Happy New Year!

Can you believe it’s already 2012? Twenty…..twelve! It wasn’t so long ago that the year 20anything sounded like we’d all be commuting to work via personal hovercraft. (By the way, why am I still driving a Matrix?) Wasn’t Y2K like yesterday? Time goes so fast. The Bangles said it was when you are having fun, but that’s only half true. The truth is that it just goes fast in general. No one tells you this when you’re young or if they do, it doesn’t sink in, because you are young and they are old and what do those geezers know anyway? When you’re 20, getting older is something that happens to other people. The other thing they don’t tell you, by the way, is that you don’t feel older. I mean, sure, I’m not as big a dumbass as I was at 20, but it’s not like you wake up one morning feeling like you’ve finally achieved all the wisdom and maturity. But holy crap on a cracker, does it all go quickly looking back!

2011 was no exception. Frankly, I’m glad it’s over. I’m ready to move on. It was in some ways a tough year – dog drama, big changes at work, too much travel and the loss of two beloved pets within the span of a couple weeks. Toby and Loki had been with us for well over a decade each and it was heart breaking to have to say goodbye to two such sweet and loyal family members. I still expect to see them around the house. We also said hello to two new rescue puppies (Gizmo and The Muppet, who is so new his name is still in negotiations). They certainly don’t replace our lost friends, but having a couple of babies to love (and keep from chewing or peeing on everything in sight!) certainly brings some joy to temper the emptiness they left in their furry wake. It also reminds me that joy and even beauty can evolve from even the most difficult transitions. The truth is that passings wouldn’t hurt so much, if we didn’t have the immense joy of loving a being. And I wouldn’t trade that for the world, even a world without the pain of loss.

Still, even with life’s normal ups and downs, I feel pretty lucky. I have great friends and family, a warm place to sleep and have of late been experiencing a renaissance of personal creativity (more about that another time, but there’s been a lot more writing, music making and even exploring other creative media of late). I am still working on my goals for the new year (I am approaching them a little differently this year), but if there is one overarching goal that I have, it is to fill the corners of my life with the kind of inspiration Kurt Vonnegut was talking about when he wrote:

Practicing an art, no matter how well or how badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

And I guess that’s the wonderful thing about new years. They offer us an excuse to start over; a reason to grasp for new possibilities, to start singing in the shower, dancing to the radio and forming all kinds of new habits to fill our lives with enjoy joy to carry us through the hard times. My wish for myself (and for you, if you’re reading this) is that we go forth into a soul growing, joyful 2012.

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