Today is the final installment in this year long project – A Year of Significance. I’ve managed to blog every single day about what I thought was going to be significant that day and to update it the following morning with how it played out. In the process, I’ve grown. Hey, you examine your life every day for a year and try not to grow. Uhm, humm. Can’t do it.
Some of the significant things that have happened this year and that I’ve learned…
I had coffee with Ken from Hope House yesterday and he told me that one of the most fascinating parts of his job is talking to formerly homeless / in trouble people who’ve ‘made it’ and trying to figure out why. What made THE difference for them? For me, in two words, my Mother.
She was a terrible mother and a really messed up human being but she was tough. Push her down and she fought back up. As a matter of fact, if she wasn’t pushed down, she would push herself down so that there was always something to fight against. I’ve managed to mostly eliminate that need to create conflict and have saved the deep seated love of pushing against the odds.
My Mother was the person who most shaped the person that I’ve become. I’ve been blessed with the ability to mostly discard the bad parts and embrace the great ones.
My mother is psycho and frequently unlovable. She’s also been a vivacious, thoughtful inspiration and help to hundreds of people in AA. I’m no longer unlovable. I may be a bit psycho at times, but I have social skills and that makes me eccentric and cute instead of scary and anger-inducing. I may sometimes inspire other people now, too.
After this year, I have moments when I think, “… I do that just like Mom” and am happy about it. Like listening to the Brandenburg concertos while I write this blog. Thanks, Mom.
Living in the Present…
Noodling in the car yesterday, I tried to encapsulate the significant highlights of the past year and realized it’s still hard for me to recount past events without knuckle-down research. It’s rare when I have a story to tell that includes details. I know people who remember the smallest details of the stories of their lives and they hang onto them forever. At the drop of a hat, they can tell me about that time that thing happened to them exactly 17 years ago.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, one of my coping mechanisms was to forget. I can’t tell you how many years ago, but I’m 48 now and managed to block out a lot of my childhood and teen years. Like we tell Elliott the dog, “Do the math” and he unwinds himself from the tree or stop sign so that we can keep walking. It was within the last 10 years that I got all those memories back. So, now I can remember things and have discovered that I don’t need to remember them anymore.
I don’t Gollum onto the details of the past and wear them on my sleeve for convenient rending. You know who gets really rent in that process? The people I love, myself included. If I were a 12-stepper, I’d be making some amends calls right now.
In my waking life, I live in the present more than ever. This process began in earnest by training for my first marathon, which was one of the reasons I did it. I cannot run for 6 hours straight and think about anything other than where I am right then and there. No past, no present, just the next footstep. It was either learn how to live in the present or shoot myself in the head.
My dreams prod me into the future – sometimes delightfully, sometimes with great irritation. Like when I wake up at 3am obsessing about all the things I need get done and unable to get back to sleep. Gonna tackle that next. Always gotta have something to work on.
Do something every day for a year and you get better. I love writing. I always have. Until recently, my structural skills have been marginal. Guess what else this blog has accomplished?
I’m much more aware of effective structure and have begun to choose when to ignore those rules. My writing is an extension of myself and sometimes I’m flighty, wordy, effusive and scatterbrained. Sometimes I’m ranty, grateful and clueless. Sometimes I’m entertaining.
An extremely talented buddy is the community blogger at the Pfister Hotel. Julie tells the stories of the people that she encounters there. She’s exceptional at this gig but jokes that she stole the job from me. She heard about it via a tweet that was aimed my way. Mish thought that I’d be great at doing something like the Pfister community blogger gig. Julie read that tweet and went for it. I didn’t. Talking with Ken from Hope House yesterday, I realized why. I wasn’t ready and I didn’t care.
I wasn’t ready because I needed to finish this blog project first. This was my personal communication commitment to the world and it’s been all engrossing.
I believe that the people who frequent the Pfister are talented, intelligent, witty, well-traveled humans with great stories. I would probably have a great time chatting with them but to be honest, I just don’t care enough about those stories to write them. It’s like liking someone. I might like him or her, but don’t ‘like’ like them. You get it. I have no burning desire to tell their stories. Well, unless I were being paid to do it, but hey a girl’s got to eat.
I care about the stories of the people who work at Hope House. I think I want to be the community blogger there instead. I find it much more fascinating to tell the story of the woman on staff there who became a congressional page at age 15 in order to escape an alcoholic household. Who knows, maybe these stories will identify why we made it and others didn’t.
I’ll still need a good editor, though.
My Friends and Family…
A) I have some of each. I have a brother and a sister with whom I have a real honest to goodness relationship. I have a best friend and I love her to pieces. I have friends and we get together and have honest to goodness and enjoyable conversations.
B) I really like these people. Some of them, I love.
C) My husband is a hero and not just because he treats me like a goddess. Women should be jealous and men should be resentful. None of it is an act, either. I believe him. I believe in him. He’s the best human being I’ve ever met and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him. He’s brilliant, funny, sexy, adorable, deep, skilled, thoughtful and my soul mate. I win.
We did it.
Susan Scot Fry