What I want to bring into the new year with me and what I want to leave behind:
In: The HBO series 'Getting On.'
No-one seems to have heard of it, yet it's one of the best shows on TV right now. It's a comedy and a drama, often at the same time, and I've never seen anything like it. I've wept watching this show, both from laughing so hard and from, well, crying.
Out: I pray to be less neurotic about Ginger.
Oh my god her toe is red. Oh my god she's making a hacking sound. Is she peeing more than usual? She's shaking her head funny - does she have a head cold? Is that a limp; does she look sad right now; she has gas - did she eat something off the street? Losing Opal has made me desperate to not lose this one. Ginger is a happy dog, a well cared for dog, a healthy dog. Chances are she'll be waking us up at 5:30 every morning for many years to come.
In: Trust my gut more.
I have an uncanny gut. I'll know things. I'll see things that may not be there, but are there. It's time to accept it and trust it more than I currently do. I'm quick to know I can be way off or totally wrong. Usually though, my crazy thoughts bear some truth. Go with them.
In: I'm very grateful that my home life of Joe, Ginger, what I do for a living and how we live, is solid. My friends, too, are very meaningful to me. This year I became more aware of how lucky I am.
Out: Fury and hurt and grief over my sister.
I have an older sister. She's my last immediate family member still alive. For context, my grandparents, uncles and almost everyone else except a few cousins and favorite auntie are also dead. (I feel too young to have no family, but it's how it went.)
The last time I saw my sister was four years ago, at our mother's funeral. It was also the last time we spoke. We never had a time where we were close, but in the three years taking care of our mother I harbored hope that we'd get through our differences. My sister still lived in the area we were born in, and from frequently going back to see my mother I got to know my sister very well. We are extremely different, opposites even, and not in the cute way that opposites can compliment each other. I tried to get closer to her, but she didn't want a friendship. I kept thinking she's my sister, so no matter what keep hoping we'll work it out.
Then, I started to change shortly before my mother passed. It was so hard for me to even think that I may not like her, or that it was okay that we weren't going to have a relationship. It was also hard to feel the hurt that she wanted nothing with me. She was my big sister, yet I always saw her as fragile and felt maternal toward her, protective. Yet at the end my mother took all my focus and my sister simply became a person in my life. I didn't feel good or bad about her; she registered, but no longer in a fraught or emotional way. Driving back to New York from the funeral with my friends, I felt okay that I wouldn't see her again. I even felt relief.
Five months later, the fury started. It'd come from nowhere, being so fuck*ng angry at her. It'd dissipate, come back, vanish for months at a time, suddenly show it's head then vanish again. This time when the anger came up it briefly shifted to hurt, which shifted to sadness. It bounced around there for a few months, then last week it hit me that it is what it is and it's time to find acceptance with it. Seeing this has let the rage go and with it, I will say sadly, thinking about her. Something has shifted and it feels like I'm moving on.
In: I want to go to the movies more instead of streaming everything on the box. Going to the movies alone in the middle of the day is a decadent joy. There's a great theater near me that is clean and has stadium seating and the crowds tend to be light and respectful of whatever is showing. Seeing a movie on a huge screen is incomparable. I want to put my shoes on and go go go.
Everything else in my life, i.e. art and writing and teaching and consulting and my writing group and greenmarkets and this blog and you dear readers and Netflix and Joe's family and all the stuff that makes my world spin is coming with me. And the meatballs Joe's about to make. This was a good eating year and starting a new one with meatballs sets it up well.
The happiest New Year to all. May you bring good things into the new year with you.