An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in.
A pessimist stays up to make sure the Old Year leaves.
For eleven months and maybe about twenty days each year, we concentrate upon the shortcomings of others, but for a few days at the turn of New Year we look at our own. It is a good habit.
Arthur H. Sulzberger
I have never thought so much about a new year before, and I know I’ve mentioned a few things from time to time about 2011, but I couldn’t sleep last night and thought I’d put my thoughts down here. I have anxiety and have, probably, for all my life. I can remember times as a child, waking up not being able to breathe, but it would happen rarely. As an adult, it intensified, and I saw a battery of doctors, who thought it was anything from asthma to pulmonary hypertension and finally, anxiety. Granted, this is hardly a death sentence or even something to be seriously concerned about. However, when it happens, it’s all I can think about because, you know, you breathe a lot. Last night, I sat up in bed most of the night because it was the only way I could get a deep breath.
Why am I so nervous? January 1 of last year, my dad went into the hospital. Hospitals, I’m familiar with. I’ve seen much of them as my mom has a pretty serious illness she was diagnosed with when I was young. I’ve grown used to frequent trips to the hospital throughout the years. But my dad? He’d never even had surgery. We found out that his heart was incredibly weak, and they had to do testing to see what could be done. They did a small procedure, and he was perfectly fine, so I went back to work. Within an hour, I had gotten two phone calls, one from my sister and one from my mom. Neither was very articulate, and I raced back to the hospital, crying hysterically to a good friend on the phone. Dad had crashed.
A year later, and my dad is fine. He’s lost a lot of weight and had a defibrillator put in. He’s controlling his diabetes and seems much better. But I’m incredibly nervous. I think getting so used to hospitals so young inured me to their dangerous aspects. Five months of last year were spent in and out of them.
Then there was a huge debacle with my job and a mixup with my contract. Essentially, I didn’t get paid for nearly three months. I lived for three months on my savings and about $400. But I made it.
I have since gotten a new job that I love. My mom and dad are health-ier and in a new home closer to where I live. I’m grateful to be in a home that I own. My brother and sister are doing well. We are thriving. But 2011? I stayed up last night to make sure it left. I have high hopes for 2012. Because though Bill Vaughan believes me to be a pessimist, I am hopeful. Many people had much worse years before and after 2011 than I did. I am hopeful for them too.
I love New Year’s Day. The freshness, the newness, the hope. So take a deep breath (I’m trying), and welcome it.