A Brand-Spanking New Year

1st January 2012

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in.
A pessimist stays up to make sure the Old Year leaves.

Bill Vaughan

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.

  • Wow, thanks for sharing about your year! I’m always one that shares probably too much personal stuff on my blog so I appreciate when someone else shares something…because it’s hard but it’s so liberating and bloggers seem to really shower you with support when you need it. I’m really happy you did. I had no idea you had all sorts of craziness this year. And I hope that 2012 is amazing for you. You deserve it for sure.

    • I’m always so nervous to because I’m afraid people will think I’m whining. ๐Ÿ™‚

      It was a crazy year, so yes, I’m thrilled about a new one. Thanks for the sweet comment!

  • Colleen

    Its amazing how health issues with our parents rattle our sense of security even as adults. I had a similar experience with my Dad a few years ago and it was terrifying.

    I wish you all the best for a healthy and prosperous 2012!

    • It really is terrifying. And I guess my dad has always been the (relatively) healthy one, so it hit me a bit harder.

      Happy New Year to you. Wishing you the same.

  • Anonymous

    I have had a very up and down year myself. I am really hoping that the job thing works out for me soon, because I need some stability while I pursue my other endeavors (yeah, I’m all about fancy words this….uh…afternoon). I’m so glad that things have come together for you. I am sure this will be your year!

    • I know you have, and I really hope you find something that makes you happy and is a good fit. It’s a new year, friend! Let’s do everything (in our control) to make it happen. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous

    How scary! I would probably have anxiety too.

    It was a pretty tough year last year. I don’t have great hopes for 2012, personally, but we’ll see. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy New Year!

    • I think, in this economy, it’s tough for most people. More and more people struggling with less income and more expenditures. Hopefully, we’ll see a turnaround sometime soon.

  • As we all grow older, we begin to think more about our parents, in regards to their health. With my own, this year I’ve begun to think about it more, possibly because I have an aunt who had surgery. She pulled through fine, but it doesn’t make me any less nervous when it comes to thinking about my parents. With my mother in not super great health to begin, I’ve been steeling myself for years, but that doesn’t mean it will be any easier when it (a further decline and finally…dare I say it?…death) happens. All to say, I somewhat know what you’re going through and you’re not the only one thinking thoughts like you do. I have to learn to take a deep breath too.

    • Thank you so much for such a thoughtful comment. It is an extremely difficult aspect of growing older, and I know some people lose their parents at very young ages. I can’t imagine. However, the more I know them as adults, the more impossible it seems to live in a world without them. [deep breath taken]

  • Oh Jenn! I’m so sorry to hear about your parents’ health–especially the unexpected with your dad. I hope that 2012 is a beautiful and peaceful year for you and your family. Wishing you lots of joy!

    • Trish- you’re so sweet, and thank you for your concern. They are actually both doing pretty well at the moment. I wish the same for you and your beautiful little family – lots of joy!

  • Yvette

    2011 was definitely not such a great year for you, Jenn. I’m so sorry to hear about your family troubles. But at least, it all ended on a high note. So that’s the good news you need to carry forth into 2012.

    I’m happy to know that your parents are doing well and you’ve got family near by. That makes all the difference in the world. I know what a year like this can do to your own health, so you must remember to take good care of yourself. Gotta’ stay strong. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My ridiculously bad year was 2008. A year in which my dog died, my mom died a few weeks later and on the eve of her death, I went into hospital for a radical mastectomy. Breast cancer had been detected just three or so weeks before. I missed my mother’s funeral. It was a horrible sort of whirlwind.

    But I survived and here I am. It is possible. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Life sucks the big one sometimes and all you can do is take the next step.

    • And your story is exactly why I always feel so hesitant to share. I cannot imagine going through what you did, and I am so sorry. I knew you were a strong woman. I had no idea just HOW strong.

      Thanks for sharing something so personal. Your wisdom is incredibly encouraging and inspiring.