With this (bizarrely concocted) beacon of hope in mind, I just need to say that 2013 hurt, but not in the truly painful way of job loss or cancer, thankfully, very thankfully. In fact, upon reflection I have (don’t we always have) much to be grateful for in 2013. My children grew another year, still healthy, ever learning, ever stretching themselves and me in beautiful new ways. My friends and I witnessed the opening of a little library that was 99% God’s doing and 1% ours. My work sent me to New Orleans and my girls got to savor bignets, oh those sweet SWEET bignets. My work also landed me in India where I was treated with over-the-top hospitality, dare I say like royalty. (Speaking of, Kate and Wills and now George, ok 2013 you’ve almost redeemed yourself.) I hiked the mountains in Utah with a handsome photographer as we celebrated 10 fantastic years of marriage. I am really very blessed, a whole awful lot.
But 2013 had some painful lessons, well only one actually. The reality is that 2013 ended with a long hard look in the mirror. Nary a goal was set or achieved, a milestone met, a gesture of kindness offered to others, a friend called. I stalled out. I backslid on financial goals, significantly. I ate crap and then topped it off with a long nap. Pretty much from September on (at least, probably since Valentine’s Day if we’re real about it) I overwhelmed easily. I forgot to be grateful, but more importantly hopeful. And in that churning is where the real hurt of reality hit - the reality that my cross-country coach in high-school tried to teach me long, long ago – that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
In hind-sight, the fact that I survived only 3 days of cross country in my entire high school career might have pointed towards 2013. I used to wheeze along very pathetically and the coach would encourage me with “Come on Katie, you can do it, Rome wasn’t built in a day!” Which, frankly, just made me want to give up because it probably took, I don’t know, like 500 years to build Rome! So… I quit.
And thus - I fear I have spent much of my adulthood in a stumble towards the daily quitting that was 2013. The daily, weekly, monthly expectation that my real life, the one I’ve been expecting and dreaming about, is JUST about to appear. The mail will hold an unexpected check of incredible size that will pay off all debts and leave plenty for the down payment on a dream home. I will be at a healthy weight with clear skin because of all of the napping I do. I will miraculously enjoy small talk and no longer feel awkward and regretful when I leave any function at which I had to think of something to say to anyone at all. I will suddenly excel at my job so well that no Government shutdown can touch us. Enter 2013. Enter reality. Meaning, 2013 will be the year of the great realization that the life I long for does not just happen, it must be built one wheezing stride at a time, and it will take more than a day, week, month or year.