Life as an Extreme Sport

Out with the Old,…

It’s 2007. My instinctive response is “good fucking riddance to 2006, and here’s hoping the next one is better” (but I know better than to taunt the universe by making it any sort of challenge). But Discardian had an interesting tip up a day or two ago that suggested we – and I assume she meant social we, and not just you and me we – have a bit of a binary, black/white, good/bad way of looking at life. We see the highs and lows, and not miss the rest.

Now while I have often told friends that the nice things about the lows is that you can’t see the highs without them, I am often guilty of overlooking that in the middle – the not extraordinary, the not horrible, but that which moves us forward in life. Or holds us back, if we let it.

2006 is always going to be a hard year to look at, even when memory takes the edge off the sharpness of Mom’s cancer, or the loneliness and difficulties my first semester of graduate school brought. And it will round the edges off those highs, too – my letters of acceptance, teaching my first class on my own, reading my first feedback reports that were just about me, writing something as big as my thesis (and finishing on time!), graduating, the fun things I’ve done in NYC and people I’ve met and so on.

But 2006, I think, will also be remembered as a year where I made a lot of forward movement in my life. I see a lot more clearly where I want to be, down the road, and the things I’ll need to do in order to get there, and I’m on my way doing most of them. Yes, life keeps throwing challenges in my path… but Phillip told me something, once – it must have been three years ago? My husband had left me, my best friend had died a horrible death, and I simply could not get my act together. I couldn’t juggle all the balls I had in the air, and I let them all drop. I was sitting in his office, telling him that just as soon as life calmed down I’d have it all together, I’d be better. And with his typical bemused expression, he glanced over the haphazard stacks of books between us and told me that life just keeps coming, it never calms down and never gets better. It’s always one thing after another, and we all juggle; what matters is how we do it.

I learned to juggle, and I did pretty well. But now it’s a new game; the ante has been upped, and the stakes are higher. My sneaking suspicion, though, is that I’ll learn the rules to this game soon enough, and then I’ll shine as brightly as a I did before.

2006 was a bitch of a year, dragging me all over the map, not just emotionally but literally. But if I was pressed to admit it, I would admit that I’ve probably grown more this last year than the past few combined – and that’s saying a lot. I might not look fondly back on the year, but I suspect I will eventually be very grateful for the contributions it has made to who I am.

And so I raise a glass to 2006, and to all of you. May 2007 be everything you wish for, and more.