Good riddance '00s
The Millennium got off on a bad decade. I'm hoping the Millennium's teenage years are better than its early years.
I am not big on year-end this or year-end that. I don’t really do new year’s resolutions. I dunno. December 31 isn’t any different than September 31 except that if you’re a calendar kind of person you have to go out and get a new calendar at the end of December.
Reflection, learning, change, loss…life…they’re all processes, not events. They don’t just happen at the stroke of midnight on any specific date.
I’ll be the first in line to bid the ‘00s adieu.
Kiss my fat, white arse, ‘00s. You sucked.
That’s not to say the next decade won’t suck. The next decade could suck, too. The suck trend may only be mid-arc. The suckiest may be yet to come. Time will tell.
I can now unequivocally say the ‘00s were the worst 10 years of my life thus far. It started well enough. Ahhhh, I remember it well. HWNMBNS and I greeting the dawn of 2000. Hope and excitement for the future, our future. I had a manager I liked and my job was good. I'd never been mugged. My parents were healthy and happy. My cat was frisky and healthy. Things were, you know, good. There was no reason to think there was anything too adverse lurking in the decade ahead. Certainly no indication the lessons would be painful.
Turns out the theme (and lesson) of the decade was: Loss. Apparently the Universe felt I had lessons to learn about loss and the last ten years were the perfect time for me to get my education.
Among the many things I lost:
(Full use of) my left foot
And to end the decade with a grand finale: My home.
Oh. And. Just to ram the lesson of loss home and because the Universe loves to mock me: Today, December 31, 2010, I lost my coveted guitar pick tossed at me by Chrissie Hynde herself when I was but a teenager myself. It was not a good luck charm - I don't believe in luck good or bad. It was not a talisman. Maybe it was a kind of security blanket. But mainly it was a memento of a good time in my life. It was a great concert on a great night during a great period of my life. Touching it, giving it a little rub, takes me to my happy place. Some people have a WWJD? moment when they're at a crossroads or confused or wavering. Me? When I'm feeling insecure I ask myself, "WWCD?" What would Chrissie do? No, it doesn't transform me or give me even a shred of her coolness, but, it helps me conceptualize what the cool, as in the decent, confident, thing to do is. I've carried that pick with me for years. Not always, not every day, not even every week, but a lot of the time. Mainly when I'm feeling, you know, less than great. It's small, lightweight, unobtrusive, and until today: It seemed impossible to lose. Funnily enough, I've never thought, "What if I lose it?" It seems weird, now that I've lost it, that in all these years that the possibility of losing it never crossed my mind. I guess I childishly thought it was some sort of magnet polarized to me, that Chrissie set it on a course to me and so it was mine, always, unlosable.
It is really and truly gone, I can't find it. I spent some panicked moments feverishly retracing my steps, even asking the manager of a theater if someone found it, or if the cleaning crew could look for it. Nope. Not found. My mother says, "Maybe it'll turn up."
I know better. It's the final exam in my lessons in loss over the past decade. Well played, Universe. Well swutting played.
It's not the culmination, certainly not the "worst" loss, but the final test of how well I've learned to let go, how well I've learned to deal with loss.
I don't need a guitar pick to remind me of anything. I remember that concert - that night, that period of my life - I remember it just fine without the pick. I don't need it to summon confidence or inspiration.
So. Okay, Universe, lessons in loss learned. Take no one, nothing, for granted. Everyone, everything, can be lost in an instant. I get it.
How to deal with it? Remember that the world will continue to turn, the Sun will rise and set and rise and set. If your heart's still beating and your lungs are functioning life is continuing. Different than expected, without someone or something you once had, you are suffering a loss, at a loss but not lost. Take stock of what you have, learn the lessons, cherish and store the memories of what you had. Paradoxically, loss doesn't lighten the load. It creates bigger, heavier burdens to carry - it heavies the heart. This is where motivational posters and spiritual leaders say things like, "the way to unburden a heavy heart is enlightenment."
I don't do platitudes.
So. You know. Let's just say I'm traveling light these days yet carrying a heavy load.
What I've learned is that loss comes unannounced and robs you with a kick-in-the-gut wallop and then it scurries off leaving you to deal with the aftermath on your own, the getting on with life without the person/job/home/thing/whatever is your problem, your challenge.
I've learned there's no way to hit back as powerfully. It's not a fair fight. Loss is a heavyweight and us mere mortals are all lightweights. The best way to respond? I think not with a retaliatory bang but a "Well. all righty then."
The hole will never be filled. You can put other stuff in it, and maybe even better stuff, but it'll never fill the hole exactly. The shapes will never be an exact match. Some people, some things, cannot be replaced. There will always be gaps, odd shaped spaces of loss where the person or thing used to be.
Sure, I can get a new job (I mean, I hope at some point I will get a new job), a new cat (maybe someday), a new home (a box under the highway, a shelter, a friend's couch), a new guitar pick (maybe). But what I learned is that they're not the same. Sometimes better, and that's good, but they don't fill the holes exactly. And that's probably good, too. The odd shapes, the voids left from losses, are part of life and make us unique. Like snowflakes. Or slices of Swiss cheese.
Loss has left me with a lot of odd shaped holes, so many holes I'll never be whole. But that's what loss does. Accept. Accept the empty spaces. All righty, then. And then you figure out a new plan and move onward. Suffering a loss doesn't mean you are lost or at a loss.
It's not courageous or brave or strong...it's just...life.
So. New decade. New subject matter. New lessons, no doubt. Hopefully more positive ones that will fill in some of the gaps the holes from the losses the last decade left.
The Millennium's teenage years are in the decade ahead. That oughtta be fun.
Labels: '00s, loss, New Year