Penultimate

I don’t suppose I really need to do a next-to-last 2011 post, but I really just like the word “penultimate” so damn much. I also am waiting for this morning’s caffeine jitters to wear off so I can hit the road for a run. I’m in Bend this week taking care of my mom who had ankle surgery a couple of days ago. I took the week off to rack up some karma points and just generally be the most awesome daughter ever do the right thing. As it turns out, the gig is pretty easy. A little cleaning, a little cooking, a lot of lounging around on the couch with her and benefiting from this fun equation: Mom + painkillers = lots of online shopping. It also affords me the time to think about things like how much I like the word “penultimate.” I’m certain it is connected to my lifelong love of all things anticipatory. The build to the end of something is often so much more exciting than the thing itself. This time though, it’s not that I’m excited about the end of the year. In fact, I am really pretty sad about it. That has not been the case the last couple of years. 2009 deserved a swift and painful kick on the way out and 2010 was only marginally better. 2011 though, well… When the last post of 2011 works its way out of my brain and heart parts in the next couple of days, all the goodness that this year has given me will likely make it clear why I’d rather not see it go.

The thing is, I know that I’m an outlier. 2011 was a pile of shit for so many people. In this place where I spend most of my time focused on the tiny things that give me great joy, I’m feeling the need to make it clear that I know how lucky and sheltered and in many ways very, very naive I am. It is not lost on me that my small happinesses – while soul-fillingly awesome this year – barely register as counterweight against the loss, frustration and destruction that has been so pervasive in the rest of the world. You’ll find better, more comprehensive and more thoughtful year-end retrospectives elsewhere. I don’t pretend to do that well when it comes to anything other than my own life. As it stands, this might already sound more cloying and trite than I’d like it to. I guess I just hope that underneath the rhapsodic waxing about all the unimportant things that make up a life that I very much love, there is a recognizable tone of gratitude. Because I am grateful. Very very.

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