my word of the year did help me hold on, to look for the bright side, to search for the silver lining in the storm clouds. I needed light as a word of the year in 2011.

I haven’t chosen a word for 2012 yet, though that’s high on my agenda. You’d better believe I’ll take care when I do!

What were some of the high and low points of 2011 for you? If you chose a word of the year, did it “help”?

My word of the year is treats...or maybe nap...

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  1. Sorry you had a rough year. It isn't necessary for your challenges to be big; if you have a lot of small challenges it can be just as overwhelming and emotionally draining. I hope 2012 is a better year for you.

    I would have to say that NOLA (and meeting you) was one of several high points for me, and my mother falling and having to move into an assisted living apartment was one of my low points.

  2. 2011 was definitely a year of challenge and struggle for me. There were some awesome high points—NOLA being one of them. There where also some incredible lows—my parents both being sick and scared out of their wits, losing two of our furry friends, and a hundred other not so low lows that made the year a challenge.

    However, in the words of an old friend, "That which does not kill me, makes me strong-ahr." (should be said with a strong Southern accent while rolling the "r's.")

    And it's up to us to make 2012 the very best it can be!

  3. It's always good to remember that there are people who have life much worse to keep things in perspective, but that still doesn't mean we don't all have to deal with problems as well. I guess it really is all relative. It feels good to put 2011 behind me and look forward to a new year and hopefully remain optimistic that it will be better. And happy, I hope, too. Sorry to hear you've had to deal with stresses lately--I hope things improve. And I'm all for blessings that aren't in disguise, too (must remember that saying).

  4. Cheryl--NOLA was one of my highest high points--what a great trip that was, made even better by meeting you outside of cyberworld.

    I'm sorry about your mom, too--I know that must have been a very rough time.

    Here's to a great 2012!

  5. Laure--I know we're both not sorry to see 2011 behind us. Here's to a much more cheerful 2012. And no matter what it holds, we'll be there for each other, highs and lows!

  6. Danielle--I think 2011 has been rough for a lot of people in a lot of ways. Here's hoping 2012 is much brighter for us all. I intend to do everything I can to make it so!