Life Notes: Hello to 2013
Greeting the New Year with caution and hope

So it’s the New Year. I’m a bit overwhelmed, as usual. It seems that my most serious New Year’s resolutions of last year have met an unfortunate fate.

Of course I was going to floss daily, exercise more, clean up my closets and my life. Maybe I actually succeeded…for a day or two. Then I fell from grace.

But now I’m overwhelmed by the sheer mystery of a brand new year. It must be a feeling that comes with increasing age, this sense of being a pawn of the fates. Somewhere towards the middle of my life, I began getting nervous about the caprices and randomness of life. Why do bad things happen to good people? When did survival and health far eclipse all other yearnings?

So as the New Year dawns, I’m jittery. I want it to be a year of resolution – and that’s singular, not plural. I want the problems and worries carried over from 2012 to be resolved neatly. And I’m old enough to know that life is never neat.

I’m aware that at exactly the moment when things feel solid, the earth under our feet collapses and the metaphoric earthquakes of life explode.

My paternal grandmother, Rebecca, never trusted good times. It was part of her Eastern European heritage to be suspicious of them because, in her world view, that tempted the fates. I guess I’ve inherited a little of that. Still, I have a bit of cockeyed optimism left that allows me to look with hope at 2013. Here are some of the things I hope to see:

Let this be the year when nature gives us a break. We deserve one. Hurricanes, floods and earthquakes remind us of one thing: we are leaves trembling in the wind when it comes to nature. And nature, the schoolyard bully, always wins.

In 2013, can we ask our leaders to be experts not in geopolitical trends or politico-speak, but in decency? Can we solve our global economic crisis, pay some attention to the have-nots, and demand that this weary old world get a break from havoc created by our differences? We can ask.

Without getting too preachy, dare we invite our fellow men – and women – to listen to one another? There is so much noise out there that it’s hard to hear above the shouting. And the simple act of listening is sometimes all it takes.

I so hope that 2013 is the year when we start to inhale clean air. No, I’m not a tree-hugger, but oh how I worry about the way we’re destroying this earth. Our grandchildren deserve better than we’re giving them.

Maybe, just maybe, this will also be the year when ideals like trust, humanity and integrity find their way back into our world.

Aside from those cosmic issues, I have many far closer to home.

In 2013, I hope our daughters continue to find their way as adults in a world that’s a lot harder to maneuver than it used to be.

I hope their children – our grandchildren – go to bed at night safe and happy. I hope these seven beloved creatures who have wound themselves around our hearts continue to thrive – and to remind us that love stretches exponentially across the generations.

I will continue to honor the memory of my mother this year. She left us six years ago, and how I miss her! I will cherish the memories of the grace of her old age. I suspect I will never really grow used to life without her.

I hope my New Year-sharer of five-plus decades knows that despite our bickering over the little things, the huge things are rock solid. I am grateful and proud to be his wife.

Finally, in a world that sometimes seems as wild and chaotic as a sea in a hurricane, I hope all of us find an anchor.

Happy 2013.

January 2013
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