Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Backward Glance

2019 was a year which seemed determined to break me.

Several times.

As I pondered the theme of this post I was having a New Year’s Eve dinner with my family at the Double T Diner. The Kelly Clarkson song, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” got my attention. I remarked to my daughter that there really should be a song called, “Whatever Doesn’t Kill You, Doesn't Kill You.”

Sometimes that’s as good as it gets.

2019 was, for me, a year of loss, betrayal, and outright attack. It was the year I discovered, after eight years of writing my blog, the point at which I would back down. That point was when my husband and family were threatened. I had never feared for myself. But it was quite another thing when it came to the well-being of those I love. I made the best choice under the circumstances but there’s no question that I felt shaken.

As I begin a new year, examining and resorting numerous broken pieces, I’m probably more together than not. I’m adjusting to changes in my personal and professional life, and my blog, although temporarily derailed, has not been defeated. I can’t say any of that has made me stronger. It just hasn’t killed me.

On the other hand, I’m way more grateful for the things I’m grateful for. (Perhaps that should be a song, too.) We were talking at work about what we want to do in the new year and I found myself saying that I want to learn more. That feels promising. If I ever don’t want to learn more, that’s when I’ll know I’m really in trouble.

When I started this blog in 2011 my posts were mostly about the Pioneers vs. the Younger Generations, or Columbia vs. Howard County. All of that pales in comparison to where we are today. Far uglier struggles have emerged and seem unlikely to recede. What came before feels quaint: mere squabbles compared to the shouts and threats, angry taunts and tirades of the past year.

Our village feels less green. Our town, exponentially diminished. We don’t feel as sure about the goodwill of our neighbors as we used to.

But we are still here.

We get a new day, and another year. And maybe we will learn something new.

Sometimes that’s as good as it gets.

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